The Use of Herbal Therapy to Improve the Quality of Life among Cancer Patients in the Southern Region of Peninsular Malaysia

Document Type : Research Articles


1 Clinical Research Centre Hospital Sultan Ismail, Ministry of Health Malaysia, Johor, Malaysia.

2 Traditional and Complementary Unit, Hospital Sultan Ismail, Ministry of Health Malaysia, Johor, Malaysia.


Objective: To investigate the impact of herbal therapy on the quality of life (QoL) among cancer patients and to evaluate the relationship of QoL with age, gender, cancer stage, cancer type, and history of conventional treatment.Methodology: A prospective study was targeted on cancer patients receiving herbal therapy from a Traditional and Complementary Medicine (T&CM) clinic in a public hospital from 1st January 2016 to 31st August 2018. The European Organization for Research and Treatment of Cancer Quality of Life Questionnaire (EORTCQLQ-C30) was distributed to the patients prior to herbal therapy (baseline) and after the sixth and twelfth week of herbal therapy. Socio-demographic and clinical data were collected and analyzed using SPSS version 16. Results: The majority of the patients were females (60.0%) and were from the Chinese ethnic group (77.4%) with a mean age of 58.72 ± 12.17 years. Approximately 42.4% of patients were in advanced cancer stages at the time of study and 60.7% of patients had undergone radiotherapy before receiving herbal therapy. The most commonly prescribed herbs were Bai Hua She She Cao (90.6%) and Zhen Ren Huo Ming Yin (57.6%). Significant differences in mean score were observed in global health status, overall functional scales, and symptom scales after the sixth and twelfth week of receiving herbal therapy. QoL in terms of global health status and overall functional scales improved with higher scores while symptom scales recorded a lower score after twelve weeks of receiving herbal therapy in the T&CM clinic. Herbal therapy has a significant effect (p < 0.05) on the improvement of QoL of cancer patients. However, gender, cancer stage, cancer type, age, history of radiotherapy, and history of chemotherapy has no effect (p > 0.05). Conclusion: Herbal therapy did improve the QoL of cancer patients in the southern region of Peninsular Malaysia.


Main Subjects