Mistletoe Therapy: A method to improve cancer patients' quality of life
Mistletoe Therapy is the key treatment in the field of integrative oncology for cancer patients. Its main indication is improving the quality of life for cancer patients.
The quality of life covers many aspects such as general well being, emotional, physical and social functioning plus coping of disease symptoms and side effects of conventional treatments.
The goal of the medicinal concept ‘’integrative oncology’’ is to draw an individually optimized therapy for patients to combine both conventional therapies with selected complementary therapies. Mistletoe Therapy is one of the most common therapies in the field of integrative oncology for cancer patients in German-speaking countries.
The benefits of Mistletoe Therapy for cancer patients are:
- Reduction of cancer related fatigue
- Improvement of the tolerability of conventional treatments
- Improvement of the quality of life for cancer patients (such as pain, vomiting and sleep disorder)
- Increase of the patient’s compliance through reduced side effects of conventional cancer therapies (chemotherapy or radiotherapy)
Three different types of products are used in Mistletoe Therapy (Viscum album):
- Helixor® A from mistletoes, which grow on fir trees (Viscum album subspecies abietis)
- Helixor® M from,mistletoes which grow on deciduous trees, e.g. apple trees (Viscum album subspecies album )
- Helixor® P from mistletoes, which grow on pine trees (Viscum album subspecies austriacum )
The pharmacological effects of whole plant extracts from mistletoe or bioactive substances isolated from them important for cancer therapy are:
- Immunomodulation (anti-tumor & anti-infectious effects)
- Cytotoxic effects on tumor cells (anti-tumor effect)
- Inhibition of angiogenesis (anti-tumor effect)
- DNA stabilization (Helixor® A)
Especially for patients undergoing conventional treatments such as chemotherapy and radiotherapy, numerous studies demonstrated the importance of Mistletoe Therapy for improvement of quality of life, immune function and tolerability.