Date of Paper


Type of Paper

Clinical research paper

Degree Name

Master of Social Work (M.S.W.)


Social Work

First Advisor

Michael Chovanec


Social Work


Cancer is a life threatening disease that has many psychological and physical effects on the patient population. Fifty-five percent of cancer patients reported at least mild levels of depression and sixty-four percent reported at least mild levels of anxiety (Salvo et al., 2012). A review of the literature suggested that complementary and alternative therapies have positive effects on relieving depression and anxiety in cancer patients. This research is looking to address the importance of complementary and alternative therapy use with cancer patients. Qualitative interviews were conducted with seven oncology social workers. The research used an inductive grounded theory method. The transcripts were analyzed and coded for themes. There were similarities and differences between the research findings and the literature review. Similarities that were found were participant’s sense of control as a positive outcome and mental health relief for patients. Differences that were found were distraction as a positive outcome, stigma and preconceived notions and time limitations and interruptions affect practice. Further research is needed to address the differences between the findings and the literature review and to further explore time and stigma limitations complementary and alternative therapies face.

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