Physiotherapeutin mit Patientin an Laufband

Supporting services for cancer patients

The University Hospital Basel offers a wide range of cancer treatment services through the Cancer Center: Whether therapy, counseling, nursing, psycho-oncology or follow-up care – there are dedicated specialists in each area who are committed to supporting our patients. In addition to cancer therapy, we also have supporting services centrally in the Cancer Center. These services can help achieve very good long-term results and an additional increase in the quality of life. Family members can also benefit from these services.

An overview of self-help groups

Self-help groups are voluntary associations of people whose activities are aimed at the joint management of illnesses, mental or social problems they experience, either personally or as family members of those affected. Self-help means not only psychological and social support, but also an active exchange of information about the disease, treatment, accompanying symptoms and everyday life with the disease. In addition, those affected learn to take responsibility for themselves and to make therapeutic decisions intentionally on the basis of the necessary background knowledge. Feel free to speak to your doctor or nursing staff if you have any further questions about self-help groups. You can also contact the self-help officer, Dr. Astrid Beiglböck, Managing Director of the Cancer Center, at any time.

Self-Help Center Basel,
GIST Group and sarcomas,
Swiss Patient Organization for Lymphoma Patients and Family,
Cancer League of Basel,
Aurora Association, point of contact for widows with underage children,
Myeloma Patients Switzerland (MPS),
ilco Association (ileostomy, colostomy, urostomy),
Look Good Feel Better Foundation,
Europa Donna Switzerland,
Tavola Rosa Basel,
Swiss Network of Blood Stem Cell Transplant Patients (SNBST), 
Gyn Cancers Self-Help Group: ElleHelp,
Swiss Sarcoma,
Selbsthilfevereinigung für Lippen-Gaumen-Fehlbildungen e.V. (Cleft Lip and Palate Self-Help Association) Germany,
Swiss Association for Parents of Children with Cleft Lip and Palate,


Studies have shown that cancer patients benefit from increased exercise.


Exercise is good

  • During or after completion of the curative treatment, for example, in breast cancer, colon cancer, lymphoma or other cancers
  • In the case of therapy-related fatigue
  • Under hormone therapies
  • During steroid therapies


The program
The program consists of 24 lessons of 45 minutes each. The first training session is individual in order to be able to respond to your needs and to do a personal assessment/consultation. The other lessons include group endurance and strength training, mobility support and relaxation techniques.


Who is this training for?

  • This training is for all cancer patients.
  • Group training is also suitable for people who were not previously physically active.
  • A preliminary cardiac assessment is recommended for people with known circulatory diseases and/or risk factors such as obesity, high blood pressure, diabetes, heavy smoking, and people over the age of 60.



All lessons are held in the physiotherapy facilities.
University Hospital Basel Physiotherapy, Spitalstrasse 21, Clinic 1, 1st underground floor


Mondays from 10 a.m. to 11 a.m. and Thursdays from 2:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m.


Doctor’s order
The exercise program is prescribed by the treating doctor as physiotherapy. You can hand in the order in person at our registration office or send it to us by e-mail or mail.


We will forward the order to your health insurer for coverage approval. We will contact you as soon as we have received the approval from your insurance, so you can start the training.



Yolanda Sanchez


Physiotherapie Medizin


Prof. Dr. Viviane Hess

Leitende Ärztin


Medizinische Zentren Bauchtumorzentrum

The tumor itself may lead to metabolic changes and the side effects of therapy may lead to premature satiety, nausea, digestive problems or loss of appetite. This results in unwanted weight loss and a feeling of weakness. In our nutrition counseling, patients and their families get support with difficulties related to eating.


In personal consultations, you will receive information on nutrition that is tailored to your individual eating habits and your medical situation.


There is no special «cancer diet» and no bans or restrictions on food. Adjustments in food selection, meal frequency and consistency can often alleviate discomfort, promote wound healing, stop weight loss and improve general well-being.


If you experience any food-related problems during your hospital stay, we will work with you, the patient catering service and your treating doctor to find solutions.


Following treatment, questions often arise about nutrition again. Through personal consultations, we respond to your needs and show you ways of reducing the risk of recurrence by eating healthy and tasty foods.



