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PLoS One. 2012;7(6):e39343. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0039343. Epub 2012 Jun 20.

Ginseng and Ganoderma lucidum use after breast cancer diagnosis and quality of life: a report from the Shanghai Breast Cancer Survival Study.

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  • 1Shanghai Municipal Center for Disease Control and Prevention, Shanghai, People's Republic of China.



To evaluate associations between quality of life (QOL) and use of ginseng and Ganoderma lucidum (G. lucidum) among breast cancer survivors.


Included in this study were 4,149 women with breast cancer who participated in the Shanghai Breast Cancer Survival Study. Ginseng use was assessed at 6-, 18-, and 36-month post-diagnosis surveys; G. lucidum use was assessed at the 6- and 36-month surveys. QOL was evaluated at the 6- and 36-month surveys. Multiple linear regression models were used to examine associations between ginseng and G.lucidum use and QOL assessed at the 36-month survey, with adjustment for potential confounders and baseline QOL.


At 6 months post-diagnosis, 14.2% of participants reported regular use of ginseng and 58.8% reported use of G. lucidum. We found no significant associations between ginseng use at 6, 18, and 36 months post-diagnosis and participants' total QOL score or individual scores for psychological, physical, or social well-being. Post-diagnosis G. lucidum use was positively associated with social well-being (adjusted mean difference: 1.26; 95% CI: 0.66, 1.86), but was inversely associated with physical well-being (adjusted mean difference: -1.16; 95% CI: -1.86, -0.47) with a dose-response pattern observed for cumulative number of times of use (P for trend <0.001 for both).


We found no evidence that post-diagnosis ginseng use improved the QOL of breast cancer survivors. Post-diagnosis G. lucidum use was associated with better social well-being scores, but poorer physical well-being scores.

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