Characteristics of cancer patients using homeopathy compared with those in conventional care: a cross-sectional study

Journal Article

By: Harald Walach; C Guethlin; Naumann, J; Bartsch, H; Rostock, M
Publication Name: Ann Oncol
Year: 2010

BACKGROUND: There are only few studies on cancer patients who are treated in complementary and alternative medicine clinics and comparing them with patients in conventional care. We will present the comparison of characteristics of two patient cohorts: one was treated in a homeopathic cancer care clinic and one was treated in a conventional oncology care (CC) outpatient clinic. PATIENTS AND METHODS: Six-hundred and forty-seven patients were included in this cross-sectional cohort study and had to fill in questionnaires [health-related quality of life (QoL) (Functional Assessment of Cancer Therapy-General Scale), depression and anxiety (Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale), fatigue (Multidimensional Fatigue Inventory) and expectancies toward treatment]. Clinical data were extracted from medical records. This study presents the comparison of both cohorts. RESULTS: Patients in the homeopathy cohort are younger, better educated and more often employed than patients in the CC cohort. The most pronounced differences indicate longer disease histories and different diagnostic and clinical pretreatment variables. Despite the clinical differences, QoL as well as anxiety, depression and fatigue was similar in both the groups. CONCLUSIONS: Homeopathic treatment is sought by cancer patients at a different phase during the course of the disease, which has particular implications for research. However, expectancies toward the benefit of the treatment as well as QoL data are similar.

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