Helping people to live well and beyond breast cancer
The Haven Breast Cancer Support Centres
Written by Barbara S. Baker, PhD., Julia Harrington, MSc, Caroline Hoffman, PhD
The Haven, Effie Road, London SW6 1TB
Special Service Report (February 16, 2012)
The Haven is a unique charity that supports anyone affected by breast cancer in our three Haven centres in London, Hereford and Leeds, and also online (http://www.thehaven.org.uk/). We provide a free support programme consisting of information, emotional support and complementary therapies to help people through the experience of breast cancer.
402 visitors to all three of our centres completed a self-evaluation questionnaire (Measure Yourself Concerns and Wellbeing (MYCaW)) before and after receiving the programme to determine whether there was an improvement in their quality of life. Women with breast cancer found our support programme to be valuable in both addressing their main concerns, and improving their feeling of wellbeing.
Women with breast cancer more frequently turn to complementary therapies to help them with symptoms and side effects related to the disease and its medical treatments than people diagnosed with other cancers; up to 80% complementary medicine use was reported in one study. Our data showed that the highest proportions of concerns (48%) were psychological and emotional, whilst physical, wellbeing and hospital cancer treatment concerns made up 23%, 17% and 11%, respectively. Fear and anxiety, physical problems and poor energy, mind/body and side effects of chemotherapy and cancer treatment generally were the issues most frequently listed.
A significant improvement in the main concerns and in wellbeing was found in the women with breast cancer after taking part in The Haven’s support programme. The six therapies most commonly used to address these issues were: acupuncture (19%), nutrition (10%), massage and aromatherapy (9%), shiatsu (8%), counselling (8%) and reflexology (8%). When we asked them to rate the impact of the therapies on their concerns, 91% rated the concern as much better, a little better or gone.
The visitors were also asked what they felt were the most important aspects of The Haven to them personally. Appreciation of The Haven and its resources (27%), individual and group therapies (22%) and support and understanding received (18%) were the most frequent answers.
Important aspects of The Haven for its visitors
Women with breast cancer often experience emotional and physical problems related to their diagnosis and medical treatments. These findings show that such women find that our integrated support programme can really help with these concerns and lead to an improvement in their quality of life.
Information published in this report is a summary of the following original article published in Complementary Therapies in Clinical Practice journal.
Harrington et al., Effect of an integrated support programme on the concerns and wellbeing of women with breast cancer: A national service evaluation. Complementary Therapies in Clinical Practice. (2012) 18 (1) 10-15.
More about The Haven Breast Cancer Support Centres
Copyright © 2012 Nutrition Remarks. All rights reserved