Purpose: This study was designed to evaluate the communication gap between Korean medical oncologists and cancer patients on complementary and alternative medicine (CAM). Materials and Methods: Cross sectional studies utilized the responses of 59 medical oncologists and 211 patients. To understand the communication gap, perceived reasons and nondisclosure of CAM use, reactions of physicians to disclosure, and expectations for CAM were analyzed. Data were compared with use of the chi- squared test. Results: Both medical oncologists and patients were in accord that CAM use would privde the patients with a feeling of hope. The medical oncologists believed more often than patients to attribute CAM use for control over medical care decisions, for the treatment of an incurable disease or as a nontoxic approach (p＜0.05). Regarding reasons for nondisclosure, medical oncologists were more likely to think that physicians would not understand the use of CAM, discontinue treatment or disapprove of the use of CAM (p＜0.0001). Patients attributed nondisclosure mainly to the lack of questioning about CAM. Medical oncologists were more likely to warn of the risks with CAM use and less likely to encourage the use of CAM than perceived by patients (p=0.01). Patients expected that CAM could cure disease, extend survival, relieve symptoms and improve the immune system or quality of life more often than medical oncologists (p＜0.05). Conclusion: Given the discrepant views of medical oncologists and patients on the use of CAM, medical oncologists should be aware of the discrepancies and attempt to resolve any differences.
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