During the Clinical Oncological Society of Australia Annual Scientific Meeting, researchers at Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital, in Perth, Western Australia reported less distress, and improvements in pain, fatigue, nausea, appetite, sleep, breathing and bowel function.

First, the details.

  • 1244 cancer patients received CAM in addition to the mainstream cancer treatment measured the quality of
    • Touch: bowen therapy, aromatherapy, reflexology
    • Energy: reiki, pranic healing
    • Mind: meditation, chi breathing
    • Support counseling

And, the results.

  • There was a 14% reduction in symptom distress, with patients reporting improvements in pain, fatigue, nausea, appetite, sleep, breathing and bowels.
  • Patients also reported an 8% increase per session in their quality of life, using a scale that measured empowerment, depression, anxiety, frustration, confusion, coping and relaxation.

The bottom line?

The authors stress, “It’s too early to know whether these therapies have a real biological impact or merely create a placebo effect.”

There are too few details provided, and in the absence of a placebo group it’s difficult to understand the significance of the reported improvements.

Is it possible, that over time the patients started to come to terms with their disease and experience less depression and anxiety, etc?

Regardless, the authors believe; “there’s no doubt that there is an improved outcome for cancer patients…. Patients change their mentality to feel empowered about the management of their cancer.”

11/10/10 19:23 JR

Hi, I’m JR

John Russo, Jr., PharmD, is president of The MedCom Resource, Inc. Previously, he was senior vice president of medical communications at www.Vicus.com, a complementary and alternative medicine website.