Archives of Gynecology and Obstetrics

, Volume 298, Issue 1, pp 147–156 | Cite as

Breast cancer patients’ satisfaction with individual therapy goals and treatment in a standardized integrative medicine consultancy service

  • Carolin C. Hack
  • Sophia Antoniadis
  • Janina Hackl
  • Hanna Langemann
  • Judith Schwitulla
  • Peter A. Fasching
  • Matthias W. Beckmann
  • Anna-Katharin Theuser
Gynecologic Oncology



Complementary medicine services are nowadays usually quite heterogeneous, and little information is available on standards for running an integrative medicine consultancy service. This study aimed to assess patients’ satisfaction with a standardized treatment service on integrative medicine.


Using a cross-sectional design, 75 breast cancer patients from the integrative medicine consultancy service at the University Breast Center for Franconia were evaluated between January 2016 and March 2017. At primary consultation, patients answered a standardized questionnaire on their medical history and treatment goals regarding integrative medicine. In a subsequent interview, patients evaluated their satisfaction with the treatment service and individual treatment goals.


72% of the patients (n = 54) reported high satisfaction with the overall approach of the treatment service. 76% of the patients (n = 57) were very satisfied or satisfied with their individual treatment plans. The most frequently reported goals were to slow tumor progression (n = 64, 85.3%), reducing the side effects of conventional cancer treatments (n = 60, 80%), and a desire to participate actively in the treatment of breast cancer (n = 64, 85.3%).


Using a standardized procedure in integrative medicine allows a high quality level to be offered to patients. Overall, breast cancer patients report very high satisfaction with the integrative medicine consultancy service and state long-term treatment goals. Hence, long-term treatment with integrative medicine methods should be taken into consideration.


Breast cancer Oncology Integrative medicine Complementary and alternative medicine Consultancy service Consultation 



Complementary and alternative medicine


Integrative medicine


Traditional Chinese medicine



We would like to express our thanks to all of the patients and staff who participated in the study. The contribution of A.K. Theuser to this publication was made in partial fulfillment of the requirements for obtaining the doctoral degree “Dr. rer. biol. hum.”. Parts of the research published here have been used for her doctoral thesis in the Medical Faculty of Friedrich Alexander University of Erlangen-Nuremberg (FAU).

Author contributions

CCH, TAK and MWB contributed to the conception of the current analysis, and all authors were involved in the design and acquisition of data from the study. TAK and JS performed the statistical analysis. CCH, TAK, and PAF contributed to the analysis and the interpretation of the data. CCH and TAK drafted the manuscript, and all authors revised the final draft critically for important critical content. All authors have given final approval of the version to be published.


There was no funding for the study.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

PAF is a consultant with Amgen, Pfizer, Roche and Novartis. This is not related to any of the topics presented in this article. All other authors hereby declare that there are no conflicts of interest.

Ethical approval

All procedures performed in the survey involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of institutional and national research committee. This article does not contain any studies with animals performed by any of the authors.

Informed consent

Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the survey.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Gynecology and Obstetrics, Comprehensive Cancer Center Erlangen-European Metropolitan Area Nuremberg (CCC ER-EMN), Erlangen University HospitalFriedrich Alexander University of Erlangen-NurembergErlangenGermany

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