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Conclusion: Majority of adult cancer patients used CAM and it is important for health-care professionals to keep abreast of research on CAM, to actively illicit information regarding usage and to provide appropriate advice and counseling.

Complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) has been defined as ‘a group of diverse medical and health care systems, practices, and products that are not presently considered to be part of conventional medicine’ [1].

Tel: 65-6516-7814; Fax: 65-6779-1554; E-mail: [email protected] Background: In multiracial and multicultural Singapore, patients are exposed to complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) from both eastern and western cultures.

Although studies have shown that CAM usage is highly prevalent among cancer patients, no study on the prevalence of CAM in Singaporean adult cancer patients had been published.

Prevalence rates for CAM use may vary due to the differences in the way CAM is defined, the study population as well as methodology used.

Hence, it is difficult to assess and compare CAM prevalence and usage across studies [6, 7].

Some patients may also use CAM due to its presumed action as an anticancer agent [15–17].

In multiracial and multicultural Singapore, cancer patients are exposed to CAM from both western and eastern cultures, ranging from health supplements to traditional forms of medicine like Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), traditional Malay (Jamu) medicine and traditional Indian (Ayurvedic) medicine.

A study conducted in Singapore [2] showed that the prevalence of CAM use was 76% which is higher compared with that reported in Western countries (25%–50%) [3–5].

Since there is no validated questionnaire available, one was drafted after literature review and evaluated by two oncology pharmacists, a biostatistician and a senior medical oncologist.

It included the following information: Categorical variables were summarized in frequencies and percentages.

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