Living Well

Complementary Therapies Can Help Breast Cancer Patients

Complementary Therapies Can Help Breast Cancer Patients

Treatments for breast cancer can take a toll on your health. You may have to deal with side effects like pain, fatigue, or depression. Complementary therapies, such as yoga or acupuncture, may help ease these problems. But which ones are most helpful? Experts recently weighed the evidence.

Complementary therapies are those that are used in tandem with normal treatments. For instance, your doctor may recommend surgery and chemotherapy to fight your breast cancer. But you may try something like meditation to soothe stress.

Experts looked at the latest research on complementary therapies for breast cancer patients. They poured over more than 200 studies. They assessed the value of therapies such as acupuncture, hypnosis, tai chi, and vitamins. They wanted to know how well these helped patients deal with fatigue, worry, and pain.

Several therapies showed promise. The best were yoga, meditation, and relaxation techniques. These helped boost mood and fend off depression. Meditation was also found to promote quality of life. Other therapies that may help: massage for a better mood and electroacupuncture for nausea—a side effect of chemotherapy.

If you or a loved one is thinking about trying a complementary therapy, start by talking with your doctor. Some choices, such as yoga, are generally safe. But enough might not be known about others. For instance, only limited research has been done on some dietary supplements.

Click here to learn more about the common complementary therapies for breast cancer patients.