Your physician signs you up for nutrition counseling. If you would like an appointment, please feel free to contact the team of doctors and nursing staff, the case managers or contact us directly. Ask your attending physician or nurse at the Cancer Center. They will give you information and establish contact with the relevant nutrition therapist. We will visit you on the ward during your hospital stay.


Make an appointment for an outpatient consultation. If a doctor’s order is available, the consultation is covered by your basic health insurance.

The University Hospital Basel now offers support to families in which one parent has cancer. Would you like more information? You can find out more about this in our flyer or contact us at



Dr. Martina Bingisser

Psychologin M.Sc., Psychoonkologin

Gynäkologische Sozialmedizin und Psychosomatik


Dr. phil. Verena Ehrbar


Gynäkologische Sozialmedizin und Psychosomatik


Dr. phil. Corinne Urech

Leitende Psychologin

Gynäkologische Sozialmedizin und Psychosomatik

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Logo von Look good feel better

During cancer and the associated therapy, one’s appearance also changes: Hair loss, loss of eyebrows and eyelashes, and dryness and redness can affect self-confidence. «Look Good Feel Better» provides valuable skin care and specific make-up tips to help you conceal the visible traces of your therapy in the best possible way using simple techniques. Enjoy a few moments of well-being and lightness in one of our «Look Good Feel Better beauty workshops» at the University Hospital Basel.


Volunteer cosmetologist will guide you through the two-hour workshop with dedication and a great deal of empathy. This break will give you energy and zest for life and will put a smile on your face. This also offers you the opportunity to exchange experiences with other participants in a relaxed atmosphere.


You are cordially invited to take part in one of the upcoming beauty workshops. The courses take place with strict hygiene and safety precautions (see «LGFB» safety plan).


Virtual «Look Good Feel Better» workshops are offered as well. Interested parties can register free of charge via this link


The blog posts also offer valuable skin care and make-up tips that are helpful and easy to use. 

23 June 
15 September 
27 October 
24 November 


The workshops take place on Thursdays from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. Participation is free and places are limited.


Registration and information:
Regula Gschwind
+41 (0) 61 328 73 31


Course location:
University Hospital Basel, Clinic 1
Spitalstrasse 21, 4031 Basel
1st floor, «Hub»
room We look forward to seeing you!

The area of Medical Genetics at the Cancer Center addresses the causes, diagnostics and risk assessment of predispositions to cancer. It is generally assumed that 5 to 10% of all cancers originate from a powerful, genetic predisposition.


Genetic counseling

Within the framework of genetic counseling, possible genetic causes and the associated family risks are determined under the supervision of a specialist by means of a detailed survey of family and personal history, and additional calculations are made if necessary and discussed in detail with those seeking counseling. If a person has a clinical suspicion of a cancer predisposition, a genetic test, i.e. the molecular genetic analysis of a gene associated with the predisposition, can provide clarity.

  • DNA, obtained from a blood or saliva sample, is specifically investigated for «errors» (mutations) in one of the «base pairs» of the gene, which often contains thousands of base pairs.
  • If a mutation causing the disease can be identified, this confirms the clinical (suspected) diagnosis. At the same time, the type of mutation may also provide valuable information for the targeted planning of cancer screening.


Evidence of a disease-causing mutation in an affected person subsequently enables relatives (parents, siblings and children) to find out for themselves whether or not they inherited the predisposition. Depending on the underlying cancer predisposition, the probability of being a carrier is up to 50%. After appropriate genetic counseling, which addresses the advantages and disadvantages of early testing, especially in children, and a reasonable period of reflection, relatives can be tested for the mutation identified in the family.


The presymptomatic genetic test, which is usually confirmed on a second independent blood or saliva sample, provides a reliable and unambiguous result in the vast majority of cases: if the gene mutation is present, appropriate monitoring and early detection measures can be initiated in a targeted manner; if the gene mutation identified in the family cannot be detected, the genetic test highly reliably excludes the presence of a corresponding predisposition, making intensive preventive measures unnecessary.


Since hereditary cancers have been a diagnostic and research focus of medical genetics for more than 30 years, this field also offers advanced molecular genetic laboratory diagnostics for a variety of cancer predispositions or is able to use specialized laboratories for this purpose. Apart from the specialized clinics of the University Hospital Basel, it also maintains close cooperation with the University Children’s Hospital Basel (UKBB) and university and cantonal hospitals throughout Switzerland.

