Quality of life-related outcomes from a patient-tailored integrative medicine program: experience of Russian-speaking patients with cancer in Israel

Ilanit Shalom Sharabi, Anna Levin, Elad Schiff, Noah Samuels, Olga Agour, Yehudith Tapiro, Efraim Lev, Lital Keinan-Boker, Eran Ben-Arye

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objective: Complementary/integrative medicine (CIM) is increasingly being integrated with standard supportive cancer care. The effects of CIM on quality of life (QOL) during chemotherapy need to be examined in varied socio-cultural settings. We purpose to explore the impact of CIM on QOL-related outcomes among Russian-speaking (RS) patients with cancer. Patients and methods: RS patients undergoing chemotherapy receiving standard supportive care were eligible. Patients in the treatment arm were seen by an integrative physician (IP) and treated within a patient-tailored CIM program. Symptoms and QOL were assessed at baseline, at 6, and at 12 weeks with the Edmonton Symptom Assessment Scale (ESAS), the Measure Yourself Concerns and Wellbeing (MYCAW) questionnaire, and the European Organization for Research and Treatment of Cancer Quality of Life Questionnaire (EORTC QLQ-C30). Results: Of 70 patients referred to the treatment arm, 50 (71.4 %) underwent IP assessment and CIM treatments. Of 51 referred to the control arm, 38 (76 %) agreed to participate. At 6 weeks, CIM-treated patients reported improved ESAS scores for fatigue (P = 0.01), depression (P = 0.048), appetite (P = 0.008), sleep (P < 0.0001), and general wellbeing (P = 0.004). No improvement was observed among controls. Between-group analysis found CIM-treated patients had improved sleep scores on ESAS (P = 0.019) and EORTC (P = 0.007) at 6 weeks. Social functioning improved between 6 and 12 weeks (EORTC, P = 0.02), and global health status/QOL scale from baseline to 12 weeks (EORTC, P = 0.007). Conclusion: A patient-tailored CIM treatment program may improve QOL-related outcomes among RS patients undergoing chemotherapy. Integrating CIM in conventional supportive care needs to address cross-cultural aspects of care. Trial registration: The study protocol was registered at ClinicalTrials.gov (https://clinicaltrials.gov/ct2/show/NCT01860365).

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)4345-4355
Number of pages11
JournalSupportive Care in Cancer
Issue number10
StatePublished - 1 Oct 2016

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2016, Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg.


  • Chemotherapy
  • Complementary and alternative medicine
  • Cross-cultural
  • Integrative medicine
  • Quality of life
  • Supportive care

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology


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