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Palliat Support Care. 2015 Dec;13(6):1663-8. doi: 10.1017/S1478951515000553. Epub 2015 May 28.

Perception of naturopathy for female patients with metastatic gynecological cancer: A qualitative study.

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Equipe Mobile de Soins Palliatifs de la Croix-Rousse,Hospices Civils de Lyon,Lyon,France.
Centre de Soins Palliatifs de Lyon Sud,Hospices Civils de Lyon,Lyon,France.
Equipe Mobile de Soins Palliatifs de l'hôpital de Vienne,Vienne,France.



Women with gynecological cancer have been reported as very high users of complementary medicine. The goal of our study was to explore the perceptions of patients with an advanced gynecological cancer who use naturopathy as complementary medicine. We were looking more specifically at patients' opinions on the effect of naturopathy on their quality of life and its relation to conventional oncological treatments.


This pilot qualitative study used semistructured interviews, and data were analyzed using grounded theory and qualitative methods. The main criterion for inclusion in the study was the use of naturopathy as a treatment complementary to conventional cancer treatment for gynecological metastatic cancer on the oncology day care unit.


Six patients were included until data saturation. They express the physical and psychological impact of treatments and disease. Usually, chemotherapy is perceived as something that may be curative or may at least lead to remission. Unlike conventional treatments, naturopathy is not perceived as drugs, and it is seen as a way to relieve symptoms, improve well-being, and as a way of enabling them to take an active decision-making role in their care journey. Patients want to have more information about naturopathy.


This study suggests that patients are aware of the benefits of a specific cancer treatment as chemotherapy, but they resort to naturopathy for symptom control, and also to take a more active role during treatment.


Gynecological cancer; Naturopathy; Qualitative study

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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