Due to the coronavirus pandemic, people with an acute or previous oncological disease have numerous questions. Because they are generally considered a high-risk group, these patients often want to know whether and how SARS-CoV-2 will impact their cancer therapy or medications.
Qualified physicians, both researchers and practitioners, share information and advice based on their experience and as neutral medical experts.
As a company for integrative medicine, Helixor Heilmittel GmbH is a partner to patients, medical practitioners, family members and their needs. We want to provide answers regarding COVID-19 and cancer diseases, and possibilities for the use of supportive therapies such as mistletoe therapy.
Dr. Frank: Is it advisable for cancer patients to start mistletoe therapy even in times of COVID-19?
Dr. Frank: What is the COVID-19 situation for at-risk patients?
Dr. Frank: Is it recommended to use naturopathic remedies during the COVID-19 pandemic?
Dr. Hiller: How long are oncological patients considered ‘risk patients’ for COVID?
Dr. Hiller: What measures are suitable to strengthen the immune system?
Dr. Hiller: Does the pandemic affect medical patient care?
Dr. Frank: How can medical practices extend their safety standards?
Dr. Hiller: How can clinics extend their safety standards during corona?
Soon you will find further answers from our experts here.
Dr. med. Matthias Frank
General practitioner, own practice in Karlsruhe, Germany.
Additional qualifications: acupuncture, naturopathy, rehabilitation.
Dr. Frank has authored several medical textbooks and is a sought-after speaker in nationwide seminars and professional development events, providing not only physicians but also practice teams with valuable and actionable input, inspiration and motivation for their daily work.
In his books and articles, Matthias Frank engages with issues in naturopathy, Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) and acupuncture, as well as salient topics that have defined his career as a physician. In his own medical practice, Dr. Frank combines scientific medicine with established methods such as naturopathy, Chinese medicine, acupuncture and homeopathy to offer modern, comprehensive, holistic and individual medicine to his patients.
His latest book outlines suitable supportive therapies to activate the body’s natural capacity for self-healing.
Dr. med. Stefan Hiller
Head physician at the Center for Integrative Oncology, Filderklinik near to Stuttgart, Germany
Specialist for internal medicine, hematology/oncology
Additional qualification: Palliative medicine
After his medical studies in Göttingen and Würzburg, Dr. Stefan Hiller worked in his first position from 1988 to 1990 as an assistant physician in the Department of Internal Medicine at the Filderklinik. There he experienced his first contact with Anthroposophic Medicine, which accompanied him throughout his further career. Dr. Hiller spent several years as senior physician in the Department of Hematology/Oncology at Katharinenhospital, part of Klinikum Stuttgart, where he headed the day clinic and outpatient therapy unit. Part of his responsibilities included the supervision and development of clinical trials. Within the OSP Stuttgart and now OSP Esslingen, two regional networks established with the goal of improving the situation of cancer patients, he regularly contributes to the development of guidelines.
Since 2011, he has been the head physician of the Center for Integrative Oncology at the Filderklinik (Filderstadt).
Your mistletoe therapy during the COVID-19 pandemic:
About Dr. Michael Schink
Dr. rer. nat. Michael Schink, biologist including a focus on immunobiology, has decades of experience working with mistletoe therapy. Within the Medical Science Department at Helixor Heilmittel GmbH, he is responsible for all questions related to research and scientific issues of the company’s established medicinal products.
Can I continue to receive mistletoe therapy during the COVID-19 pandemic?
Yes. Especially now, cancer patients need to focus on boosting their overall well-being and strengthening their immune system. Mistletoe therapy supports both goals. I would absolutely recommend that patients either start mistletoe therapy or continue to receive a course of treatment at this time.
Background: Cancer patients often have a weak or suppressed immune system. Given this fact, clinical studies have shown that mistletoe therapy not only significantly improves the quality of life of cancer patients and tolerability of conventional cancer therapies (1), but also leads to increased activity of natural killer cells (2, 3). The natural killer cells in our immune system are capable of detecting and destroying cancer cells or cells that have been invaded by pathogens.
Will mistletoe therapy help prevent infection with COVID-19?
No, it not suitable as a form of prevention. We cannot assume that mistletoe therapy provides general protection against a COVID-19 infection in otherwise healthy individuals.
Background: Mistletoe therapy is indicated to stabilize the immune system in cancer patients. As a form of off-label use, some non-cancer patients who suffer from a weakened immune system also use mistletoe therapy (4). The objective in such cases is to treat an immunodeficiency and not to strengthen a normal immune system. In other words, mistletoe therapy does not stimulate the immune system but does help to balance existing deficiencies (5).
Should I discontinue mistletoe therapy at the first sign of a cold?
No, as long as there are no symptoms of an infection, mistletoe therapy may be continued.
Background: However, as soon as acute inflammatory symptoms of a COVID-19 illness occur (e.g. fever, sore throat, cough, respiratory symptoms), contact your responsible health care provider immediately. He or she will decide whether to discontinue or proceed with therapy. Once inflammatory symptoms have fully subsided, mistletoe therapy can be resumed. Always stay in close (telephone) contact with your physician!
About Dr. Xenia Wagner
Dr. med. Xenia Wagner specializes in general medicine and is familiar with mistletoe therapy through experience in her own practice. Dr. Wagner is also a member of the Medical Advisory team at Helixor Heilmittel GmbH, providing practical advice to physicians, patients and family members.
Do I need to visit a doctor to start mistletoe therapy?
Yes, your physician will choose which type of mistletoe is best for your needs. During the first visit, you will also learn everything you need to know to safely and easily continue treatment at home.
Background: To find the optimal therapy approach for your needs, your physician will base his or her decision on an initial personal examination and closely monitor the first injections. This make an in-person visit necessary. General practitioners are prepared to meet the special safety needs of high-risk patients in their practice. Talk to your health care provider about how he or she can address your specific needs!
Can mistletoe therapy also help alleviate psychological stress?
Yes, alongside physical symptoms, it often contributes to increased emotional well-being.
Background: Mistletoe therapy improves the general condition of patients, especially symptoms such as fatigue or exhaustion, and helps with sleep, temperature, appetite and digestive disorders. Clinical studies on improving the quality of life of cancer patients receiving mistletoe therapy showed that many respondents mentioned a decrease in anxiety, an improvement in depressive moods, a more active lifestyle and a better ability to concentrate (1, 6).
The experts in our Medical Advisory Service look forward to answering your questions about mistletoe therapy.
- Kienle GS, Kiene H. Influence of Viscum album L (European Mistletoe) extracts on quality of life in cancer patients: A systematic review of controlled clinical studies. Integrative Cancer Therapies 2010;9:142-57.
- Berg PA, Stein GM. Beeinflusst die Misteltherapie die Abwehr epithelialer Tumoren? Eine kritische immunologische Analyse. Deutsche Medizinische Wochenschrift 2001;126:339-45.
- Schink M. Mistletoe therapy for human cancer: the role of the natural killer cells. Anti-Cancer Drugs 1997;8(Suppl.1):S47-S51.
- Viscum album (non-oncological), in: Vademecum of Anthroposophic Medicines, 4th edition 2017, 742-52.
- Kienle GS, Grugel R, Kiene H. BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine 2011;11:2-55.
- Liedtke S. Wie Patienten durch Misteltherapie gewinnen. Ärztezeitschrift für Naturheilverfahren 43, 12 (2002).