Feasibility of Homeopathic Treatment for Symptom Reduction in an Integrative Oncology Service
05 February 2020 (online)
Background: Homeopathy has the potential to reduce symptoms related to cancer treatment. The present study examined the feasibility of a homeopathic consultation and treatment program, provided as part of an integrative oncology service.
Methods: The electronic medical files of patients undergoing a homeopathic consultation in an integrative oncology service clinic were examined retrospectively. Adherence to the homeopathic treatment regimen and perceived response to the treatment were evaluated.
Results: The files of 124 patients (34 males, 90 females) were examined, of which two-thirds reported acquiring and self-administering the homeopathic remedy as prescribed, and nearly three-quarters reporting a beneficial effect. Adherence to the homeopathic treatment regimen was greatest among patients attending a second visit, as opposed to having only telephone/e-mail follow-up (p < 0.005). An association was found between a perceived beneficial effect of treatment with attending a follow-up visit (p = 0.04), female gender (p = 0.02), younger age (p = 0.048), diagnosis of breast cancer (p = 0.014), and current radiation treatment (vs. chemotherapy; p = 0.003). Patients reporting chemotherapy-induced peripheral neuropathy were also more likely to report a beneficial effect (p = 0.004), as were female patients reporting hot flashes (p = 0.005) and those referred by an oncologist (p = 0.046). No adverse effects were attributed to the homeopathic treatment.
Conclusions: Homeopathy can be successfully incorporated within a supportive care integrative oncology service. In addition to demographic and cancer-related characteristics, as well as symptoms, patients attending a second visit (vs. only telephone/e-mail follow-up) were more likely to adhere to and perceive a beneficial effect from the homeopathic regimen.
Keywords: Homeopathy, oncology service, symptom reduction