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Effect of Kefir on the Quality of Life of Patients Being Treated for Colorectal Cancer

Gulbeyaz Can
Erkan Topuz
Duygu Derin
Zehra Durna
Adnan Aydiner
ONF 2009, 36(6), E335-E342 DOI: 10.1188/09.ONF.E335-E342

Purpose/Objectives: To determine kefir's effect on the prevention of gastrointestinal complaints and quality of life (QOL) in patients being treated for colorectal cancer.

Design: Randomized, controlled, prospective, interventional study.

Setting: Istanbul University Oncology Institute in Turkey.

Sample: 40 patients, 20 of whom were randomized to the experimental (kefir) arm and 20 who were randomized to the control arm.

Methods: Informed consent to participate in the study was obtained. Before treatment began, demographics, illness-related characteristics, complaints, and QOL of participants were evaluated. During treatment, side effects were evaluated one week after every cycle of therapy. QOL was evaluated after the third and sixth cycles of treatment.

Main Research Variables: The effect of kefir on the prevention of gastrointestinal complaints and QOL in patients being treated for colorectal cancer.

Findings: Following chemotherapy, the experimental (kefir) group had more treatment-related gastrointestinal complaints but a decrease in sleep disturbance. No difference was found between the two groups for QOL.

Conclusions: Kefir does not prevent or decrease gastrointestinal complaints in patients undergoing chemotherapy for colorectal cancer. Kefir did decrease sleep disturbances in the experimental group.

Implications for Nursing: Many patients use complementary and alternative medicine during cancer therapy. This study may provide information about the effectiveness of kefir in patients with cancer.

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