A study looking at the use of herbal medicines and dietary supplements by people with cancer

Please note - this trial is no longer recruiting patients. We hope to add results when they are available.

Cancer type:

All cancer types





This study is looking at the type of complementary and alternative medicines (CAMs) that people with cancer use, and the potential risks and benefits.

Some people use CAMs alongside cancer treatment prescribed by their doctors. People may use CAMs to help with sickness caused by chemotherapy, tiredness (fatigue) and pain, or to improve their wellbeing. But some types of CAM may interact with other treatments or have side effects.

CAM can include herbal medicines, dietary supplements, aromatherapy, acupuncture, relaxation techniques or Chinese medicine.

In this study, the researchers are looking particularly at the use of herbal medicines and dietary supplements. They hope to learn more about

  • The types of CAMs that people with cancer are using
  • The potential benefits of CAMs as well as the possible harm they can cause
  • Possible interactions between herbal medicines and conventional cancer drugs prescribed by your doctor

The researchers hope that the results of the study will help with developing information for cancer patients about the possible risks and benefits of taking herbal medicines or dietary supplements.

Who can enter

You may be asked to join this study if you

  • Have been diagnosed with cancer and are being cared for by doctors at a cancer centre Open a glossary item or a palliative care Open a glossary item unit in the Thames Valley region
  • Are able to speak, read and write English
  • Are at least 18 years old

You won’t be asked to take part if your doctor thinks you are not well enough to do so.

Trial design

The researchers aim to recruit up to 1,500 people.  Staff at some hospitals and palliative care units in the Thames Valley region area are sending information about the study to all the people they are treating.

If you agree to take part, you fill out a questionnaire and send it back to the researchers. The questionnaire will ask about the medicine you currently take, whether you have ever taken any complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) and your experiences of taking herbal medicines or dietary supplements.

Even if you don’t use any CAMs, it would be helpful for the researchers if you could let them know this on the questionnaire and send it back.

You don’t have to put your name on the questionnaire, but you can choose to give the researchers your contact details. If you do so, the study team will let you know if any herbal medicine you take could interact with drugs prescribed by your doctor.

The information you give is confidential Open a glossary item. It will not be possible to identify you in any results from the study.

Hospital visits

It will take up to half an hour to complete the questionnaire. If you have never used any complementary or alternative medicines, it will only take a few minutes.

Side effects

There are no side effects from taking part in this study.

Recruitment start:

Recruitment end:

How to join a clinical trial

Please note: In order to join a trial you will need to discuss it with your doctor, unless otherwise specified.

Please note - unless we state otherwise in the summary, you need to talk to your doctor about joining a trial.

Chief Investigator

Saud Alsanad

Supported by

Royal Embassy of Saudi Arabia
University of Reading

Questions about cancer? Contact our information nurses

Freephone 0808 800 4040

Last review date

CRUK internal database number:

Oracle 10642

Please note - unless we state otherwise in the summary, you need to talk to your doctor about joining a trial.

Cara took part in a clinical trial

A picture of Cara

"I am glad that taking part in a trial might help others on their own cancer journey.”

Last reviewed:

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