Background: Cancer-related fatigue (CRF) is experienced by 50% to 90% of cancer patients and can severely affect their quality of life and functional capacity. Several randomized trials have recommended various ways to alleviate the symptoms of CRF with or without recourse to medications.
Objective: The aim of this study is to evaluate the effectiveness of processed honey and royal jelly on the symptoms of CRF in cancer patients who are undergoing hormone therapy, chemotherapy, chemo-radiation, or radiotherapy.
Methods: Fifty-two participants from the patients who visited the oncology clinic of Shohada-e-Tajrish hospital in Tehran (Iran) between May 2013 and August 2014 were selected and divided into two groups. The study group (26 patients) received processed honey and royal jelly, while the control group received pure honey. Both groups were instructed to consume their 5mL supplement twice daily for 4 weeks. Both groups were assessed at the beginning of the study, after 2 weeks, and then at the end of 4 weeks of treatment. Fatigue was measured using a visual analogue fatigue scale (VAFS) and fatigue severity scale (FSS). The results were compared between the two arms of study, and equality of probability distributions was assessed using a Kolmogorov-Smirnov test.
Results: The mean age of the 52 patients was 54.84. After two and four weeks of treatment with processed honey and royal jelly, VAFS and FSS due to treatment was better in the study group than in the control group, and the differences were statistically significant (p<0.001, p<0.001, respectively).
Conclusion: To the best of our knowledge, our study provided support for the use of processed honey and royal jelly to ameliorate CRF. The positive results of this study warrant further studies in this field.
Clinical trial registration: The study was registered in the Iranian Clinical Trial Registry Center (http://www.irct.ir) with the registration code: IRCT2015081423426N1.
Funding: The authors received no financial support for the research, authorship, and/or publication of this article.
Keywords: Cancer; Fatigue; Royal jelly.