gms | German Medical Science

27th German Cancer Congress Berlin 2006

German Cancer Society (Frankfurt/M.)

22. - 26.03.2006, Berlin

Evidenz basierte Komplementärmedizin: Einführung

Meeting Abstract

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  • corresponding author presenting/speaker Gerd Nagel - Stiftung Patientenkompetenz Zürich, Männedorf, Schweiz

27. Deutscher Krebskongress. Berlin, 22.-26.03.2006. Düsseldorf, Köln: German Medical Science; 2006. DocIS078

The electronic version of this article is the complete one and can be found online at:

Published: March 20, 2006

© 2006 Nagel.
This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License ( You are free: to Share – to copy, distribute and transmit the work, provided the original author and source are credited.



In the past complementary medicine ( CM ) has been distinctly separated from ( if not disqualified by ) scientific medicine for two reasons. First, there was not enough evidence of efficacy of the therapeutic principles in CM. Second, therapeutic goals of CM are different from those in tumor medicine. The latter aims at treating the disease and symptoms, whereas CM is meant to support the self-healing of the diseased.

In the past years, however, in scientific medicine there has been a change of attitude towards CM. The reasons are that for a number of drugs and therapeutic principles of CM, proof of efficacy has been shown. Furthermore, in today’s medicine patients’ demands, needs and attitudes are better acknowledged than in the past. Consequently, the therapeutic approach of CM has gained wider attention.

With this change of attitude of orthodox medicine towards CM there appears a new definition of at least parts of CM. This definition has to do with the true meaning of complementarity, in other words, for certain facts, situations or phenomena it is not possible to give just one homogeneous definition or explanation. One example is light, which is both a corpuscle and a wave.

Translated into medical terms, in order to describe what is called the cancerous disease, we have to consider two realities which are complementary to each other, the one of the physician and the other of the patient.

Goals of CM are largely defined and justified out of the complementary reality of the patient.

To establish evidence-based complementary medicine ( EbC ) as a part of EbM we are faced with a methodological challenge. Since various therapeutic goals of CM are defined on subjective grounds by the patient, they are difficult to evaluate objectively. Such a goal falls within the realm of patient competence, and cannot be testet within the context of controlled randomized trials. At the symposium we will discuss possible methodological solutions.