“Integrative oncology for breast cancer patients: introduction of an expert-based model.” By Gustav J Dobos, Petra Voiss, Ilka Schwidde, Kyung-Eun Choi, Anna Paul, Barbara Kirschbaum, Felix J Saha and Sherko Kuemmel, BMC Cancer

Conventional treatment of breast cancer may include surgery, hormonal therapy, chemotherapy, radiation and/or immunotherapy, all of which are often accompanied by severe side effects. Complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) treatments have been shown to be effective in alleviating those symptoms. Furthermore, with patient survival rates increasing, oncologists, psychologists and other therapists have to become more sensitive to the needs of cancer survivors that go beyond than the mere alleviation of symptoms. The use of certain CAM methods may become problematic when, as frequently occurs, patients use them indiscriminately and without informing their oncologists. Herbal medicines and dietary supplements, especially, may interfere with primary cancer treatments or have other detrimental effects. Thus, expertise in this highly specialized field of integrative medicine should be available to patients so that they can be advised about the benefits and negative effects of such preparations and practices.

The concept of integrative oncology for breast cancer is jointly practiced by the Department of Internal and Integrative Medicine, Kliniken Essen-Mitte, academic teaching hospital of the University of Duisburg-Essen, and the Breast Center at Kliniken Essen-Mitte in Germany. This model is introduced here; its scope is reviewed, and its possible implications for the practice of integrative medicine are discussed.

Article available as provisional PDF.

Source: BMC Cancer 2012, 12:539.

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