(NaturalNews) Big Pharma's drugs have failed miserably in helping female cancer survivors deal with quality of life problems that can linger for years after chemo and radiation treatments are finished. But now there's help on the horizon -- and it's all natural and appears to be free of side effects. Study results just presented at the 2011 American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) annual meeting in Chicago revealed a natural combination of nutrients and phytochemicals were healthy for female cancer survivors across the board with a wide variety of problems.
Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center scientists were looking for a way to help women cancer survivors who often suffer from sexual problems following their chemo and other mainstream medical therapies. So the researchers tested a natural nutritional supplement (which has been marketed for the last decade to boost all around well-being and balance hormones); the supplement had already been shown in a small study conducted at Stanford University to improve sexual function.
The Wake Forest research team conducted a double-blind, placebo controlled study and found the all-natural supplement didn't measurably improve sexual function in the cancer patients. But imagine the scientists' surprise when the results of the study were analyzed. They found the herbal/vitamin blend produced incredible results in other areas of the women's lives -- reducing pain, relieving insomnia, stopping nausea and boosting energy.
The Wake Forest research, funded by the National Cancer Institute, used a supplement sold as ArginMax for Women which is made from a proprietary blend of L-arginine, ginseng, ginkgo, and 14 vitamins and minerals. Many of these natural ingredients have long been used in traditional medicine to boost energy and circulation and optimize hormonal balance.
For the study, scientists at the Comprehensive Cancer Center at Wake Forest Baptist, the Derrick L. Davis Forsyth Regional Cancer Center, and multiple other cancer centers across the country recruited 186 female cancer survivors who were at least six months past their last treatment for any type of malignancy. The trial was strictly controlled so that neither the research subjects nor the investigators knew who was receiving the supplement and who was being given a placebo pill.
At the start of the study and again at four weeks, eight weeks and 12 weeks after taking the supplement or placebo, all the women completed two standardized questionnaires that measured sexual function and quality of life. Dubbed the FACT-G questionnaire, it measures overall quality of life and has been used in research of all cancer types to evaluate physical, emotional, social and functional well-being.
Amazingly, every single cancer survivor who took the herbal/vitamin supplement was found to have a dramatic boost in measures of overall quality of life.
"The group taking the supplements experienced significant improvement in overall quality of life, particularly physical well-being," Kathryn M. Greven, M.D., a radiation oncologist at Wake Forest Baptist and the lead investigator on the study, said in a statement to the media.
"Bothersome symptoms such as lack of energy, pain, nausea, and sleeplessness were all improved, as were measures of functional well-being, for example the ability to perform normal activities at home or work. Simply, they reported a greater enjoyment of life, without any additional side effects from the supplement."
Edward G. Shaw, M.D., M.A., an oncologist as well as counselor and principal investigator for Wake Forest Baptist's Community Clinical Oncology Program Research Base, was a co-researcher on the study. In the press statement, he noted that cancer survivors can suffer from persistent inflammation (also called chronic oxidative stress) for years after chemo, radiation and other mainstream medical cancer treatments. The result can be lingering fatigue that greatly reduces the quality of life. Dr. Shaw hypothesized that the herbal and vitamin ingredients in the supplement used for the study counteract this process.
"Beyond managing individual symptoms as they appear, the medical community has not been able to offer cancer patients more global symptom relief. This research is empowering for the community of cancer survivors," he noted. "It is very exciting that we've found something that has the potential to affect and improve quality of life for female cancer survivors."
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