Cancer and the contribution of CAM

(EUROCAM: Report from the European Parliament meeting held 27 March 2012 – selected passages (102) )

A Round Table Meeting of the European Parliament Interest Groups MEPs Against Cancer and MEPs for CAM on Cancer and the contribution of Complementary and Alternative Medicine (CAM) took place on 27 March 2012.

The meeting, a joint initiative of the CAM Interest Group – MEPs for CAM and the MAC Interest Group – MEPs Against Cancer, was aimed at presenting and discussing what role CAM can play in the treatment of cancer patients. Cancer remains one of the pressing health challenges for European citizens and surveys have shown that more than a third of cancer patients in Europe use Complementary and Alternative Medicine (CAM) to increase their body's ability to overcome the disease, to help deal with the side effects of conventional treatment, to enhance their health and to alleviate physical and/or psychological distress.

The meeting was chaired by MEP Sirpa Pietikäinen, EPP (103) Finland.

As speakers, MACCAM had invited Ass. Prof Dr Harald Matthes, Director of the Community Hospital Havelhöhe Berlin, Germany, Prof Dr Gustav Dobos, Chair of Complementary and Integrative Medicine at the University Duisburg-Essen, Germany, Mrs Hedi Broson of the Norwegian Cancer Society, Oslo Norway and MEP Alojz Peterle, EPP, Slovenia. Due to a strike at the airport in Berlin, Dr Matthes was unable to attend and his contribution was presented by Dr Madeleen Winkler, Vice-President of the International Association of Anthroposophic Doctors.“

“Dr. Matthese concluded that patients are best served by a combination of conventional medicine and CAM, that evidence of the effectiveness of CAM in the treatment of patients with cancer is growing but that there is pressing need for further research in this important area.”

“Prof Dobos in his presentation gave an introduction to the model of integrative oncology, its aims and methodology. He presented a range of scientific studies demonstrating the effectiveness of several individual CAM modalities on the side effects of chemotherapy, on anxiety, fatigue, depression, on the motivation for lifestyle change, on the quality of life and on the survival of cancer patients.”

“The joint CAM-MAC meeting concluded with an agreement that modern oncology needs to increasingly adopt an integrated approach that uses the best of both approaches, used together in an individualised manner for each patient.

About 40 guests attended the CAM-MAC meeting, including MEPs and delegates from the Commission and other European institutions, as well as health professional and Non-Governmental Organizations.”

Presentations and documents available for downloading: