The Cochrane collaboration is a highly regarded international association that seeks to provide the most up to date summary of the available evidence surrounding medical treatments. It does this by publishing systematic reviews of clinical studies authored by independent reviewers.
Earlier this week the Cochrane colloaboration published a review examining Homeopathic medicines for adverse effects of cancer treatments. The review looked at eight studies, considered relevant and of suitable quality, although in actual fact the studies could be subdivided further as they are addressing three different things. All were looking at the effectiveness of homeopathic treatments but three were concerned with alleviating the effects of radiotherapy, three alleviating the symptoms of chemotherapy and two allievating menopausal symptoms in women with breast cancer.
All of these studies were thus not looking at whether homeopathic treatments have any effect on cancer directly although unfortunately this connection will likely be drawn by many who see the headlines reporting this review. Instead, they were looking at whether homeopathic treatments could alleviate the side effects of two cancer treatments and menopausal symptoms in cancer sufferers better than a placebo treatment.