Advice on complementary medicine is generally sought by cancer patients themselves. They are often accompanied by their close caregivers, family or friends, or a relative receives advice on their behalf.
We increasingly receive enquiries from patient self-help groups or oncological healthcare institutions.
The majority of people seeking advice live within the catchment area of the Munich Tumour Centre. We do receive, however, a number of enquiries from other parts of Bavaria, Germany or neighbouring countries.
Most people seeking advice prefer to come to the Tumour Centre for a personal meeting. A significant amount of advice is also provided via telephone and (sometimes in addition to a face-to-face meeting or telephone conversation) via email. On average, meetings last approximately 60 minutes.
The issues for which people seek advice can be largely divided into 4 categories:
1. Support with alleviating symptoms of the disease or side effects of therapy.
2. Sensible naturopathic measures for reducing the risk of relapse.
3. Specific questions on the usefulness or risks (such as interactions with oncological tumour therapy) of therapies with complementary medicine or individual natural substances.
4. Miscellaneous: including questions on prevention of cancer in cases of a family history or on alternatives to conventional therapies. Upon request for a second opinion in the field of oncology, we refer to the Comprehensive Cancer Center München.
When providing advice to self-help groups the issues addressed are often similar, although the advice provided is less tailored to individual concerns due to the nature of group situations.
Working in contact with other oncology institutions, we prioritise topics such as networking, further training and future developments such as establishment of joint tumour boards.
Quality of structure
Our framework ensures we achieve high performance quality:
- an interdisciplinary team trained in complementary medicine, nutritional science and psycho-oncology
- a high proportion of working time dedicated to client-related work
- participation in further training on topics in the fields of complementary medicine, naturopathy and oncology
- regular organisational staff meetings and inter-collegial case discussions
- close cooperation with the TZM Cancer Counselling Services and Nutrition Consultation Service active participation in and contribution to project and work groups of the Munich Tumour Centre
- cooperation with specialised institutions
- easy access to individual complementary medicine advice as well as information on specialist oncology topics via the annual Patient Days
- high degree of flexibility in terms of the type of advice (in person, on the telephone, via email) and arranging appointments (e.g. advice outside of office hours in exceptional cases)
- secured funding of the advisory service
Quality of processes
We are committed to the following procedures:
- presentation of medical documentation such as current doctor's letters or lab results
- structured, documentation by doctors of medical history, expectations and content of advice desired
- patient and problem-orientated advice with the involvement of the person seeking advice in all stages
- documentation of service by means of anonymised data collection related to persons and diseases as well as the service provided
- confidential and secure storage of meeting content documentation for internal purposes only
Quality of results
We record the results of our work and assess them by means of:
- asking for the subjective assessment of the patient concerning the outcome of the meeting, attainment of objectives and satisfaction
- we are planning to develop anonymised responses concerning advisory sessions using standardised questionnaires
"I wanted to thank you for our meeting concerning the topic of...". It really boosted me for my first chemo. In addition to all the important information, you also gave me good encouragement to cope with my situation".
"Thank you for all of the information! You helped me tremendously once again. The recommendations have already been put into practice"
"I am still deeply touched by your attentive approach - thank you for dealing with me in such a way and giving me so much space for my worries, fears and my situation! It has really spurred me on!"
"I received your information and will implement the recommended steps. It is so fantastic to have a direction! Thank you!"
"As soon as I receive the results of the blood test I will let you know.
I send my best wishes to you and for your work. I hope that all the energy and motivation you share with people continues!"
"Thank you for your message. I was so delighted to receive such extensive information from you. I looked at the links straight away. I've decided I might give... a go after all for a short time. In my situation the risk is actually low compared to the other medicines".
The Complementary Medicine and Naturopathy Consultation Service at Munich Tumour Centre was established in April 2016.
The Cancer Counselling Services at Munich Tumour Centre in cooperation with the Bayerische Krebsgesellschaft e.V. offer individual advice concerning psycho-social and psycho-oncological questions.
Tel. 00 49 (0)89 / 44 00 - 533 51
For questions relating to nutrition for cancer patients, particularly in the case of side effects and consequences of tumour therapies, disorders and malnutrition, you can get in touch with the Nutrition Consultation Service at Munich Tumour Centre.
Tel. 00 49 (0)89 / 44 00 - 533 44
All of TZM's advisory services are provided in close cooperation with Bayerische Krebsgesellschaft e.V.