Mal J Nutr 23(2): 227 - 238, 2017

Use of Chinese Herbal Medicine and Health-Related Quality of Life among Cancer Patients in Johor, Malaysia
Loke Mi Mi, Chong Kah Hui, Noor Salihah Zakaria & Hayati Mohd Yusof


ABSTRACT

Introduction: Chinese Herbal Medicine (CHM) is becoming increasingly popular among cancer patients worldwide. While health-related quality of life (HRQoL) in relation to cancer outcomes has attracted global attention, there are few studies on CHM use and HRQoL among cancer patients in Malaysia. This study attempted to determine the association between use of CHM, including the types, reasons, and beliefs, and HRQoL among Malaysian cancer patients.
Methods: cross-sectional study was conducted among 120 cancer patients (60 male and 60 female) recruited from government oncology clinics in Johor state. A purposive non-probability sampling was applied to recruit respondents.
Results: Use of CHM was reported by about half of the patients (49.2%). Common types of CHM used included Chinese herbal extracts (27.5%), Sabah snake grass (12.2%), and ginger (11.5%). The median score for overall belief in CHM significantly differed between CHM users (71.7%) and non-users (65.0%) (p<0.001). The HRQoL was generally reported as ‘good’ with high scores for overall functioning scales and low scores for symptom scales. However, no significant difference in HRQoL between CHM users and non-users was noted. ‘Social Functioning’ scores between both groups showed a significant difference (p < 0.001) with respect to sex, with females scoring higher than males. No significant association was noted between CHM use and socio-demographic characteristics except for sex.
Conclusion: There is a high prevalence of self-prescription of CHM among the cancer patients studied. Nonetheless use of CHM did not show any significant difference in terms of quality of life among CHM users.

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