gms | German Medical Science

27th German Cancer Congress Berlin 2006

German Cancer Society (Frankfurt/M.)

22. - 26.03.2006, Berlin

Breast cancer – Do seminaries promote patient-authority?

Meeting Abstract

  • corresponding author presenting/speaker Elmar Reuter - Praxis für Psychotherapie, Olpe, Deutschland
  • Jürgen Schwickerath - St. Martinus Hospital – Frauenklinik, Olpe
  • Barbara Rehse - Praxis für Psychotherapie, Olpe
  • Birgit Schneider - Praxis für Psychotherapie, Olpe

27. Deutscher Krebskongress. Berlin, 22.-26.03.2006. Düsseldorf, Köln: German Medical Science; 2006. DocPE589

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

Published: March 20, 2006

© 2006 Reuter et al.
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.



The term patient-authority derives from the language used among patients and not yet been introduced in the scientific terminology. Research among the literature shows that, both operationalisation and preliminary studies on the effects are missing. We define patient-authority as follows: The belief that patients strongly wish, and are able, to participate equitably and self dependently in the treatment of their disease, is brought to expression through the term patient-authority. The development of expertise, knowledge and competence regarding the disease and the recovery from it is absolutely necessary, as well as the courage and self-esteem to be able to communicate on the same level with the attending doctors. This sets as a prerequisite that personal feelings, thoughts, fears and hopes are being realised within oneself and are being actively used towards coping with the disease and its treatment. Patient-authority describes a goal; on the way to achieve it, support from others and, most importantly, self-encouragement, seem essential. Patient-authority can be acquired. On the grounds of this term definition we developed an accordant questionnaire. This questionnaire has been answered by 44 women since 2004 in the context of patient seminaries specifically on breast cancer. The patient seminaries consist of 6 moderated events of three hour duration each in monthly intervals. To each event a specialist is being asked to give a short lecture and to be at the patients’ disposal for questions. Key points to these events are: Medicine, Psychology, natural/alternative medicine, body-oriented processes, sociology and social rights. Goal of the seminaries is the evolution of patient-authority, as reflected upon the following criteria: increase in knowledge, relation of the patient to the attending doctor, self-welfare and social support. The results show so far, by N=44 patients, that the patients themselves consider a patient-authority as described above is utmost meaningful. Moreover, a significant increase in knowledge regarding medical, psychological and natural / alternative medical comprehension can be registered. A statistically significant decrease in the dependence upon the attending doctor, as well as a substantial increase in self-welfare and an accretion of patient-authority, can also be derived from the to-date results. (Referral to the submitted abstract by Dr. Schwickerath: Operated - and then (not) left alone)