Journal of Nursing & Care

ISSN: 2167-1168

Open Access

Nurses Use of Complementary Alternative Medicine for Cancer Patients in Japan.


Midori Kamizato, Sayuri Jahana, Naomi Tamai, Yuko Aihara, Kaori Saeki, Kaori Shimizu, Yukari Tukahara, Ryuta Yoshizawa, Kasumi Hamada, Kayo Nagano, Mieko Taira, Risa Takamiya, Kumiko Tamashiro and Mizuho Tajima

Purpose/Objective: To identify oncology nurses’ use of complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) for cancer patients in Japan.

Design: Descriptive, cross sectional.

Setting: Five central cancer hospitals, five general hospitals, and four Palliative Care Units in Japan.

Sample: A convenience sample consisting of 1134 oncology nurses with a Japanese Nursing license.

Methods: A researcher-developed self-reported questionnaire for CAM was delivered to nurses who were involved with cancer patients in hospitals and palliative care units (PCU).

Findings: The response rate was 71% (801/1134). The nurses’ knowledge of CAM was 42 % (40% in hospitals and 68.4% in PCU). The use of CAM for nursing practice was 29.4% (26% in hospitals and 71% in PCU). The types of CAM used were massage therapy (78%), lymph drainage (46%), aromatherapy (43%), touching (42%), music therapy (33%), acupressure and breathing (19%), hot pack therapy (16%), acupuncture (13%). Barriers of using CAM in nursing practice were because of insufficient skill (73%) and knowledge (68%), and having no time (70%) for CAM. However, 80% of the nurses wanted to use CAM such as aromatherapy (72%), massage therapy (61%), lymph drainage (53%), and music therapy (43%). The purposes of aroma and music therapy use for patients were relaxation, relieving anxiety, pain, insomnia, edema, and fatigue. Fifty-six percent of nurses had been asked by patients about healthy food or supplement. Only 8.7% of nurses knew about the Cancer CAM guideline (hospitals 8% vs. PCU 23%).

Conclusion: Nurses performing CAM do not yet have sufficient knowledge or utilization practices, and there are difficulties with both skills and time management. However, there is reason to be optimistic about providing safe and effective CAM treatment to cancer patients. Therefore, it is necessary to enhance the education afforded to nurses in order to realize effective CAM usage. Developing CAM educational programs for nurses will be the next step in research with simple and easy to use CAM therapies in nursing practices in Japan.


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