Safe Essential Oil Practice in Cancer Centers

In Aromatherapy, Featured, STEP by Debra Reis

BY TISHA THRONE JONES, MSW, AND DEBRA REIS, MSN, RN, CNP
Published online: September 13, 2018

Cite this article: Tisha Throne Jones & Debra Reis (2018) Safe Essential Oil Practice in Cancer
Centers, Oncology Issues, 33:5, 48-54, DOI: 10.1080/10463356.2018.1502530

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Cancer and cancer treatment can result in a multitude of side effects and symptom burdens that are prevalent not only during treatment but also well after treatment has concluded. Fatigue, sleep disturbances, pain, cognitive disturbance, and depression are all symptoms that can persist, even years after treatment.

Because of symptom burden, it is not surprising that many survivors turn to complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) therapies to help manage the symptoms and gain a sense of control over their own health. One study found that 36.4 percent of cancer survivors reported using at least one CAM modality other than vitamins and minerals in the past 12 months. Wellness-related reasons for using CAM included general wellness and general disease prevention and improving energy and immune function, and the top health condition reasons were back pain and problems, joint pain and stiffness, cardiovascular condition, and neck pain. Very few cancer survivors (3.9 percent) were using CAM therapies to treat their cancer. Essential oils, a specific CAM modality, are increasing in popularity, and there is a growing practice of using essential oils to support patients in cancer centers and acute care.

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