Frequent asked questions and answers

Here you will find a summary of the most important questions and answers on mistletoe therapy for cancer. Click on the grey fields below to view the individual questions. Please note that some questions are still controversial. The answers are based on the clinical and practical experience of physicians experienced in mistletoe therapy. If your doctor's recommendation differs from the statements made here, you should talk to him about it.

There are four major issues at stake: 

  1. Onset and course of therapy
  2. Side effects
  3. Injections

 

Last update: June 7th, 2020

Onset and course of therapy

When should mistletoe therapy begin?
Mistletoe therapy can begin early in tumour treatment, even immediately after the diagnosis, or before surgery, if this is planned. Since mistletoe therapy can stimulate the immune system and thus promote resistance, the body will be well prepared for the stress that surgery causes to the organism. But a later start is also possible.

Can mistletoe therapy also be performed during chemotherapy and radiotherapy?
Yes, because mistletoe therapy can reduce the adverse effects of chemotherapy, antibody therapy and radiotherapy. However, it is essential to ensure that the injection is given outside the radiation field, otherwise the skin can become highly inflamed.

Does mistletoe interfere with the effects of other drugs?
No, so far there are no known negative interactions with other drugs. The studies available so far show that mistletoe therapy can be well combined with all conventional treatment methods. It can also reduce some of their undesirable effects. 

How long does the treatment take?
Mistletoe therapy is often a long-term therapy but needs to be accompanied by a health professional. How long the therapy lasts in individual cases depends on how the disease develops and how the organism reacts to the therapy.

Do blood levels need to be measured? 
In most cases the blood levels are determined once at the beginning of mistletoe therapy and monitored repeatedly at longer intervals during the course of the treatment. However, such laboratory controls are not absolutely necessary. Each doctor decides which examinations are necessary in the individual case on the basis of the disease situation.

Does mistletoe therapy influence tumour markers?
The tumour markers change depending on the course of the disease. If the general condition improves or the tumour size reduces as a result of mistletoe therapy, the tumour markers may also decrease again.

Is mistletoe therapy useful if metastases are already present? 
Yes, it can improve quality of life and strengthen the immune system. Appetite often returns, weight loss can subside, sleep improves and vital spirits revive. 

Can mistletoe therapy relieve pain?
Mistletoe therapy may reduce the need for analgesics. Pain intensity depends on the tumour growth, your general condition and physical strength. As your condition improves and energy returns, yours pain also decreases.

Which mistletoe preparation is the appropriate one​​​​​​​? 
There is no "right" or "wrong" mistletoe preparation. The most important aspects in the selection of the type of mistletoe extract are the type and stage of the tumour, the individual symptoms and situation of the patient, the experience of the doctor, and above all the question of what is to be achieved with the mistletoe therapy. Considering these factors, the doctor needs to find the most suitable preparation. People who are sensitive to drugs may initially be given a rather low-dose mistletoe preparation – some manufacturers offer special preparation series with particularly low initial concentrations for this purpose.

Who can prescribe mistletoe preparations​​​​​​​? 
Every doctor, and in Germany, non-medical practitioners, can prescribe mistletoe preparations.

Where can I find a doctor who is experienced in mistletoe therapy? 
You will find a search function for a doctor experienced in mistletoe therapy near you on the website of the Society of Anthropological Doctors in Germany. The citizens' and patients' association GESUNDHEIT AKTIV has also set up a doctors' hotline where you can ask for a mistletoe specialist: phone +49-1803-30 50 55 (Monday to Friday 9-12 a.m., Monday to Thursday 2-4 p.m; 9 cents/minute from a German landline, mobile maximum 42 cents/minute).

 

Last update: June 7th, 2020/AB

Side effects

Is the reddening of the skin an allergy? 
No, the redness at the injection site is a sign that the immune system is reacting to the mistletoe. 

The red spot itches – is that an indication of an allergic reaction?​​​​​​​ 
No, this is not an indication of an allergy either. The itching can occur when the mild local inflammation caused by the mistletoe extract subsides. 

Can mistletoe stimulate tumour proliferation? 
Neither laboratory experiments nor more than 150 clinical studies have found evidence that mistletoe therapy could stimulate tumour proliferation. 

Injections

Should mistletoe preparations always be injected? 
Mistletoe therapy is approved for subcutaneous application. In the form of an oral application, the protein-containing mistletoe extracts would be "digested" in the stomach and made ineffective.  

Do the injections hurt? 
No, the injection can only be felt as a small prick. It may be as well slightly painful if injection has been given intracutaneously or when a nerve end has been striked by mistake, being however harmless. The needle used for injection is extremely fine and thin. You can look for a place to inject where your body is as insensitive as possible (abdomen, thighs). At the beginning it is best to have a professional instruct you on the injection - there are a few tricks and tips on how to inject painlessly.

Knobs form at the injection site. Why? 
Probably the needle was inserted too deeply and the mistletoe extract was deposited in the subcutaneous fatty tissue instead of under the epidermis. Then the fluid does not spread properly and solid, sometimes painful nodules form. They disappear within several days; it can rarely take several weeks until the knob has completely disappeared again.

At what time should injection take place? 
If it is important to stimulate the activity of the organism, it is useful to perform the injection during the rising of the body temperature, i.e. in the morning (between 7 and 9 a.m.). If the warming aspect of mistletoe is to be preferred, it is advisable to inject it at the time of maximum body temperature, i.e. in the evening (between 5 and 6 p.m.). In principle a change of both methods is possible.

If the next injection is due but the redness has not yet subsided, what can be done? 
Normally you do not inject into the same place again. Nevertheless, you should wait with the next injection until the redness of the previous injection has completely subsided, because otherwise the redness that still exists could intensify to such an extent that a strong and painful inflammatory reaction develops. A redness that does not disappear within two days is often greater than five centimetres, indicating that the dose of mistletoe extract is too high or that the injection was wrong.

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