Breast cancer treatment of the terminally ill can be aided by alternative approaches, a study has found.
Scientists at the Duke Comprehensive Cancer Center said that they had devised a programme focused on "hope, balance, inner strengths, self care, support, spirit and life review".
In a trial involving 50 women with breast cancer who were not expected to live beyond six months, the course supported them to achieve personal goals and inner peace.
Dr Amy Abernethy, an oncologist at the Duke University Medical Center and the study's lead investigator, commented: "The program helped improve distress and despair during the initial three months and up to six months after diagnosis among women with metastatic breast cancer and a six month life expectancy."
He added that breast cancer patients explained that although they were still experiencing the unpleasant side-effects of the cancer treatment they were receiving, the severity was far less.
A recent study at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill's Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer has found that chemotherapy can be effective in older cancer patients.