Abstract ID: 1094

Primary Topic: Curriculum design and development
Secondary Topic: Teaching, learning, and assessment

Developing concepts for information, communication, counseling and training of health professionals that are involved in the care of cancer patients.
Alfred Laengler, Doctor, University Witten/Heredecke, Herdecke, Germany; Claudia M. Witt, Professor, University Hospital Zurich and University of Zurich, Zurich, Switzerland; Corina Guethlin, PhD, Johann Wolfgang Goethe University, Frankfurt a.M., Germany; Stefanie Joos, Professor, University of Tübingen, Tuebingen, Germany; Markus Horneber, Doctor, Paracelsus Medical University Klinikum Nuernberg, Nuernberg, Germany; Jan Schildmann, Professor, Wilhelm Löhe University of Applied Science, Fuerth, Germany

Late Breaker: No


Communication of health professionals about "Complementary and Alternative Medicine" (CAM) in oncology, pediatric oncology and primary care is important. The German Cancer Aid is funding the "Competence Network Complementary Medicine in Oncology" (KOKON)" that consists of 20 academic institutions and works on 9 research projects. The overall goal is developing concepts for information, communication, counseling and training of health professionals that are involved in the care of cancer patients. Prospectively these concepts and offers should improve care for patients and their relatives and support physicians in their daily work. For this purpose, one focus is the systematic development and evaluation of training concepts for physicians. This symposium will present and discuss structure and content of the different training programs and share first results and lessons learned.


More than half of the cancer patients use complementary and integrative medicine. Many of them would like to get information about this topic from their treating physicians. However, oncologists and primary care physicians don`t feel particularly confident when discussing CAM-related topics. There is a a demand for feasible, high quality trainings for health professionals to develop knowledge, and skills to inform their patients about CAM. KOKON develops and evaluates three blended-learning (e-learning and on-site workshop) training programs for physicians.


The symposium will provide an overview about the content and structure of the three newly developed training programs for physicians (1. medical oncologist and gynecological surgeons, 2. general practitioners, 3. pediatric oncologist) and the rationale for the methodological steps taken during the development. First results and leasons learned will be shared. Furthermore, the overall aims and impact of the competence network complementary medicine in oncology will be presented and discussed.

Methods/Session Format

As didactical methods we will combine presentations with featured discussions.

Workshop duration: 90 min


Introduction/Aims oft he workshop

A. Längler; C. M. Witt (5 min)

Overview KOKON-network

M. Horneber  (10 min)

The multidisciplinary Competence Network 'Complementary Medicine in Oncology – KOKON' aims to improve standards for evidence-based information, communication and training through systematic research and collaborative partnership of 20 universities and academic institutions of all areas of cancer care.

CAM training for general practitioners

C. Guethlin, S. Joos (10 min)

Based on a questionnaire addressing training needs we set up a blended learning training to enable GPs to talk about CAM with their cancer patients.

The training consists of 1) e-learning modules addressing definitions, concepts of a variety of CAM options, and research results of the most prominent CAM therapies in general practice. 2) a very practical workshop helping GPs to talk about CAM options will be another part of the blended learning training. The training will be evaluated by means of a randomized pilot study.

CAM training for medical oncologist and gynaecological surgeons

C.M. Witt (10 min)

A blended-learning training (9x45 min e-learning plus two days onsite workshop) for medical oncologist and gynaecological surgeons to inform their patients about CAM has been developed and is under evaluation in a cluster-randomised trial. A total of 40 physicians will inform 400 patients (10 each), effectiveness evaluation will take place in three settings (after the e-learning, during the workshop and after physicians interacted with their patients). We will share first results and lessons learned.

CAM training for pediatric oncologists

A. Längler (10 min)

In close cooperation with the projects “general practitioners“ and “medical oncologist and gynaecological surgeons” , this module develops specific e-learning materials for the target group of “pediatric oncologists”. Results of an expert survey as well as literature search are the basis for the e-learning materials. The contents of the e-learning are based upon individual frequently used or demanded treatment methods as well as on symptom-oriented treatment strategies of integrative medicine in pediatric oncology. In addition, a practice workshop with actor patients will be developed in which pediatric oncologists deal with special decision-making and counseling situations.


Decision making about complementary and integrative medicine. An empirical-ethical analysis and guidance for consultation with cancer patients

J. Schildmann (10 min)

Requests about complementary and integrative medicine (CAM) form a frequent and at the same time challenging part of consultations with patients with cancer. In this paper we provide an findings from an interdisciplinary analysis of experts in clinical medicine, medical ethics and psychology on challenges regarding CAM in oncology, general practice and pediatric oncology. Based on content analysis of qualitative research (i.e. documentation and interviews with physicians and patients) in combination with normative analysis we present perceived needs regarding CAM knowledge and skills and provide guidance and underlying rationales for professional strategies to deal with CAM associated challenges within the patient-physician encounter.