Benefit of Individualized Programs CAM  in UK

The benefit of individualised programmes of complementary therapies for breast cancer patients at Breast Cancer Haven

M. Polley1, C. Hoffman1, N. Brydon1, C. Cox2, F. Deveraux2

1Breast Cancer Haven, London, United Kingdom 2Breast Cancer Haven, Hereford, United Kingdom

Aim: To understand the concerns breast cancer patients express when seeking complementary therapies and to evaluate the effect that receiving individualised programmes of complementary therapies has on these concerns.

The Breast Cancer Haven Programme offers support, education and complementary therapies to meet the needs of the patients before, during and after conventional medical treatment for breast cancer.

Experimental procedure: 410 patients over 2 sites completed the Measure Yourself Concerns and Wellbeing (MYCaW) questionnaire stating and scoring (out of 6) two primary concerns they had, before beginning a programme of complementary therapies.

The concerns were rescored after 10 hours of complementary therapy treatment. On the second questionnaire patients were also asked to state `what other major events were happening in their life' and `what had been the most beneficial aspect of visiting this centre'.

Results: 30 categories have been identified ranging from physical to psychosocial concerns, such as, feeling anxious about impending chemotherapy treatment, the impact of low energy levels on normal life, to wanting to manage stress, learning how to relax or gaining clear information and advice.

A mean improvement in the concern scores from 5 (SD+/-1.1) to 2.8 (SD+/- 1.7), (p = 0.001) was demonstrated, (where 6 is as bad as it can be and 0 is a s good as it can be). Any improvement in score over 1.5 units is considered a significant improvement in the concern.

The data has identified the other aspects most beneficial to the Visitors, such as the support and understanding received, the environment and the experience and professionalism of the therapists.

Further analysis is being carried out to identify whether particular combinations of therapies have successfully addressed specific concerns, or whether it is the individualised aspect to the package of complementary therapies that is most beneficial, irrespective of the combination of therapies received.

Conclusion: This study has demonstrated that individualised packages of complementary therapies, integrated alongside conventional medical treatment can be used to significantly improve a variety of physical and psychosocial concerns for women with breast cancer.

This data can be used to elucidate effective ways of offering complementary therapies to breast cancer patients either within or outside of a conventional medical setting.

European Journal of Cancer Supplements Volume 4, No. 2, March 2006, page 89

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