Developing an operational model for an integrative oncology program: a qualitative descriptive feasibility study

Support Care Cancer. 2014 Mar;22(3):731-9. doi: 10.1007/s00520-013-2028-8. Epub 2013 Nov 13.


Purpose: We describe a descriptive qualitative study with the purpose of assessing the feasibility of developing an integrative oncology program in our region.

Methods: We conducted 39 interviews and two focus groups (n = 20) with cancer patients, their caregivers and complementary and conventional (n = 15) healthcare professionals.

Results: One primary theme emerged, acceptance or tolerance of an integrative oncology program, which represents concepts within four emergent categories: (1) operational model; (2) values to guide an integrative oncology program; (3) physical location and design; and (4) facilitators and barriers to establishing an integrative oncology program.

Conclusions: The study was instrumental in establishing support for an integrative oncology program in our region, including a feasible model. Based in part on the results of this study, the Ottawa Integrative Cancer Centre ( ) opened in November 2011. We recommend a similar process of stakeholder engagement for others who wish to develop an integrative program in their location.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Cancer Care Facilities / organization & administration*
  • Feasibility Studies
  • Female
  • Focus Groups
  • Health Personnel*
  • Humans
  • Integrative Medicine / organization & administration
  • Male
  • Medical Oncology
  • Models, Organizational*
  • Neoplasms / therapy*
  • Program Development
  • Qualitative Research