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Forsch Komplementmed. 2013;20(2):120-8. doi: 10.1159/000350049. Epub 2013 Apr 18.

Analysis of the contents of German magazines for tumor patients.

Author information

  • 1University Cancer Center (UCT), Johann Wolfgang Goethe University, Frankfurt/M., Germany. huebner@med.uni-frankfurt.de



Cancer patients have high information needs. Besides direct discussion with the physician, media provide important access to information. In the age of the internet, print media are still being used by many patients. In Germany, several magazines for cancer patients are distributed at no cost to cancer institutions for display. The aim of our study was to assess the content of these magazines.


In a first step, a search of the literature concerning patient information needs and evaluation of patient information was done. This search revealed important criteria for evaluation. 2 instruments are recognized internationally as appropriate in evaluating and certifying patient information: HONcode and DISCERN. As we did not find an instrument for the evaluation of patient magazines, we combined the central items from both instruments. With this new instrument, we assessed the 2010 issues of all 5 magazines .


The Krebsmagazin offers a vast range of different topics in cancer and thus aims at general patient education, irrespective of the level of knowledge. Befund Krebs offers a wider variety of topics in each issue. Understanding the articles requires basic knowledge. The same applies to Leben? Leben! which specifically addresses the topic of breast cancer. All 3 journals provide information in line with evidence-based medicine. K Journal - Mensch & Krebs provides information on conventional as well as alternative treatments, the latter not being evidence-based. Several issues contained both advertisements and articles by providers of alternative therapies. Signal only deals with alternative medicine in cancer care and does not provide scientifically proven data.


As our analysis shows, content and evidence vary greatly in the magazines currently distributed in Germany. Physicians should familiarize themselves with the characteristics of the different journals before recommending them.

Copyright © 2013 S. Karger AG, Basel.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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