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European Coalition on Homeopathic & Anthroposophic Medicinal Products


Parliamentary Question: Integrative oncology in cancer treatment

Jun 22, 2022

Manuela RIPA, MEP
The European Commission has published its reply to a question from Manuela Ripa MEP (Green–ALE) on the topic of integrative oncology in cancer treatment.

The MEP describes integrative oncology as a therapeutic solution that aims to improve the care of cancer patients and survivors by combining conventional treatments with the best complementary therapies in coordinated and personalised treatment plans. Although around 40% of cancer patients use complementary therapies alongside conventional medicine, Europe’s Beating Cancer Plan does not take account of this approach. The report published by Parliament’s Special Committee on Beating Cancer (BECA) makes reference to integrative oncology, stressing that scientifically accepted holistic therapies approved by health authorities can help patients with the parallel effects of their treatments. Particular attention is drawn to the importance of developing a holistic, integrative and patient-centred approach and encouraging, where appropriate, the complementary use of these therapies.

She asks, firstly, whether the Commission will allocate funding to research on integrative oncology so that some of these therapies can be officially recognised as effective and secondly, what steps will be taken to harmonise Member States’ approaches to complementary therapies at EU level, particularly in the field of cancer, so that patients will no longer only have access to certain therapies in some Member States but not in others.

In the answer from Health Commissioner Ms Kyriakides, the Commission confirms that it has no plans for targeted Research & Innovation calls for proposals on integrative oncology. However Horizon Europe offers funding opportunities to address integrative oncology in broader calls targeting health, cancer control and oncology. Nor does it have plans to harmonise cancer treatment approaches across the EU, including those related to integrative medicine, as the responsibility to treat patients, including cancer patients, falls under the competence of Member States. However, it explains that Europe’s Beating Cancer Plan will help Member States and stakeholders, through a holistic and patient-centred approach based on scientific evidence, to access innovative approaches to cancer prevention and care, including cancer treatment.

ECHAMP hopes that the funding opportunities identified by the Commission stimulate research into the role and contribution of integrative medicine and a better understanding of the potential of our sector in this field.