Document Type

Journal Article


BioMed Central Ltd


Faculty of Health, Engineering and Science


School of Nursing and Midwifery




Furzer, B., Wright, K., Petterson, A. S., Wallman, K., Ackland, T., & Joske, D. (2013). Characteristics and quality of life of patients presenting to cancer support centres: Patient rated outcomes and use of complementary therapies. BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine, 13, Article 169. Available here


Background: In order to effectively target and provide individualised patient support strategies it is crucial to have a comprehensive picture of those presenting for services. The purpose of this study was to determine the characteristics and patient rated outcomes of individuals presenting to SolarisCare cancer support centres and their choices regarding complementary and integrated therapies (CIT).Methods: A cohort with a current or previous cancer diagnosis aged 18 - 87 years presenting to a SolarisCare centre during a 5-day period completed a questionnaire. Four SolarisCare centres participated in the trial including regional and metropolitan locations. Outcomes included medical and demographic characteristics, CIT variables and patient rated outcomes (PROs) including quality of life (QoL).Results: Of the 95 participants (70.3%) who completed the survey, the mean age was 60.5 years with 62% currently receiving treatment. Eighty percent of the sample had at least one other comorbid condition, with the most popular CIT being relaxation massage. Of the PROs, QoL was significantly lower than norms for the Australian population and other mixed cancer populations. No notable differences were seen between genders, however significantly poorer outcomes were found for the younger age group. Fifty percent of the population did not meet physical activity recommendations, and musculoskeletal symptoms explained between 25-27% of variance in QoL.Conclusions: A greater understanding of the health profiles of patients presenting to supportive care centres and their use of CIT, provides Western Australian health professionals with key information to ensure the safety of supportive care practices, as well as fosters optimal patient outcomes and enhances the integration of supportive care strategies within mainstream medical care.



Creative Commons License

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 License.