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Homeopathy and Complementary Medicine in Patients with Breast Cancer at the Hospital of Lucca (Italy): Clinical Results
05 February 2018 (online)
Aim: To spread qualified information on complementary therapy (CT) to patients with cancer, give nutritional advice and prescribe homeopathic and complementary treatments to reduce adverse effects of anti-cancer treatment and symptoms of cancer to improve the quality of life of patients.
Methods: Three hundred and eight cancer patients were consecutively visited (78% female and 22% male) from September 2013 to September 2016; 158 with breast cancer (51.3%); mean age 56 (35–88) years. Nearly all the patients were referred by their medical oncologists. Patients with breast cancer were 99.1% female and 0.9% male, and 27% of them had metastasis. Nearly all the patients had used or were using chemo- and/or radio- and/or hormonal therapy; 3.3% refused conventional anti-cancer therapy.
Results: Symptoms most frequently treated in patients with breast cancer were adverse effects of anti-cancer therapies (74.7%). The symptoms caused by the disease were 28.8%, and the concomitant symptoms were 17.1%. The most frequent symptoms were hot flashes, asthenia/fatigue, depression, articular pain, nausea/vomiting, colitis, radiodermatitis, dysgeusia after chemotherapy, irritable intestine, neuropathy, other menopausal disorders, leukopenia, liver steatosis, and anxiety. Comparing the clinical conditions before and after the treatment, a significant amelioration of the following symptoms was observed: nausea (p = 0.004), insomnia (p = 0.003), depression (p = 0.000), anxiety (p = 0.000), asthenia (p = 0.000), hot flashes (number of follow-ups = 12; p = 0.02), and radiodermatitis (number of follow-ups = 5; p = 0.077). Other pathologies had insufficient follow-up.
Conclusion: The integrative approach to cancer patients can contribute to reduce some adverse effects linked to anti-cancer therapies improving their quality of life as demonstrated by our clinical data.
Keywords: Breast cancer, homeopathy, complementary and integrative therapies, adverse effects of anti-cancer treatment, clinical results