Further Information on Medical Genetics



Prof. Dr. rer. nat. Sven Cichon


Medizinische Genetik


Prof. Dr. med. Dr. phil. nat. Karl Heinimann

Stv. Ärztlicher Leiter

Medizinische Genetik

Palliative Care is aimed at patients suffering from a serious and incurable illness. The aim of the treatment is to use a holistic approach to improve the quality of life of the patients and their family and friends, and to strengthen the patients’ autonomy.

«Palliative» derives from «pallium», Latin meaning “cloak,” and the English term «care», meaning «to protect, take care of, or to shield».


Palliative care can thus be understood as a kind of cloak that provides protection and security to the patient and their close relatives. The cloak should also provide the space for courage and self-determination and enable the highest possible quality of life in various phases of the disease.


Based on the definition of the World Health Organization (WHO), palliative care is an approach to improving the quality of life of patients and their environment who are faced with a life-threatening and/or chronically progressive disease.

The focus of palliative care is on the early and comprehensive detection and best possible treatment of symptoms such as pain, shortness of breath, restlessness, insomnia, indigestion, anxiety, depression and despair.


Another important objective is to prevent suffering and complications arising in the course of a disease.


The treatment of an underlying disease, e.g. chemotherapy or radiation treatment, and palliative care are not mutually exclusive, but complement each other in a meaningful way.


People’s needs in palliative situations can be very different. The aim of palliative care is to find the best possible and appropriate treatment for the individual patient at any time in the disease.

The USB Palliative Care Team supports inpatients and outpatients with palliative needs. Our services may be requested by the attending physicians in the form of a consultation (consultation by a specialist doctor and a nurse).


The palliative care consultation service includes the following:

  • Recording and alleviating symptoms such as pain, shortness of breath, restlessness, constipation and other physical complaints
  • Counseling on therapy goals and decision-making and joint planning of further therapy pathways
  • Counseling on the preparation of advance healthcare directives
  • Supporting patients and their families in the event of mental or spiritual distress
  • Support with organizing and setting up a reliable care network for the patient to be discharged into
  • Accompanying dying patients and their relatives in the hospital
  • Integration of other specialized disciplines such as pain service, physiotherapy, psycho-oncology, spiritual care, social services, and others
  • Providing continuity as a point of contact for patients, relatives, family doctor and outpatient services

In a comprehensive evaluation of the medical history, we determine the palliative needs of patients and their environment. Problems are prioritized and a treatment goal is set. To this end, we make specific suggestions, e.g. on medication or other measures.


In order to meet the multifaceted needs of patients in palliative situations, there is a need for constant exchange among the treating team. For example, we work closely with the treating oncologists and colleagues from the pain service, psycho-oncology, psychosomatics, physiotherapy, spiritual care, nutrition counseling, case management and social services.


We consider the patient and those around them to be an important part of the team. Being respectful of ideas, desires and values, we want to understand and meet the physical, psychological, social and spiritual needs through dialogue.

Palliative care professionals support and accompany patients and their families. Palliative care professionals affirm life and consider death to be a normal process. The aim of palliative care is to identify and address patients’ physical, social, psychological and spiritual problems. Palliative care therefore includes medical treatment, nursing interventions as well as psychological, social and spiritual support.



Dr. Sandra Eckstein

Leitende Ärztin

Palliative Care

Ärztinnen und Ärzte


PD Dr. Christopher Boehlke


Palliative Care


Dr. Martin Krähenbühl


Innere Medizin


Dr. Jessica Rueff

Stv. Oberärztin

Palliative Care


Dr. Leonie Mnich


Palliative Care



Naemi Kurylec

Programmleiterin Palliativ Pflege

Abt. Praxisentwicklung und Forschung Pflege


Felix Schläfli

Pflegeexperte Palliativ Pflege

Abt. Praxisentwicklung und Forschung Pflege



Lorenza Sticca

med. adm. Personal

Palliative Care, Psychosomatik

Fragen Sie Ihr Ärzte- und Pflegeteam zu Informationen, diese können dann einen Kontakt für einen stationären Besuch oder einen Termin in der Sprechstunde vereinbaren.


Gerne können Sie uns auch direkt kontaktieren:
Palliative Care
Universitätsspital Basel
Petersgraben 4
4031 Basel



Für weitere Informationen zu Palliative Care in der Schweiz und Angeboten in der Region:

The primary objective of physiotherapy is to maintain or, where possible, increase the quality of life for our patients. We achieve this by re-learning, optimizing and practicing everyday activities, through strength and endurance training, joint mobilization and improving mobility (e.g. in the case of fatigue syndrome).


