The approach of Anthroposophic Medicine (AM) for cancer care is integrative (integration of standard oncological treatment and AM) as well as multimodal (1, 2). Along with metastases and common side-effects associated with chemo- and radiotherapy , cancer-related fatigue (CRF), insomnia, cognitive dysfunction, distress and pain are major burdensome symptoms accompanied by rhythm alterations (3, 4, 5, 6, 7). First studies support the prognostic impact of sleep quality and rest/activity regulation on survival in patients with metastatic cancer (7, 8).
As a therapeutic answer to the complex symptom burden, the multimodal approach of AM integrates standard, conventional treatments with mistletoe therapy, pharmacological AM therapies, nursing interventions such as embrocation and compresses, rhythmical massage, psycho-oncology, eurythmy therapy, music and art therapy (9, 10, 11, 12). A pilot study in cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy and being treated concomitantly with painting therapy showed a significant reduction of depressive symptoms (13). In another pilot study, pediatric posterior fossa tumour survivors were treated with eurythmy therapy (14).
In consecutive studies investigating the impact of a ten-week multimodal intervention (psycho-education, sleep-education and –restriction, eurythmy and painting therapy) in breast cancer patients with CRF, a pilot study showed an improvement of fatigue, sleep quality and autonomic regulation (15). In a comprehensive cohort design study, a combined multimodal treatment group (CT) whose treatment included aerobic training was confirmatively not superior to the standard aerobic treatment after ten weeks of intervention, but was exploratively superior six months later. A multimodal treatment (MT) group was exploratively superior to the standard treatment after ten weeks of intervention and six months later; both CT and MT had strong effect sizes (16).
Priv. Doz. Dr. med Matthias Kröz
Forschungsinstitut Havelhöhe gGmbH,
Gemeinschaftskrankenhaus Havelhöhe gGmbH, Berlin
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