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Reasons for Use of and Experiences with Homeopathic Treatment as an Adjunct to Usual Cancer Care: Results of a Small Qualitative StudyFunding This work was partly supported by Fonden af 1870. The fund had no role in the study design, or in the collection, analysis and interpretation of data; nor in the writing of the report, and in the decision to submit the article for publication.
15 May 2018
08 August 2018
21 September 2018 (online)
Background A significant proportion of patients with cancer consult with homeopaths. No former qualitative study has reported on experiences with homeopathy in this patient group. This study aimed to learn about the reasons for, and experiences with, treatment provided by homeopaths among Danish patients with cancer.
Methods A small qualitative semi-structured interview study was carried out to collect preliminary knowledge to learn about reasons for and experiences with treatment provided by homeopaths as an adjunct to usual care among patients with cancer. Thematic analysis was used for the development of themes.
Results Five patients, diagnosed with cancer, were interviewed. On the basis of qualitative interviews five themes emerged: concerns and hopes, obstacles and support, internal health locus of control, whole person approach, and improved well-being.
Conclusion The cancer patients in this study sought homeopathy to address their hopes and concerns and to help them face obstacles and find support. They were actively taking responsibility for their own health and valued the whole person approach used by their homeopaths. Participants reported improved well-being both at the physical and mental levels. The results provide a basis for further research to learn more from patients' experiences with this intervention. Such knowledge could potentially be helpful to improve healthcare practitioners' communication with patients, and thereby patients' overall care.
Keywordsqualitative - complementary and alternative medicine - homeopathy - cancer - thematic analysis
• This is the first qualitative study exploring cancer patients' experiences with homeopathy.
• Patients described concerns, hopes, obstacles and support in their treatment.
• Homeopathy was considered to be a whole person approach.
• Patients felt in control of their treatment and their well-being improved.
• This was a small study and more research is needed in this clinical field.
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