Use of Homeopathy in Integrative Oncology in Strasbourg, France: Multi-center Cross-Sectional Descriptive Study of Patients Undergoing Cancer Treatment

Context - The use of homeopathy in oncological supportive care seems to be progressing. The first French prevalence study, performed in 2005 in Strasbourg, showed that only 17% of the subjects were using it. What is the situation 12 years later? Materials and Methods - This is a descriptive study, using a questionnaire identical to that used in 2005, on 633 patients undergoing treatment in three anti-cancer centers in Strasbourg. The results of the “homeopathy” sub-group were extracted and studied. Results - Of the 535 patients included, 164 used homeopathy: that is 30.7%. The main purpose of its use was to reduce the side effects of cancer treatments (75%). Among the users, 82.6% were “somewhat” or “very” satisfied, against “quite” satisfied for 15.5%, and “not at all” satisfied for 1.9%. The homeopathic treatment was prescribed by a doctor in 75.6% of the cases; the general practitioner was kept informed in 87% of the cases and the oncologist in 82%. Fatigue, pain, nausea, anxiety, sadness and diarrhea were improved in 80% of the cases. However, alopecia, weight disorders and loss of libido were the least improved symptoms. The use of homeopathy was significantly associated with the female sex. Conclusion - With a prevalence of 30.7%, homeopathy is the most used complementary medicine in integrative oncology in Strasbourg. Over 12 years, we have witnessed an increase of 83% in its use in the same city. Almost all respondents declare themselves satisfied and tell their doctors more readily than in 2005.

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