Complementary therapists' training and cancer care: A multi-site study

Peter Mackereth, Ann Carter, Sam Parkin, Jacqui Stringer, Ann Caress, Chris Todd, Andrew Long, Dai Roberts

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Citations (Scopus)


Purpose: To explore professional experience and training of complementary therapists working within cancer care. Method: A Questionnaire survey of complementary therapists practising in three cancer care settings in North West England. Results: Respondents (n = 51; n = 47 female; mean age 50 years, range 23-78 years) had varied career backgrounds; 24 were healthcare professionals who also practised as complementary therapists (nurse n = 19; physiotherapist n = 3; doctor n = 2) whilst 27 were complementary therapists with no prior healthcare background. Twenty-eight respondents reported working as therapists within a supportive and palliative care setting for over 6 years. Forty-seven respondents had undertaken healthcare-related continuing professional development in complementary therapies, although only just over half of the sample (n = 27) had received cancer-specific training. Cancer-related complementary therapy training related to the adaptation of therapies and comprised predominantly short courses. There was a lack of standardisation in the training received, nor was it clear how many courses were accredited. Conclusion: Findings highlight the need for standardisation of training for complementary therapy provision in cancer care and statutory review of continuing professional development within this emerging field.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)330-335
Number of pages6
JournalEuropean Journal of Oncology Nursing
Issue number5
Early online date9 Jun 2009
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2009
Externally publishedYes


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