Integrating a complementary medicine consultation for women undergoing chemotherapy

Eran Ben-Arye*, Elad Schiff, Orit G. Raz, Noah Samuels, Ofer Lavie

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objective To explore oncology healthcare providers' (HCPs') patterns of referral of women undergoing chemotherapy to a complementary medicine (CM) consultation integrated within a conventional oncology service. Methods Oncology HCPs used a structured referral system for referral to an integrative physician (IP) for CM consultation. Referral goals were in accordance with a specified list of quality-of-life (QOL) outcomes. Results In total, the study HCPs referred 282 female patients, of whom 238 (84.4%) underwent CM consultation by the study IP: 59 (24.8%) with gynecologic cancer and 179 (75.2%) with non-gynecologic cancer. Use of CM for cancer-related outcomes was significantly higher among referred patients with gynecologic cancer than those with non-gynecologic cancer (69.5% vs 46.9%; P = 0.003). Oncologists initiated most of the referrals in the gynecologic oncology group, whereas oncologic nurses referred most patients in the non-gynecologic oncology group. Among patients with gynecologic cancer, the correlation between HCP indication and patient expectation was high for gastrointestinal concerns (κ 0.41). Conclusion The integration of a structured and informed process of referral to CM consultation may enhance patient-centered care and QOL during chemotherapy.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)51-54
Number of pages4
JournalInternational Journal of Gynecology and Obstetrics
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2014
Externally publishedYes


  • Complementary medicine
  • Doctor-patient communication
  • Gynecologic oncology
  • Integrative medicine
  • Quality of life


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