Complimentary Therapies

Penny Brohn  Cancer charity launched their ‘Living Well’ service across England in 2013. Penny Brohn Cancer Care has been supporting people living with the impact of cancer for over 30 years from their National Centre

Learning to Live Well

Penny Brohn aim to show you how to live well with cancer and take back control of your health and wellbeing – before, during and after treatment, their range of services, including residential and day courses, which are free of charge to adults with a cancer diagnosis and their supporters.

The ‘Living Well’ course offers peer support, self-help tools and enables those over the age of 18 diagnosed with cancer and their supporters to explore which lifestyle choices are right for them.

‘Living Well’ attendees have the opportunity to:

  • Find out about eating well to enhance their health
  • Learn simple techniques to help them relax and manage their stress
  • Discover which physical activities can benefit them 

Penny Brohn Cancer Care are able to provide their services free of charge, thanks entirely to the charitable donations and voluntary contributions which fund their work.

For more information please call the Penny Brohn Cancer Care helpline on

0845 123 23 10 or visit


My wife and I both attended Bristol in 2003 following our joint diagnosis and treatment for breast cancer and CLL respectively. I can honestly say that it was a life changing experience and one that I would recommend to anyone living with cancer.

Howard Pearce


Macmillan - Cancer and complementary therapies

This information focuses on the most common complementary therapies used by some people with cancer. We hope it gives you a balanced view of what's available and what's involved if you decide to try one.

You might be advised not to have complementary therapies. This is because it isn't safe to have them if you have a certain type of cancer or if you're having certain treatments. Your doctor will be able to give you more information about this.

There are many reasons why people choose to use complementary therapies. Some people find they help them cope with the stresses caused by cancer and its treatments. Many therapies are relaxing, and may lift your spirits when you aren’t feeling your best

 Complementary therapies may help you:

  • feel better and improve your quality of life
  • feel less stressed, tense and anxious
  • sleep better
  • with some of your cancer symptoms
  • with some of the side effects of your cancer treatment
  • feel more in control.

Read more


Lekaemia & Lymphoma Research - Complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) booklet

This booklet provides information about the most commonly used non-conventional treatments and indicates some of the potential benefits and hazards of such treatments. An important concept in evaluating benefits of treatments is the placebo effect from the Latin placere meaning ‘I please’. It has been known for centuries that if patients are given a pill with no active ingredients but which they think is a medicine, many will report an apparent improvement in their health – this is the placebo effect. The effect is not purely imaginary; patients often show measurable improvements such as reduced blood pressure even though there is no active ingredient in their medication. Many doctors believe that much, perhaps all, of the benefits of complementary therapies derive from the placebo effect; others believe that there is some placebo effect but also true benefits.

For the patient or the carer it is perhaps not so important why the patient feels better, but there are still risks; complementary therapies may directly cause harm or interact with conventional treatment or patients or families may be financially exploited by unscrupulous practitioners.

 It is very important that the healthcare team are told of any complementary treatments being used. The healthcare team can only warn of potential dangers or adverse interactions if they are aware of all treatments being used.


Cancer Research UK website: About complementary and alternative therapies

This section is about the complementary therapies and alternative therapies (CAMs) used by some people with cancer. It also discusses the differences between them. - all about complementary and alternative medicine

Complementary and alternative medicines (CAMs) are treatments that fall outside of mainstream healthcare.

These medicines and treatments range from acupuncture and homeopathy to aromatherapy, meditation and colonic irrigation.

There is no universally agreed definition of CAMs.

The information that tells whether a healthcare treatment is safe and effective is called evidence. You can use evidence to help you decide whether you want to use a CAM. Detailed information on many complementary and alternative treatments can be found listed alphabetically in the Health A-Z index.

Some complementary and alternative medicines or treatments are based on principles and an evidence base that are not recognised by the majority of independent scientists.

The availability of complementary and alternative treatments on the NHS is limited. Some, such as acupuncture, may be offered by the NHS in some circumstances.

Read more


CLLSA information Circa 2006 

Links within article updated 2015

The role of complementary therapies within orthodox medicine. 

People living with the diagnosis of cancer or haematological conditions such as CLL frequently suffer symptoms as a direct result of the disease or as a side effect of chemotherapy treatment. Because of their diagnosis they may also suffer significant psychological, social and spiritual trauma as they come to terms with their illness and its impact on their lives. Conventional medicine cannot be expected to meet the full range of these complex needs, but there is a growing evidence that the addition of complementary approaches to orthodox medicine may help relieve some of the symptom burden and may also assist patients in developing their ability to cope with the illness (Tavares 2003). Read more.....