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The efficacy of herbal therapy on quality of life in patients with breast cancer: self-control clinical trial

Authors Wong EL, Wong CK, Leung PC, Lam WKC

Published 7 July 2010 Volume 2010:4 Pages 223—229


Review by Single-blind

Peer reviewer comments 2

Lai Yi Eliza Wong1, Chun Kwok Wong2, Ping Chung Leung3, Wei Kei Christopher Lam4

1Assistant Professor, Department of Community and Family Medicine, The Chinese University of Hong Kong; 2Associate Professor, Department of Chemical Pathology, The Chinese University of Hong Kong; 3Director, Institute of Chinese Medicine, The Chinese University of Hong Kong, 5/F, School of Public Health Building, Prince of Wales Hospital, NT, Hong Kong; 4Chairman, Department of Chemical Pathology, The Chinese University of Hong Kong, 1/F, Clinical Sciences Building, Prince of Wales Hospital, NT, Hong Kong

Background: Mounting evidence indicates that herbal therapy is effective in alleviating anxiety, lessening cancer treatment-related side-effects, and facilitating rehabilitation. This is the first trial to examine the herbal therapy of combined yunzhi and danshen on quality of life among breast cancer patients.

Methods: A multicenter, longitudinal, and self-control study was used. Eighty-two breast cancer patients were given combined yunzhi and danshen capsules for six months on a daily basis. Data collection including quality of life, vitality status and adverse effects were taken.

Results: Results showed a significant improvement in physical function, role-physical, role-emotion and health transition (P < 0.05). Patients also reported less fatigue, better quality of sleep, better appetite, more regular bowel movements and more stable emotions (P < 0.05). As far as side-effects were concerned, only mild discomforts including sore throat (13.4%) and dry mouth (9.8%) were recorded.

Conclusion: The findings add clinical evidence to support the beneficial effects of herbal therapy on quality of life and vitality status in breast cancer patients. Therefore, herbal therapy has a potentially important role to play in managing psychological distress in cancer patients. This study also suggests that herbal therapy is clinically acceptable and can be used safely with breast cancer patients.

Keywords: complementary therapies, dietary supplements, breast cancer, quality of life, adverse effects

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