This also includes:

  • Neurological rehabilitation for damage to the central nervous system (CNS) according to Bobath.
  • Measures such as lymphatic drainage.
  • Prevention of arm lymphedema by means of drainage therapy to promote internal and external scar healing, taking into account the physiological functions of the shoulder joint.
  • Respiratory physiotherapy/pulmonary rehabilitation.
  • Pelvic floor training for urine and stool incontinence.
  • Pain relief using physical therapies (heat, electrotherapies, trigger point treatments, etc.).


In order to be able to respond to the individual problems and needs of patients in a targeted manner, physiotherapy is carried out as individual therapy. 


The regular exchange and meetings of physiotherapy professionals with the various specialized departments of the Cancer Center are an integral part of our interdisciplinary cooperation and our quality guarantee.

Registration by doctor’s order:

Physiotherapy Medicine
University Hospital Basel
4031 Basel

more information about physiotherapy at USB

It is estimated that around one third to one half of cancer patients are mentally stressed enough over the course of time to benefit from the care of a psycho-oncologist. Not to be forgotten are the next of kin, who are often the most important support network for the patient, and can therefore also be mentally stressed. Mental adjustment disorders in difficult life situations are the most common, followed by depression and anxiety disorders. After getting bad news from the doctor, many people with cancer manage to regain their emotional balance after days to a few weeks. If this does not happen, it may be helpful to contact a psycho-oncologist.

Psycho-oncology addresses with the psychosocial aspects of cancer in training, research and patient care.

Care by a psycho-oncologist ranges from short-term counseling (a few conversations) to longer-term psychotherapy. Psycho-oncological care is determined by the needs of the cancer patient: Some want to try out alternative ways of dealing with difficult situations in everyday life, some learn to deal with things more calmly, and others learn to understand things better and get organized for themselves or take stock of things.

Psycho-oncology has a long tradition at the University Hospital Basel. It is an expression of the desire to take into account the psychosocial aspects of caring for cancer patients and their relatives in addition to cutting-edge medicine. An important focus of psycho-oncology at the Cancer Center is to train cancer doctors and nurses in psychosocial skills through communication training.


Psycho-oncologists work in both outpatient and inpatient settings either liaisons, i.e. they are part of the treatment team (e.g. hematology, oncology, gynecology) and are therefore very familiar with the people and processes, or as consultants, i.e. they get involved with certain patients if necessary.

Health insurance covers the inpatient and outpatient care provided by psycho-oncologists.

As a rule, the attending physician or nurses refer patients to psycho-oncology after discussing it with the patient. This also applies to the referring doctor.

  1. Ask your attending physician or nurse at the Cancer Center. They will give you information and establish contact with the relevant psycho-oncologist.
  2. If you have any questions, please contact the psycho-oncologist directly (preferably by e-mail).

Further Information



Dr. Martina Bingisser

Psychologin M.Sc., Psychoonkologin

Gynäkologische Sozialmedizin und Psychosomatik


Marianne Chevillat, M.Sc.




Dr. phil. Marcel Delahaye




Sabrina Elia, M.Sc.



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Milena Ritter, M.Sc.


Hämatologie, Psychosomatik


Dipl. Psych. Birgit Maier


Onkologie, Hämatologie, Psychosomatik

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Prof. Rainer Schäfert

Chefarzt und Professur für Psychosomatik


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Dr. phil. Corinne Urech

Leitende Psychologin

Gynäkologische Sozialmedizin und Psychosomatik

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Dr. phil. Diana Zwahlen

Leiterin Psychologinnen und Psychologen


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Many patients with cancer suffer from pain sooner or later. The pain may be caused by the necessary surgery, chemotherapy or cancer progression. In all these cases, our pain specialists in the Anesthesia Unit can provide effective relief.

In the early stages of cancer, the plan is often to cure it or at least to stop it from progressing through surgery. It is not uncommon for this to involve extensive and complicated surgical procedures that can be associated with severe pain. This is why the anesthetist discusses specific pain therapy measures with the patient before the operation, such as the use of pain catheters to administer pain medication. Pain catheters are left for a few days after surgery until the initial severe pain subsides. Ideally, this kind of pain catheter guarantees absolute freedom from pain. In addition, the patient has few side effects and the administration of strong painkillers such as morphine is not necessary and is only used as a reserve.


