Placebo Helps Cancer Survivors

After curing cancer, many people continue to experience one symptom that refuses to go away - weakness..

American researchers have found that this symptom in cancer survivors is surprisingly treatable with placebo..

An intriguing discovery in the treatment of cancer and its effects is reported by staff at the University of Alabama at Birmingham and Harvard Medical School on Nature.

Today, to fight against weakness and fatigue, former cancer patients have to take not the safest drugs. Among their side effects are dyspepsia, panic attacks, psychosis, and even heart failure.

Meanwhile, participants in a recent study who consciously took a placebo showed a significant reduction in weakness and fatigue. According to the standard scale, the severity of the symptom due to dummy capsules decreased by 29%, and the quality of life after a course of “treatment” increased by an average of 39%.

Placebo capsules were made from microcrystalline cellulose and did not contain pharmacologically active substances. After the participants were included in the project, the researchers honestly told each patient that they would take a dummy.

What a surprise it was when it turned out: this information does not interfere with the notorious placebo effect!

“Some people, well educated and clearly aware that they are taking a useless drug, have noted an improvement in their condition. At the same time, there were those who hoped for a result, but did not get it, ”says project author Teri Henemeyer.

A placebo works no worse than a medicine?

The study involved 74 people who survived various cancers, who complained to doctors about moderate or severe fatigue and weakness. The study was randomized, open, its participants and doctors knew about the true composition of the drugs taken..

Placebo was administered twice daily for 3 weeks..

According to Henemeyer, director of training and support services for patients at the Comprehensive Cancer Center UAB, “cheating for the benefit of the patient may be unnecessary - sometimes neurological processes independent of our will provide a placebo effect. This could have revolutionary implications for clinical practice. ”.

Experts note that today, weakness and fatigue is the biggest problem for most people who have survived cancer. This symptom is ahead of all other complaints, and attempts by doctors to help their wards with medication often entail additional side effects and a further decrease in the quality of life..

“After the tests, several patients approached me, asking me to give them more dummy capsules. For ethical reasons, we were not able to do this, ”said Henemeyer.

His colleague Ted Kapchuk of the Harvard Placebo Studies program previously proved that using placebo openly helps patients with irritable bowel syndrome, chronic lower back pain, and migraine headache..

The placebo effect on cancer survivors exceeded scientists' expectations.

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