Osteopathic support for a survivor of gastric cancer: a case report

Carolyn Leach

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This case study describes an osteopathic approach to improving the quality of life of a survivor of gastric cancer. An older male patient received eight consultations over a period of 10 months, some three years after his cancer diagnosis and treatment. Osteopathic management included manual treatment to improve musculoskeletal mobility, cranial osteopathic treatment to release tension in the deeper fascia, discussion of dietary strategies and advice and education about the origin of his symptoms due to a total gastrectomy and cancer chemotherapy. After treatment his physical symptoms were reduced. His neck pain was reduced. Nausea and discomfort after eating disappeared. Frequency of diarrhoea, breathlessness and fatigue were improved. He gained weight and resumed social activities. This case study illustrates how osteopathy can play a role in the supportive care of cancer patients after their conventional treatment; a wide range of systemic and musculoskeletal symptoms fall within the scope of osteopathic knowledge and problem-solving skills. The training of osteopaths as primary health care practitioners equips them with a high level of knowledge in pathology and differential diagnosis. Osteopathic consultations provide time to engage in complex problems that may benefit from a holistic approach. The touch and body work involved in osteopathy can help the patient come to terms with altered body image and to talk openly about anxieties. The Hay approach to diet appeared to be valuable in improving the quality of life for this particular patient after his gastrectomy.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)106-111
Number of pages6
JournalInternational Journal of Osteopathic Medicine
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2008


  • Osteopathy
  • Gastric cancer
  • Quality of life
  • Case report


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