Surgical Patients and Cancer: Exploring Complementary and Alternative Medicine (CAM) Products Usage in Port Harcourt, Nigeria


  • Rex F Ijah Department of Surgery
  • Friday Aaron Department of Surgery, Rivers State University, Port Harcourt, Nigeria.
  • Vitalis Ofuru Department of Surgery, University of Port Harcourt Teaching Hospital, Port Harcourt, Rivers State, Nigeria.
  • OA Biyi-Olutunde Department of Clinical Oncology, University of Port Teaching Hospital, Port Harcourt, Rivers State, Nigeria.


Surgical Cancer Patients, CAM Products Usage, Prevalence, Port Harcourt, Nigeria


Background: The methods employed to treat cancer differs based on the knowledge available in the era. This study explored complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) products usage among surgical cancer patients in Port Harcourt, Nigeria

Methods: An analytical cross-sectional study was done among surgical cancer patients and marketers of CAM products in Port Harcourt, Nigeria. Data obtained was analysed using the IBM Statistical Package for the Social Sciences (SPSS) version 20.0, and tabulated.

Results:  There were 171 (41.9%) male and 237 (58.1%) female respondents. Fifty-five (13.5%) had primary education, 133 (32.6%) had secondary, and 220 (53.9%) had tertiary education. Two hundred and seven (50.7%) respondents had heard about cancer before their cancer diagnosis. While 242 (59.3%) respondents had preference for Orthodox/Conventional/English/Hospital treatment, 47 (11.5%) were inclined to CAM products, and 117 (28.7%) choose both types of treatment options. One hundred and seventy-six (43.1%) respondents had used some form of CAM products, and 64 (15.7%) opined that such treatment was effective. Breast cancer (36 = 8.8%), prostate cancer (46 = 11.3%), colon cancer (10 = 2.5%), liver cancer (10 = 2.5%), bone cancer (17 = 4.2%), were the common cancers for which CAM products had been used by the patients. Respondents with tertiary education were the least to use the CAM products.

Conclusion: Although over half of respondents preferred orthodox cancer care, close to half of them had used CAM products for varied types of cancer care. Only 15.7% of the patients found it effective.

Author Biography

Rex F Ijah, Department of Surgery

Department of Surgery; Senior Registrar


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How to Cite

Ijah, R. F., Aaron, F., Ofuru, V., & Biyi-Olutunde, O. (2023). Surgical Patients and Cancer: Exploring Complementary and Alternative Medicine (CAM) Products Usage in Port Harcourt, Nigeria. The Nigerian Health Journal, 22(4), 407–416. Retrieved from



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