73% reported that they felt that the treatment was of benefit – Homeopathy in Integrative Oncology Service

Cancer is a Challenge – Quick Review – Feasibility of Homeopathic Treatment for Symptom Reduction in an Integrative Oncology Service

Cancer is a challenge from every point of view be it medical, holistic, social, financial, or therapeutic. Every new day, its expansion as well as control is becoming a global threat. Despite extensive research, the “helplessness” prevails. Amidst this, we need valid solutions to treat, to cure, to check its progression, or to improve quality of life of sufferers at least.

This quick research byte post presents to you some excerpts from the recent publication, “Feasibility of Homeopathic Treatment for Symptom Reduction in an Integrative Oncology Service” by team of experts from Institute of Oncology, Sheba Medical Center, Tel Hashomer, and Sackler Faculty of Medicine, Tel Aviv University, Tel Aviv, Israel, wherein the potential of homeopathy as Add-on therapy, adherence to the homeopathic treatment regimen and perceived response to the treatment were evaluated.

Citation: Noah Samuels, MD; Yakov Freed, MD; Rony Weitzen, MD; Merav Ben-David, MD; Yair Maimon, PhD; Uri Eliyahu, PhD and Raanan Berger, MD, PhD. Feasibility of Homeopathic Treatment for Symptom Reduction in an Integrative Oncology Service. Integrative Cancer Therapies November 2, 2017. doi.org/10.1177/1534735417736133

Study Design: Retrospective, Cohort

Sample Size: 124

Mean Age: 57.0 ± 13.3 years

Statistical tests applied: Pearson’s chi-square, Fisher’s exact tests, Mann-Whitney U test

Below are some of the excerpts from the study for quick reference:-

  • Supportive and palliative care play an important role in cancer treatment, and when introduced early can improve quality of life (QoL) related outcomes and may even increase median survival rates, as shown in patients with advanced lung cancer.
  • However, because homeopathy uses highly diluted compounds, as well as its homeopathic approach to patient care (vs the allopathic paradigm of conventional medicine), this complementary medicine therapy remains one of the most debated modalities in integrative oncology. Still, despite the controversy, a large body of research has been published in the scientific literature supporting the benefits of homeopathy on health and well-being, including in cancer care.
  • Clinical studies have shown homeopathy to potentially reduce many of the toxic effects of oncology treatments, while improving global health and well-being.
  • In the present study all patients treated with homeopathy at the study centre were referred by either an integrative physician (IP) or by an oncologist.
  • The patient’s data was retrospectively examined for demographic information (gender, age, country of birth); cancer-related parameters, which included the site of primary tumor, tumor stage (localized/metastatic), treatment modality (chemotherapy/radiotherapy/other), and therapeutic setting (neoadjuvant/adjuvant/curative/palliative).
  • The primary tumour site was breast in 60 patients and others in 64 patients.
  • More than two-thirds of patients had been referred to the homeopathic consultation by an IP, the remainder by an oncologist. Less than half of the patients (43%) attended a second visit with the study homeopath, in addition to telephone or e-mail follow up.
  • The most frequently prescribed remedies were Carcinosin (30C), Phosphoricum acidum (30C), Cadmium sulphuratum (30 C), X-ray (6C), and Radium bromatum (30C).
  • Of the total cohort of 124 patients, 82 (66.2%) procured and self-administered the remedy as prescribed.
  • Of the 82 patients who adhered to the homeopathic treatment regimen (ie, acquired and self-administered the remedy as prescribed), nearly three-quarters (73.2%, n = 60) reported that they felt that the treatment was of benefit.
  • Factors that were associated with a perceived beneficial effect included attending a second visit with the homeopath (vs telephone/e-mail follow-up alone; P = .04), female gender (P = .02), younger age (P = .048), diagnosis of breast cancer (P = .014), and currently undergoing radiation treatment (vs chemotherapy; P = .003).
  • Patients reporting chemotherapy-induced peripheral neuropathy were also more likely to report that the homeopathic therapy was of benefit (P = .004), as well as female patients reporting hot flashes (P = .05).
  • Female patients who had been referred to the study homeopath by their oncologist were also more likely to report a beneficial effect of the treatment (P < .005).
  • Homeopathy can be successfully incorporated into an integrative oncology service, on its own or as an adjuvant to other complementary medicine modalities. Adherence to the homeopathic treatment regimen can be increased by asking the patient to attend a second visit with the homeopath, as opposed to telephone or e-mail follow-up alone.

Characteristics of study groups: Adherent vs nonadherent patients


Characteristics of the study groups: Positive vs No/negative response

Limitations: Retrospective nature of the study, no use of patient-report outcome measures, and the integration of CM in conventional supportive cancer care may be related to the cross-cultural and socio-economic aspects of care, which need to be addressed in any therapeutic framework, especially integrative oncology.

Disclaimer: The quick review presents the facts and figures from peer-reviewed publications only. At every step, copyright and privacy policies are strictly followed. Readers must follow original links given at suitable places for references and citations. The presented facts are for scientific/academic purposes only, and must not be taken as Medical Consultation in any form. For consultation, treatment and specific queries you need to contact your healthcare professional. Not for Medico-legal purposes.

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