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Enhancing Cancer CareComplementary therapy and support$
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Jennifer Barraclough

Print publication date: 2007

Print ISBN-13: 9780199297559

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: November 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199297559.001.0001

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Evaluating complementary therapies

Evaluating complementary therapies

Chapter:
(p.11) Chapter 2 Evaluating complementary therapies
Source:
Enhancing Cancer Care
Author(s):

Janet Richardson

Karen Pilkington

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199297559.003.0002

The nature and complexities of complementary therapies and their underpinning philosophical approaches present a challenge to the research community. Some complementary therapies have the potential to provide supportive (such as quality of life) benefits and symptom relief in patients with cancer. Evidence for their effectiveness from randomised controlled trials is limited due to the lack of trials of high methodological quality. Nonetheless, in an increasingly evidence-based treatment culture, healthcare professionals and people with cancer will need to have access to the best-available evidence on the effectiveness of complementary therapies. This chapter presents a summary of the current research findings, considers the methodological challenges and safety issues, and provides resources for further details. Complementary therapies, such as acupuncture, homeopathy, massage, aromatherapy, and yoga, have the potential to provide some relief for the symptoms of cancer and the side effects of treatments. These symptoms range from breathlessness to hot flushes, dry mouth problems due to chemotherapy, nausea and vomiting induced by chemotherapy, and pain. Plant-based treatments for cancer are also discussed.

Keywords:   complementary therapies, randomised controlled trials, cancer, symptoms, symptom relief, acupuncture, homeopathy, breathlessness, pain, hot flushes

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