Homeopathy has the potential to reduce symptoms related to cancer treatment. The present study examined the feasibility of a homeopathic consultation and treatment program, provided as part of an integrative oncology service.
The electronic medical files of patients undergoing a homeopathic consultation in an integrative oncology service clinic were examined retrospectively. Adherence to the homeopathic treatment regimen and perceived response to the treatment were evaluated.
The files of 124 patient (34 males, 90 females) were examined, of which two-thirds reported acquiring and self-administering the homeopathic remedy as prescribed, and nearly three-quarters reporting a beneficial effect. Adherence to the homeopathic treatment regimen was greatest among patients attending a second visit, as opposed to having only telephone/e-mail follow-up ( P < .005). An association was found between a perceived beneficial effect of treatment with attending a follow-up visit ( P = .04), female gender ( P = .02), younger age ( P = .048), diagnosis of breast cancer ( P = .014), and current radiation treatment (vs chemotherapy; P = .003). Patients reporting chemotherapy-induced peripheral neuropathy were also more likely to report a beneficial effect ( P = .004), as were female patients reporting hot flashes ( P = .005) and those referred by an oncologist ( P = .046). No adverse effects were attributed to the homeopathic treatment.
Homeopathy can be successfully incorporated within a supportive care integrative oncology service. In addition to demographic and cancer-related characteristics, as well as symptoms, patients attending a second visit (vs only telephone/e-mail follow-up) were more likely to adhere to and perceive a beneficial effect from the homeopathic regimen.