Cultural Beliefs and Attitudes: Complementary and Alternative Practices and Products Use by African American Prostate Cancer Survivors

Purpose and Methodology: This study examined the cultural beliefs and attitudes of African American prostate cancer survivors regarding the use of complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) modalities. The study used mixed methods with primary emphasis on a phenomenology approach. In-person interviews in participants' homes and rural community facilities. Fourteen African American men diagnosed with and treated for prostate cancer were interviewed in their homes and rural community facilities
Results: All participants used prayer often; two men used meditation and herbal preparations. All men reported holding certain beliefs about different categories of CAM. Several men were skeptical of CAM modalities other than prayer. Four themes were revealed: importance of spiritual needs as a CAM modality to health, the value of education in relation to CAM, importance of trust in selected healthcare providers, and how men decide on what to believe about CAM modalities.
 
Conclusions: Prayer was a highly valued CAM modality among African American prostate cancer survivors as a way to cope with their disease. Medical treatment and trust in healthcare providers also were found to be important.