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This article is part of the supplement: Breast Cancer Research 2008

Poster presentation

Homeopathy service in an NHS hospital breast cancer clinic: outcome study

SL Hughes1, AC Smith2 and C Relton3

Author Affiliations

1 Breast Care Unit, Queen's Hospital, Burton upon Trent, UK

2 Clinical Sciences, Leicester General Hospital, Leicester, UK

3 School of Health and Related Research, University of Sheffield, UK

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Breast Cancer Research 2008, 10(Suppl 2):P93  doi:10.1186/bcr1977


The electronic version of this article is the complete one and can be found online at: http://breast-cancer-research.com/content/10/S2/P93


Published:13 May 2008

© 2008 BioMed Central Ltd

Background

Since 2004, Burton-upon-Trent's NHS Hospital Breast Care Unit has run a homeopathy service providing an alternative therapy for symptoms affecting women during and after treatment of their primary disease. The majority suffer from menopause-type symptoms arising from breast cancer treatment. Such symptoms can be bad enough to affect long-term compliance with drug regimes. Patients receive a course of treatment from a qualified homeopath, consisting of a series of patient-centred consultations plus individualised homeopathic medicines. The present study aimed to evaluate the benefit gained by women attending the homeopathic service between April 2005 and March 2007.

Methods

Routine data gathered at each homeopathic consultation included a validated patient-generated and assessed outcome measure (MYMOP2), in which patients choose their worst symptoms, and score them and their general wellbeing on a seven-point Lickert scale from 0 (very good) to 6 (very bad). A change >0.8 is considered clinically significant improvement.

Results

Initial and final MYMOP2 data were collected from 104 women, mean age 51.2 years, range 19–74 years. The most frequently chosen worst symptoms were hot flushes (46%), breast pain (19%), depression/anxiety (10%) and aches/pains (9%). The mean worst symptom score at presentation was 4.1 ± 0.126, and at the end of the course was 2.34 ± 0.16 (P < 0.001), with 73% reporting an improvement ≥ 1. General wellbeing at presentation scored 3.2 ± 0.13 and at the end 2.3 ± 0.15 (P < 0.001).

Conclusion

These results indicate that homeopathy can offer a valuable addition to mainstream conventional therapy for breast cancer patients, possibly helping to improve compliance and therefore long-term survival.