Complementary medicine in cancer treatment


Project examines alternative methods in cancer

19.06.2012

Complementary medicine methods can have a positive effect in the treatment of cancer and are desired by many patients. The interdisciplinary joint project KOKON ("Competence Network Complementary Medicine in Oncology") is now to discuss the possibilities of naturopathy in cancer therapy.

The aim of the "KOKON" research project is to secure standards for informing and advising patients on the possibilities of complementary medicine in cancer therapy. The three-year project is being funded by the German Cancer Aid with 2.5 million euros. However, the focus is not only on an evaluation of the current state of research, but also on the interests of the patients. Furthermore, the scientists involved are looking for suitable ways to optimally pass on sound knowledge of complementary medicine to patients, therapists and consultants.

Interdisciplinary research project on complementary medicine in oncology The interdisciplinary research project includes the University Medicine Rostock, the University Clinic Hamburg Eppendorf (UKE), the Nuremberg Clinic, the Berlin Charité, the University Clinic Frankfurt / Main, the Clinic for Tumor Biology Freiburg and Hans-Bredow -Institute for media research involved at the University of Hamburg. The spokesperson for the joint project is Dr. Markus Horneber from the Nuremberg Clinic. At the University of Rostock, Dr. Hans Lampe, doctor for internal medicine, hematology and oncology coordinates, who also works with Chinese universities for the focus on traditional Chinese medicine (TCM). Just last month, Dr. Christian Schmincke, head of the clinic at the Steigerwald, general practitioner and TCM expert, referred to the advantages of accompanying treatment with traditional Chinese medicine in cancer patients.

Approaches to naturopathy in cancer therapy are being examined How Dr. Lampe reports in the Rostock University Medical Center report, the new joint project KOKON is geared directly to the interests of patients. Because "60 to 80 percent of cancer patients want to contribute to their own healing through supplementary measures," the expert continues. Most of those affected think, according to Dr. Lamp on methods of natural medicine, such as mistletoe therapy, homeopathy, the use of dietary supplements or vitamins. However, the treating physician is rarely discussed about the therapy ideas. Comprehensive information is essential here, however, because the alternative drugs not only have a positive effect, but may also weaken the effects of chemotherapy. "Correctly used," the methods of naturopathy can "increase the effect of the therapy," emphasized Dr. Lamp. In principle, however, there is "no remedy that is always good or bad", which should be addressed openly by the doctors, since "some alternative or complementary active substances can also have a negative effect on the therapy," explained the expert.

Examples of the positive effects of naturopathic treatments in cancer therapy are given in the communication by the University Medical Center Rostock "Sport, naturopathic medicines, meditation and relaxation techniques". "When patients change their way of dealing with the disease, they usually get through the difficult times of diagnosis and therapy better," says Dr. Lamp another positive aspect of complementary medicine. "With this joint project initiated and funded by us, the German Cancer Aid meets the wish of many cancer patients to also deal with complementary and unconventional healing methods," added the General Manager of the German Cancer Aid, Gerd Nettekoven.

It is an express goal of the large-scale project to create a user-friendly "platform for patients, nurses and doctors to collect and pass on information in the field of complementary medicine." For this purpose, the three major oncological centers involved in Rostock, Nuremberg and Hamburg in As part of the project, a counseling network was jointly developed that people can turn to in order to receive scientifically sound information on the possibilities of complementary medicine in cancer treatment. In this way, “communication gaps are closed and the medical procedure for cancer patients is put on a secure footing,” emphasized Dr. Lamp.

The German Cancer Aid expects the results of the research project to provide a scientifically sound analysis of the common methods and concepts of complementary medicine in Germany. Here, Germany-wide standards for information and advice are to be derived for complementary medicine, which are equally useful for those affected and those treating them. "We want reliable information and further training for patients, doctors and nurses in oncology", emphasized the spokesman for the "KOKON" research project, Dr. Markus Horneber, doctor at the Clinic for Oncology and Hematology at the Nuremberg Clinic.

As part of this research project, the Hans Bredow Institute at the University of Hamburg is investigating the media presence of complementary medical treatment methods in cancer medicine and their perception and evaluation from a patient's perspective. "In addition to an analysis of print, television and internet offers, qualitative interviews with patients in different phases of the disease are carried out," reports the Hans Bredow Institute in its own press release. The spokesman for the overall project, Dr. Horneber explained that a large round of questions, in which the needs of patients and specialist groups should be precisely determined, was an essential first step. (fp)

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Chinese medicine: triple action against cancer
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Image: S. Hofschlaeger / Pixelio.de

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