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Emotional Well-being for People with Cancer: A narrative review of charity sector resources and peer-reviewed articles for effects of complementary interventions

Research output: Book/Report/ProceedingsCommissioned report

Unpublished
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Abstract

Additional to the primary health concerns for an individual with cancer are secondary symptoms that can manifest as feelings of reduced emotional well-being, increased feelings of depression or anxiety. While chemotherapy and radiotherapy form the nexus of traditional treatment, many individuals use complementary or alternative therapies (CAM) to manage these secondary health issues. The following report contains two sections. The first section details the content of five UK cancer charity webpages with respect to complementary or alternative therapies. The second section describes the results of a systematic literature review of peer-reviewed articles studying the effects of CAM in patients with cancer since over the last fifteen years.

Macmillan Cancer Support offers the following definition, which will be used
throughout this report:

Conventional medical treatments are used by doctors to treat people with
cancer. They include surgery, radiotherapy, chemotherapy, hormonal and
targeted therapies. These treatments are scientifically tested and researched.
They can cure many cancers, help people to live longer or reduce their
symptoms...complementary therapies are used alongside, or in addition to,
conventional medical treatments. They do not claim to cure cancer. People
use them to boost their physical or emotional health. Or to relieve symptoms
or side effects. Some have been scientifically tested to check how effective
and safe they are...alternative therapies are used instead of conventional
medical treatments. They are not tested in the same way as conventional
medical treatments. Some claim to treat or cure cancer. But no alternative
therapies have been proven to cure cancer or slow its growth and some may
be harmful.’

(www.macmillan.org.uk/information-and-support/coping/complementary-
therapies/complementary-therapies-explained/complementary-alternative-
therapies.html).