Homeopathy and cancer: the tiniest glimmer of hope

Cancer sufferers can improve their quality of life with the help of Homeopathy – this was the conclusion of a study conducted in Switzerland and Germany.

Many patients affected by cancer choose to supplement their treatment with classical homeopathic therapy.

Up until recently, there have been very few systematic studies regarding this type of therapy.

Dr Matthias Rostock and his team have conducted an investigation into the effects of supplementary homeopathic therapy in conjunction with conventional treatment.

In order to do this, they carried out a comparative, not randomised, prospective cohort study.

259 patients from the “Santa Croce Clinic” in Orselina (Switzerland) and from the Centre of Homeopathy in the “Oberland Clinic” in Weilheim (Germany)  took part in the homeopathic treatment group.

380 patients from the Department of Oncology and Inter-disciplinary Haematology in Freiburg (Germany) and the Department of Oncology and Haematology in Offenburg (Germany) took part in the conventional medicine group.

In order to carry out a direct comparison, additional patients with the same type of tumour were included in the study.

The principal object of the study was to analyse the quality of life  (FACT-G, FACIT –Sp) after 3 months of treatment. The secondary parameters included: changes in the quality of life after 1 year and changes in fatigue, anxiety and depression.

The patients in the homeopathic treatment group were , on the whole, younger, self-employed (in many cases) and with a higher level of education.

A third of the patients in both groups were women with breast cancer.

The tumours in the patients from the homeotherapy treatment group were, in relation to the other group, at a more advanced stage. The patients in the homeotherapy group had also received or ended conventional treatment on more occasions than those in the other group.

During the first three months of the study, the patients in the homeopathy group experienced a significant improvement in their quality of life. In the conventional treatment group, the quality of life remained stable.

After one year, the homeopathy group patients’ quality of life continued to rise. There was also a slight improvement in the conventional medicine group.

The homeopathy group displayed fewer symptoms of fatigue.

The matched-pair analysis was not relevant as the groups were too small and not consistent.

In both groups, the patients received complementary therapies such as mistletoe therapy and orthomolecular nutritional supplements.

Conclusion

This is the first long-term systematic observational study to be conducted in the world of homeopathic oncological treatment.

From this investigation, we can deduce that homeopathic therapy improves the quality of life in patients with oncological disease. However, the design of the study is not adequate enough to prove that the therapeutic effects were a result of homeopathic medicine.

We are not able to make any affirmations with regards to the individual tumours, but patients can assume that homeopathy can improve their quality of life. The effect of homeopathy on tumorous tissue wasn’t observed in the study.

Rostock M, Naumann J, Guethlin C, Guenther L, Bartsch HH, Walach H: Classical homeopathy in the treatment of cancer patients – a prospective observational study of two independent cohorts. BMC Cancer 2011;11:19.

Free access to the homeopathy and cancer study can be found at: http://www.biomedcentral.com/1471-2407/11/19

Text: Information zur Homöopathie, Lizenz Creative Commons Photo: CC0 Public Domain

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