quality of life in cancer patients

New research has found that non-traditional medicines significantly improve the quality of life of cancer patients.


Cancer patients commonly suffer from debilitating conditions such as depression, anxiety, pain, and fatigue. These conditions significantly impact on the patients’ quality of life. A recent study has investigated the role of traditional Chinese medicine for such commonly experienced conditions in cancer patients.

The researchers analysed available clinical trials assessing the effects of a primary treatment consisting of a traditional Chinese medicine on patient quality of life. The results of the study were published in the journal Oncotarget. Six difference Chinese medicines were identified, including acupuncture, Chinese massage, musical intervention, dietary supplements, Qidong and Tai Chi. The study reported that traditional Chinese medicines reduced fatigue and gastrointestinal complaints in cancer patients.

While there were not enough studies to link specific forms of Chinese medicines with quality of life parameters, the study reported that as a whole, quality of life can be improved by use of traditional Chinese medicines.

The researchers state that there is relatively little scientific data investigating the role of Chinese medicine in improving quality of life of cancer patients, however, the current study provides support for further investigation. Non-pharmacological interventions could have a significant role to play as an add-on to current pharmacological therapies that treat the cancer itself.



Keith Kelley et al. Practice of traditional chinese medicine for psycho-behavioral intervention improves quality of life in cancer patients: A systematic review and meta-analysis.” Oncotarget, November 2015







Written by Deborah Tallarigo, PhD

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