Herbal Use and Symptom Experiences of Cancer Patients: A Cross-sectional Survey in Cancer Patients with MORSANG Herbal Medicine Formularies

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Monthaka Teerachaisakul
Thanat Nakaphan
Rossukon Klinhom
Chattip Silarangsri
Kamonwan Bancheun
Thanunchanok Chamyenura
Nuchlada Rotchanapraphaphun
Pramote Stienrut


The waiting phenomena of free herbal medicine (MORSANG RECIPES: MS) dispensing for cancer patients in the year 2017 caused concern and reflected treatment needs among cancer patients themselves. This cross-sectional survey therefore aimed to explore 1) demographic and health profile, 2) cancer treatment (conventional and alternative medicine), and 3) symptom distress among these cancer patients. This study was conducted using developed questionnaires on cancer patients who received MS herbal recipes from January to March 2018. Descriptive statistics were analyzed with the SPSS program. Only 1,086 cancer patients were eligible for the study. The mean age of the participants was 53.21 + 10.24 years.  71.45% were female. Two hundred and twenty-one patients (20.34%) reported using complementary/alternative medicine and herbal medicine in the past. Six hundred and forty-eight patients (59.66%) disclosed that they were not undergoing conventional cancer treatment (CCT), with 429 patients (66.20%) having completed CCT. 123 patients (18.98%) were in line waiting for CCT while 96 patients (14.81%) rejected to continue the CCT. The five most distressing symptoms of patients were pain, weakness, sleeplessness, tingling or numbness in the tip of fingers and anxiety. No serious adverse events from MS recipes were reported. This large cancer patient-based study reveals the treatments received by cancer patients, and also identifies the five most distressing symptoms experienced by cancer patients that need to be minimized. We also found 123 patients who were waiting for CCT. The results of this study might lead to further improvement of integrated health care services for cancer patients.


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