Building an Integrative Outpatient Care Program for Breast Cancer Patients in Taiwan

Yi Hsien Lin, Jing Huei Shiu, Fang Pey Chen*, Jen Hwey Chiu

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Background. Breast cancer patients may experience various symptoms that affect the quality of life significantly and they seek complementary and alternative medicine (CAM). To meet the needs of patients, we developed an integrative outpatient care program. Methods. This program provided CAM consultation and acupuncture for breast cancer patients at Taipei Veterans General Hospital. The outcome measures included Medical Outcomes Study 12-Item Short-Form Health Survey (SF-12) and patient satisfaction questionnaires on the first visit (baseline) and at 6 months. Results. Forty-five breast cancer patients were enrolled. All patients completed the study. The median age was 53.3 (±8.3). The symptoms most often experienced during previous cancer treatments were fatigue (35.6%), arthralgia (20%), nausea (6.7%), and insomnia (6.7%). The symptoms most wished to be diminished by the patients were arthralgia (22.2%), insomnia (17.8%), and fatigue (15.6%). Thirty-four patients (75.6%) had sought CAM therapy to reduce these symptoms. Fifteen patients (33.3%) received CAM consultation only and 30 (66.7%) received acupuncture in addition. Sixteen patients completed at least 6 sessions of acupuncture. No serious adverse effect was reported. In the SF-12 Questionnaire on all the patients, physical component summary (PCS) was 49.6 (±5.6) at baseline and 44.9 (±7.6) at 6 months (P =.001); the mental component summary (MCS) was 44.7 (±6.1) at baseline and 52.3 (±9.3) at 6 months (P <.001). For patients who had completed acupuncture, PCS was 49.2 (±4.9) at baseline and 41.4 (±7.6) at 6 months (P =.148); the MCS was 45.6 (±6.2) at baseline and 49.7 (±11) at 6 months (P =.07). Thirty-eight (84.4%) patients were satisfied with this program. Conclusions. Our results demonstrated that an integrative outpatient care program of conventional and Chinese medicine is feasible. Most patients were satisfied with this program and the quality of life was improved. It is important to conduct more research to build a model that integrates CAM with conventional medicine in Taiwan.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)343-348
Number of pages6
JournalIntegrative Cancer Therapies
Issue number3
StatePublished - 1 Sep 2016


  • acupuncture
  • breast cancer
  • complementary medicine
  • integrative therapy
  • quality of life
  • traditional Chinese medicine


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