Introduction and objective:
Although the use of complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) is common with Polish cancer patients, little is known about cancer patients’ methods of using CAM and how it correlates with their health behaviour. The aim of the study was to determine the scope of application of complementary and alternative medicine methods among patients treated by oncology and to compare the health behaviours of patients who use alternative medicine with those who do not use these methods.

Material and methods:
The studies were conducted from August 2019 – January 2020 in an Oncology Centre in south-eastern Poland. A cross-sectional study was conducted in a group of 208 oncological patients. The authors’ own questionnaire and the standardized Health Behaviour Inventory were used.

Most of the patients (85.09%) declared that they used complementary and alternative medicine methods. 45.19% of the respondents had a high rate of health behaviours. It was observed that there was no communication related to the use of CAM among the patients and healthcare staff. Patients using CAM demonstrated more positive health behaviours than those who were not using these methods (p<0.001).

The majority of the surveyed patients suffering from cancer used complementary and alternative medicine and declared that it was very or slightly effective in strengthening the immune system and helpful in fighting cancer. The patients who used CAM exhibited a higher level of health behaviours than those who did not use these methods.

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