Written by Hannah Daws, Communications Director at Breast Cancer Haven

The article Cancer patients who use homeopathy and alternative remedies as part of treatment twice as likely to die from disease as published in today's Independent, is very alarmist and also confuses readers by packaging up alternative and complementary therapies into one unhelpful category.

Time and time again the media fails to make the distinction between the two which have vastly different aims.

Alternative approaches to healthcare, are literally that, alternative. People seeking these treatments will often be refusing conventional medicine and using alternative therapies to replace them.

We at Breast Cancer Haven use complementary therapies which work in harmony with conventional cancer treatment. We always advise our service users to follow the advice of their healthcare professionals as this will offer them the best chance of surviving the disease.

However, we recognise that surgery, treatment (radiotherapy, chemotherapy, tamoxifen etc) and the impact of a cancer diagnosis will have a significant emotional and physical impact on the individual. Our programme of personalised supportive therapies is designed to reduce the side-effects and improve the quality of life of all those affected by breast cancer.

When breast cancer tries to rob a woman of her individuality, her confidence or her strength, we provide the tailored package of emotional, physical and practical support that helps her hold on to them. We're there to provide women with breast cancer the support that treatment alone can't. Our therapies do not purport to save a life, but rather help people to live it again. It is an important distinction to emphasise.

The article rightfully points out that therapies such as massage and acupuncture can improve the quality of life and wellbeing and combat the side-effects from conventional treatment. There are studies to support their benefits. 

If you speak to any of our beneficiaries, they will all say the same thing: that Breast Cancer Haven's interventions have significantly benefitted their ability to cope better and live well with breast cancer.

We work hand in hand with the NHS in being able to offer patients the best possible outcomes for their breast cancer diagnosis.

Find out more about our free breast cancer support services at Breast Cancer Haven