Throughout the postoperative phase with a pain catheter, patients are supported by our specialized pain team. The team is made up of pain therapists and specially trained nurses from our Anesthesia Unit, making the transition from intra- and post-operative pain care seamless and straightforward.


Chemotherapy or surgery in cancer patients can lead to chronic pain. For this reason, we are happy to advise patients with chronic pain on a wide range of treatment options in both outpatient pain clinics and inpatient settings. In order to treat patients as holistically as possible, we also attach particular importance to their psychological and social situation. In the case of very difficult and complex problems, we discuss patients on an interdisciplinary basis with representatives from oncology, psycho-oncology, nursing, rheumatology, neurology, neurosurgery, general surgery, anesthesiology and other specialized disciplines involved in the case.


Unfortunately, it is not always possible to cure a tumor, which is why further pain may occur as the tumor progresses. In most cases, relatively simple measures can be used to alleviate the pain. Our pain experts are also happy to advise tumor patients at this stage of the disease about the available pain therapy options.


Patients with tumor pain do not always respond adequately to current pain therapies. Approximately 10% of patients experience insufficient or no pain reduction in spite of correct pain therapy, so that the indication for advanced drug-based pain therapy or interventional minimally invasive therapy is considered. The pain therapist’s expertise can dramatically improve the situation not only for the patient, but also for their relatives and carers, particularly in palliative settings where there is no cure or in the final stages of a cancer. Such measures enable prolonged care at home and can be an important element in fulfilling the patient’s desire to be able to die at home. That’s why our pain therapists and palliative doctors also use their expertise to support cancer patients whose disease is no longer curable, with the aim of achieving the highest possible quality of life and pain reduction over the remaining lifetime.



Prof. Wilhelm Ruppen

Leitender Arzt



An illness, an accident or even a pregnancy can lead to major changes in your life situation. This may give rise to social, legal and professional issues, on which we would be happy to provide counseling to you and your family.


Sometimes a discussion and the expertise of our staff can help find a solution together. If necessary, we can also refer you to the appropriate specialized organizations. Our aim is to provide you with good advice and work with you to find the right help for your personal situation. 


The Social Services at the University Hospital Basel (USB) is a team of qualified specialists available free of charge to outpatients and inpatients and their relatives. We are bound by professional secrecy and a duty of confidentiality. 


Give us a call or ask your attending physician or the nursing team about the social services.



Jerry Lavorgna

Leiter IPM – Sozialdienst

Integriertes Patientenmanagement

A cancer diagnosis has an impact on the body, soul and the daily life of those affected. With our yoga offering, we want to support and strengthen women with breast cancer or gynecological tumors in order to better cope with the stresses of the therapies. Yoga is very complex in its effects and can help restore inner balance. The aim is to alleviate side effects during ongoing cancer therapy and also after treatment completion. For example, yoga can be a valuable aid in the case of fatigue, sleep disorders, anxiety, depression, mood swings or menopause complaints.

A complete yoga practice consists of a certain sequence of body exercises (āsana), breathing exercises (prānāyāma) and meditation, which build on each other and work on the levels of body – breath – mind.


The breath-guided āsana in ViniYoga make the person calmer, as all movements are performed slowly and mindfully. With each inhalation and exhalation, breathing and movement become more relaxed and even. In the prānāyāma, attention is directed specifically to breathing, training the awareness of breath flow. Meditation serves to work on inner focus and helps calm the thoughts.

The yoga practice follows the tradition of Desikachar (VinYoga) and is individually oriented to the abilities and needs of the participant. Physical limitations are not an obstacle to taking part in group lessons. Prior experience with yoga is not necessary.

  • Participation is possible in person on the premises of the University Hospital Basel or online by prior arrangement.
  • Weekly (starting on January 19), every Wednesday from 5:30 p.m. to 7 p.m.
  • The course is ongoing. Patients can join at any time.

Yoga teacher BDY/EYU


Christina Klanke Mag. art., MPH

Departementsfachleitung Pflege/MTT

Departement Theragnostik

Sign up at or contact the course instructor directly at +41 61 328 46 31.