The effects of virgin coconut oil (VCO) as supplementation on quality of life (QOL) among breast cancer patients

Lipids Health Dis. 2014 Aug 27;13:139. doi: 10.1186/1476-511X-13-139.

Abstract

Background: Breast cancer is the most common cancer amongst Malaysian women. Both the disease and its treatment can disrupt the lives of the woman and adversely affect all aspects of life and thus can alter a woman's quality of life. The aim of this study was to examine the effect of virgin coconut oil (VCO) on the quality of life (QOL) of patients diagnosed with breast cancer.

Methods: This was a prospective study of breast cancer patients admitted into the Oncology Unit of Hospital Universiti Sains Malaysia, Kubang Kerian, Kelantan, Malaysia. The sample consisted of 60 patients with stage III and IV breast cancer allocated to either an intervention group (n = 30) or a control group (n = 30) using a simple random table. QOL was evaluated from the first cycle of chemotherapy to the sixth cycle, and data were collected using a validated Bahasa Malaysia version of the European Organization for Research and Treatment of Cancer Quality of Life Questionnaire Breast Cancer Module (EORTC QLQ-C30) and its breast-specific module (QLQ-BR 23).

Results: The mean age of breast cancer patients was 50.2 (SD = 13.5) years. There were significant mean score differences for functioning and global QOL between groups (α < 0.01). The intervention group also had better scores for symptoms including fatigue, dyspnea, sleep difficulties, and loss of appetite compared to the control group. Although there are deteriorations for sexual enjoyment, the intervention group exhibited improvement in breast functioning and symptom scores for body image, sexual function, future perspective, breast symptoms, and systemic therapy side effects.

Conclusion: VCO consumption during chemotherapy helped improve the functional status and global QOL of breast cancer patients. In addition, it reduced the symptoms related to side effects of chemotherapy.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Breast Neoplasms / drug therapy*
  • Coconut Oil
  • Dietary Supplements
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Middle Aged
  • Plant Oils / administration & dosage*
  • Prospective Studies
  • Quality of Life*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Treatment Outcome

Substances

  • Plant Oils
  • Coconut Oil