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Background: Breast cancer is one of the most common malignancies in the world and in Iran. Prevalence of this disease in Iran 21.4% was reported. One of the main alternatives for treating breast cancer is chemotherapy which causes complications such as acute and delayed nausea and vomiting. The aim of this study was to determine the effect of aromatherapy with peppermint oil on nausea and vomiting induced by chemotherapy among breast cancer patients.
Methods: This study was a randomized controlled trial on 100 women who suffering from Breast Cancer and receiving chemotherapy as outpatient's hospital care in Imam Khomeini. Before chemotherapy and after obtaining informed consent the patients with random sampling block were randomly allocated into intervention and control group. Intervention group received routine medications for controlling nausea and vomiting as well as aroma therapy with peppermint for five days. Meanwhile, the control group received only the routine medications. The data were gathered by using demographic and Rhodes Standard Questionnaire (about severity and number of nausea and vomiting). The results obtained from both groups were compared by using the SPSS version 11.5 software and descriptive and analytic statistics.
Results: The results showed there were no statistical differences between two groups in some variables such as age, duration of cancer, history of alcohol use, history of nausea and vomiting (p>0.05). Use of aromatherapy with peppermint in acute phase lead to decreased of nausea and vomiting without any complications (p<0.5). The use of aromatherapy with peppermint oil leads to a reduction in frequency and duration of nausea and vomiting in the delayed phase but not statistical significance (p>0.05). Indeed more than half of samples stated that they are satisfied with aromatherapy and recommend it to others.
Conclusions: Aromatherapy with peppermint in breast cancer patients could decrease nausea and vomiting in acute phase after chemotherapy. It is suggested that nurses use this aroma therapy as a complementary treatment, inexpensive and without complications for relieving the nausea and vomiting caused by chemotherapy.