Palliative in-patient cancer treatment in an anthroposophic hospital: I. Treatment patterns and compliance with anthroposophic medicine

Heusser, Peter; Braun, Sarah Berger; Ziegler, Renatus; Bertschy, Manuel; Helwig, Silke; van Wegberg, Brigitte; Cerny, Thomas (2006). Palliative in-patient cancer treatment in an anthroposophic hospital: I. Treatment patterns and compliance with anthroposophic medicine. Forschende Komplementärmedizin und klassische Naturheilkunde, 13(2), pp. 94-100. Basel: Karger 10.1159/000091694

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BACKGROUND: Complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) and most of all anthroposophic medicine (AM) are important features of cancer treatment in Switzerland. While the number of epidemiological investigations into the use of such therapies is increasing, there is a distinct lack of reports regarding the combination of conventional and CAM methods. PATIENTS AND METHODS: 144 in-patients with advanced epithelial cancers were enrolled in a prospective quality-of-life (QoL) study at the Lukas Klinik (LK), Arlesheim, Switzerland. Tumor-related treatment was assessed 4 months prior to admission, during hospitalization and 4 months after baseline. OBJECTIVE: We aimed at giving a detailed account of conventional, AM and CAM treatment patterns in palliative care, before, during and after hospitalization, with emphasis on compliance with AM after discharge. RESULTS: Certain conventional treatments featured less during hospitalization than before but were resumed after discharge (chemotherapy, radiotherapy, sleeping pills, psychoactive drugs). Hormone therapy, corticosteroids, analgesics WHO III and antidepressants remained constant. AM treatment consisted of Iscador? (mistletoe), other plant- or mineral-derived medication, baths, massage, eurythmy, art therapy, counseling and lactovegetarian diet. Compliance after discharge was highest with Iscador (90%) and lowest with art therapy (14%). Many patients remained in the care of AM physicians. Other CAM and psychological methods were initially used by 39.9% of patients. After 4 months, the use had decreased with few exceptions. CONCLUSION: During holistic palliative treatment in an anthroposophic hospital, certain conventional treatments featured less whereas others remained constant. After discharge, chemotherapy returned to previous levels, AM compliance remained high, the use of other CAM therapies low.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)


04 Faculty of Medicine > Medical Education > Institute of Complementary and Integrative Medicine (IKIM)

UniBE Contributor:

Heusser, Peter










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Date Deposited:

04 Oct 2013 14:48

Last Modified:

17 Mar 2015 21:49

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URI: (FactScience: 3387)

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