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Information and Training Needs of Pediatric Oncologists in Complementary and Integrative Medicine

A Cross-Sectional Study

Reis, Daniela MSc*,†; Güthlin, Corina PhD; Schildmann, Jan MA§; Zuzak, Tycho J. MD*,∥; Hilje, Clara C. BSc*,†; Längler, Alfred MD*,†

Journal of Pediatric Hematology/Oncology: October 2019 - Volume 41 - Issue 7 - p 551–556
doi: 10.1097/MPH.0000000000001578
Medical Progress

More than one third of all German pediatric patients with cancer use complementary and integrative medicine (CIM). Parents want to discuss the topic of CIM with their pediatric oncologists (POs); however, POs mostly do not feel confident discussing these topics. POs report openness to receiving further information and training, but CIM training opportunities in medical education seem rare. We investigated POs’ information and training needs and preference patterns regarding CIM training content with a paper-based or online survey. A total of 101 POs from Germany completed the survey. Only 11.4% agreed to being sufficiently informed of CIM. The participants stated needing further CIM information very often (8.6%), often (38.7%), or occasionally (44.1%). They considered an overview of CIM therapies and information about relaxation methods, herbal remedies, and acupuncture for cancer-related symptoms such as lack of appetite, nausea, or vomiting as most important in CIM training material, and also the topics of adverse effects and summary of evidence. Finally, POs reported on clinical situations in which a need for further information on CIM emerged. The results of our study indicate that there is a need for a structured training that offers knowledge and skills on the subject of patient counseling on CIM in pediatric oncology.

*Department of Pediatrics, Gemeinschaftskrankenhaus Herdecke, Herdecke

Institute for Integrative Medicine, Witten/Herdecke University, Witten

Institute of General Practice, Johann Wolfgang Goethe University, Frankfurt/Main

§Faculty of Medicine, Institute for Medical History and Ethics, Martin-Luther-University Halle-Wittenberg, Halle (Saale)

Department of Pediatric Oncology and Hematology, University Hospital Essen, Essen, Germany

Previously published: Information needs of pediatric oncologists in Complementary and Integrative Medicine (CIM)—A cross-sectional study establishing a blended learning program focusing on CIM, for a Research Abstract Workshop at the 2018 International Congress on Integrative Medicine and Health in Baltimore, MD, on May 8–11.

This study is part of a larger research network called KOKON. This study was supported by the Software AG-Stiftung.

The authors declare no conflict of interest.

Reprints: Alfred Längler, MD, Department of Pediatrics, Gemeinschaftskrankenhaus Herdecke, Gerhard-Kienle-Weg 4, Herdecke 58313, Germany (e-mail:

Received April 8, 2019

Accepted July 10, 2019

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