“In oncology, the relationship of trust is essential”

Integrative oncology. This concept may not be familiar to you yet, but it is gaining in importance in Switzerland. The idea? Combine conventional medicine with complementary treatments, such as meditation, clinical hypnosis, acupuncture, or art therapy… This in order to offer a global therapeutic approach to patients that is centered on all of their person and their care plan, not only on the disease and biomedical indicators.

The Vaudois University Hospital Center (CHUV), in Lausanne, will precisely host this November 17 the second edition of the Integrative Oncology Symposium, the second part of which, open to all, will be devoted to the therapeutic relationship, a key ingredient in integrative oncology. Three questions for Marie-Estelle Gaignard, oncologist at the University Hospitals of Geneva and co-organizer of the event.

Le Temps: What is the benefit of integrative medicine in the management of cancer?

Marie-Estelle Gaignard: Although this is also a wish of conventional medicine, integrative medicine gives even more importance to the central and active place of the patient in his care. To do this, an integrative medicine consultation generally takes more time and focuses on the person affected by the disease as a whole by exploring with them their complaints, needs and desires as well as their representations of the disease. The advantage of an integrative oncology is of course also this multi- and interdisciplinary approach which creates a supportive and reassuring network for the patient.

How are the approaches used chosen?

Whether for body-mind approaches, related to physical activity, nutrition and other natural products, or even intended to improve the hygiene of life, the goal of integrative oncology is to adopt a scientific approach , based on the evidence on the matter. The objective of these approaches is to be a complement to conventional medicine in order to improve the quality of life and the well-being of patients, but also, possibly, their clinical evolution over the longer term.

How can integrative medicine strengthen the therapeutic alliance between caregivers and patients?

The therapeutic relationship is based today on a paradigm of partnership, where each actor involved exchanges at the same level. As doctors and caregivers, we are there to inform and guide our patients, but the latter take an active part in their health. The goal is to create a relationship of trust, a therapeutic alliance essential to the smooth running of the patient’s care pathway. This is particularly important in oncology, where the disease course can be long, with ups and downs. This vision of partnership between caregivers and patients is central in integrative medicine and is reflected in discussions with patients, in the choice of complementary approaches as well as at the level of this network of care that is created around it.

Integrative Oncology Symposium. Professional part, but open to all, between 1 p.m. and 4 p.m. Then public round table from 4:45 p.m. to 6 p.m. CHUV, César Roux audience.

Information: www.hug.ch/evenement/oncologie-integrative-2022

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“In oncology, the relationship of trust is essential”

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