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Dilemma with complementary therapies – high demand, little information – healing practice



Insufficient funding for complementary cancer treatments

According to a recent survey, almost two-thirds of all cancer patients for complementary therapies such as diet, exercise, massage, and meditation, but only a third of all oncology professionals educate about these options or include them in treatment.

A surveywhich was carried out on behalf of the Samueli Foundation, found that 62% of all people with cancer received better information about cancer before starting conventional treatment complementary therapies to wish. However, this wish is currently only fulfilled by 33% of all oncologists.

Cancer patients want more education

“Patients want more information about their options so they can make informed decisions about their overall treatment”stress Dr Wayne Jonas by the Samueli Foundation, an American foundation dedicated to holistic treatment methods uses.

According to him, it is up to healthcare providers to better educate on this issue and offer treatment plans that are better suited to the individual.

Extensive survey of data subjects and professionals

More than 1,000 patients who had been diagnosed with cancer in the past two years were interviewed for the survey. In addition, 150 oncologists participated in the survey.

76% of oncology professionals said they would like to know more about how complementary therapies can usefully complement conventional treatments.

Why Complementary Treatments Are Not Offered

But according to the doctors, there is typical obstaclesthat frustrate these approaches, including lack of insurance reimbursement, lack of staff, lack of time, and the false assumption that patients are not interested in such treatment approaches.

“It is clear that doctors, insurers and hospitals need to know and offer more information and treatment options”, emphasizes Jonas. The current system is designed to prevent this type of care.

Many doctors are convinced of the effect

were there 60% of oncologists Convinced that complementary therapeutic approaches can help coping with side effects and the general well-being improve during and after treatment.

40% of professionals even assume that complementary therapies improve treatment outcomes and Improved overall survival of cancer patients can be compared to the sole use of conventional methods.

Cancer patients often independently research

Two-thirds of people affected by cancer (66%) said they had independently sought complementary therapies and had tried at least one of them. The most frequently received offers were

  • Nutrition advice (35%),
  • psychological support (27%),
  • Exercise tips (26%),
  • meditation or mindfulness training (26%),
  • spiritual services (25%).

Integrating Complementary Therapies into Standard Care

According to the respondents, the main barrier to using a complementary treatment was experienced providers to be found and that such approaches are not offered as part of conventional therapy.

“Hospitals and healthcare providers need to offer more treatment options alongside traditional cancer care to increase patient satisfaction and improve the quality of life and duration of cancer patients”asks Jonah.

Situation in Germany

Although the survey comes from the United States, the situation in Germany is similar. medical doctor professor Jens Büntzel is a professional advisor German Cancer Society. According to the oncologist, the response of the German medical community to complementary cancer treatments is very positive, although further research is needed in the area.

Through reduction in the assumption of costs by the compulsory health insurance funds However, one trend to observe is that rather wealthy patients use such treatments. Not everyone can afford complementary medicine.

A first basis for improving the situation is provided by the “Guideline S3 on complementary medicine in the treatment of cancer patients‘, which was released in September 2021. (vb)

Author and source information

This text corresponds to the requirements of the specialized medical literature, medical guidelines and current studies and has been verified by health professionals.


Graduate editor (FH) Volker Blasek


  • The Reis Group: Most Cancer Patients Want Access to Complementary Therapies Before Treatment (Published: 15.11.2022),
  • Cancer Society: Complementary Cancer Medicine – Possibilities and Limits (Status: October 25, 2021),
  • Guideline S3 on complementary medicine in the treatment of cancer patients (PDF, status as of: September 2021),

Important note:
This article contains general advice only and should not be used for self-diagnosis or treatment. It cannot substitute a visit to the doctor.

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