Cancer patients' attitudes towards Chinese medicine: A Hong Kong survey

Yuen Chi Lam, Chung Wah Cheng, Heng PENG, Chun Key Law, Xianzhang Huang, Zhaoxiang BIAN*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articlepeer-review

42 Citations (Scopus)


Background: This article reports a survey conducted in Hong Kong on the cancer patients' attitudes towards Chinese medicine treatment.Methods: Cancer patients from three Chinese medicine clinics and one oncology clinic were interviewed with a structured questionnaire.Results: Of a total of 786 participants included in the study, 42.9% used Western medicine only; 57.1% used at least one form of Chinese medicine; 5 participants used Chinese medicine only; and 56.5% used Chinese medicine before/during/after Western medicine treatment. Commonly used Western medicine and Chinese medicine treatments included chemotherapy (63.7%), radiotherapy (62.0%), surgery (57.6%), Chinese herbal medicine (53.9%) and Chinese dietary therapy (9.5%). Participants receiving chemotherapy used Chinese medicine (63.3%) more than those receiving any other Western medicine treatments. Spearman correlation coefficients showed that the selection of Chinese medicine was associated with the cancer type (rs = -1.36; P < 0.001), stage (rs = 0.178; P < 0.001), duration (rs = -0.074; P = 0.037), whether receiving chemotherapy (rs = 0.165; P < 0.001) and palliative therapy (rs = 0.087; P = 0.015). Nearly two-thirds of the participants (N = 274) did not tell their physicians about using Chinese medicine. Over two-thirds of all participants (68.2%) believed that integrated Chinese and Western medicine was effective.Conclusion: Chinese medicine is commonly used among Hong Kong cancer patients. The interviewed cancer patients in Hong Kong considered integrative Chinese and Western medicine is an effective cancer treatment.

Original languageEnglish
Article number25
JournalChinese Medicine
Publication statusPublished - 30 Dec 2009

Scopus Subject Areas

  • Pharmacology
  • Complementary and alternative medicine


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