Integrative medicine therapeutic approaches to cancer care: patient preferences from focus groups

Wonsun Kim, Dara James, Denise M. Millstine

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Purpose: To understand patient preferences for integrative therapeutics and/or modalities during cancer care. Methods: Cancer patients currently going through treatment were recruited from the Mayo Clinic in Arizona. Participants were asked to engage in 1 of 4 focus groups to understand preferences regarding integrative therapeutic modalities in cancer treatment. Focus group data were transcribed and analyzed using thematic analysis. Eighty-five percent of inter-coder reliability was achieved with four team investigators. Results: Nineteen cancer patients participated in four focus groups with mixed cancer types (42% breast cancer), gender (53% female), and age (69% over age 60). Focus group analyses resulted in five themes with respect to preferences regarding integrative therapeutic modalities among cancer patients: (1) preference regarding accurate and congruent information; (2) preference regarding stress and symptom management; (3) preference regarding discussion of integrative therapies with healthcare providers (4) preference regarding support from family and friends; and (5) preference regarding personalized holistic care. Conclusions: Patients have a desire to discuss integrative therapeutic aspects of their cancer treatment with healthcare providers. Understanding patient preferences allows opportunity for oncology providers to increase awareness/education of integrative therapeutic modalities. Increased integrative therapeutic knowledge may best support recovery and increased quality of life. Implications: Qualitative research may facilitate understanding the scope of cancer patient preferences regarding the desire and use of integrative therapeutic modalities. A conceptual understanding of cancer patient preferences regarding integrative therapies and modalities may best inform successful direction and efficacy of treatment strategies.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2949-2955
Number of pages7
JournalSupportive Care in Cancer
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 1 2019


  • Focus group
  • Integrative therapies
  • Oncology
  • Patient preference
  • Qualitative

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology


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