This study assessed access to Complementary and Alternative Medicine (CAM) therapies for people with cancer within the British National Health Service. CAM units were identified through an internet search in 2009. A total of 142 units, providing 62 different therapies, were identified: 105 (74.0%) England; 23 (16.2%) Scotland; 7 (4.9%) each in Wales and Northern Ireland. Most units provide a small number of therapies (median 4, range 1-20), and focus on complementary, rather than alternative approaches. Counselling is the most widely provided therapy (available at 82.4% of identified units), followed by reflexology (62.0%), aromatherapy (59.1%), reiki (43.0%), massage (42.2%). CAM units per million of the population varied between countries (England: 2.2; Wales: 2.3; Scotland: 4.8; Northern Ireland: 5.0), and within countries. Better publicity for CAM units, greater integration of units in conventional cancer treatment centres may help improve access to CAMs.
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