At first glance, PD Dr. med. Christian Weißenberger is in charge of an outpatient Centre for Radiotherapy and Radiooncology in Freiburg im Breisgau, which is equipped with the latest technology and innovative equipment and is used for a wide range of radiotherapeutic treatments. However, a second look reveals a meeting centre where cancer patients are particularly welcome - at eye level. Patients who enter the centre for the first time quickly feel that everything here is designed to make them feel good.
Anyone who thinks of radiotherapy as a treatment for cancer in particular may not be completely wrong - but they are also not completely right. Because radiotherapy is not only radiooncology. In general, the various radiation therapies are aimed at curing diseases with ionising radiation or preventing their further spread.
Radiotherapy is also used to treat inflammatory joint diseases - this naturally also applies to the Centre for Radiotherapy and Radiooncology headed by PD Dr. med. Christian Weißenberger: Those who have painful movement restrictions on bones, tendons or joints due to excessive or incorrect exertion can often be effectively helped by radiotherapy.
Sick joints: regaining mobility
Even if mobility is almost lost or if pain reduces the quality of life and medicinal or physiotherapeutic treatments do not lead to a significant improvement, such therapy often makes sense - especially for chronic, inflammatory or degenerative diseases.
In the case of joint diseases, the anti-inflammatory effect of a well thought-out radiation therapy is required the most. Used as effectively as possible, it also inhibits autoimmune processes and influences cell functions, which ideally leads to direct relief of the symptoms. Radiotherapy has one big advantage: it is absolutely painless and there are virtually no side effects. Whether it is a persistent heel spur, an irritated Achilles tendon or a tennis elbow - PD Dr. Weißenberger and his team always find the right therapy.
Radiotherapy for cancer – in familial settings
The situation is quite different with cancer, of course. Here, too, it is important that the most modern technology is available - and the Freiburg centre currently has the most innovative equipment in Germany. It made headlines far beyond the region, when the 3 Tesla MRI as one of the first high-tech MRIs in Germany was put into service in Freiburg.
Pioneer across Germany
Thus the Freiburg facility became the pioneer of an extremely welcome development: At the Centre for Radiotherapy and Radiooncology, computer tomography is now possible with radiation doses at the level of ordinary X-rays. This makes it clear that from a medical point of view, the focus here is on professional quality: i.e. a sophisticated radiation therapy that is perfectly suited to the disease in question.
However, patients at the Centre for Radiotherapy and Radiooncology in Freiburg are already aware that professional qualifications at an international level are not the only component in optimising the chances of a cure for a cancer or reducing pain to a minimum when they enter the practice.
Professionally and socially competent
A glance at the facility's homepage will also take the reader in the right direction: it also reports on the highly modern technical equipment - and on the fact that the Freiburg facility is among the real innovators when it comes to new technologies such as high-tech therapies or linear accelerators with previously unknown precision. However, the selection of partners, the listing of the various social activities and, of course, the presentation of the team itself make it clear that social, human warmth is very important here and that an almost familial atmosphere is palpable.
Multi-lingual reception with a diverse team
PD Dr. Weißenberger has gathered a team around him that, in addition to professional expertise, scores consistently with high social competence. The thirty-person international team consists of radiation therapists, medical physicists and a dedicated crew that takes care of many other areas. They even thought of their own ward for nursing advice and wound management. With such a diverse and competent team, it is almost obvious that many international patients are welcomed in their native language. The team at the Centre for Radiotherapy and Radiooncology in Freiburg im Breisgau welcomes patients in German, English, French, Spanish, Russian, Polish and Arabic.
For PD Dr. med. Christian Weißenberger, himself a specialist in radiotherapy and palliative medicine, social competence was a personal matter from the very beginning when putting together his team. So the next step was only logical - even if he makes the practice a very special institution.
Protected area: young cancer patients are sheltered
That's what happened: Freiburg has a dedicated association that offers young adults with cancer a protected area. "Jung und Krebs e.V." is an association where young people exchange ideas at eye level. For the first time ever, many people have the opportunity to talk about their worries and fears with people who understand them - because they have similar experiences and also fight against social isolation. Whether in a very serious way in the self-help group, in a fun setting at evenings together or at events where society is to learn more about the situation of young people suffering from cancer - anyone who participates in "Jung und Krebs e.V." wants to participate in life and actively deal with challenges.
The association was founded on the initiative of Carsten Witte. After three successful lung metastases he wanted to enjoy life with like-minded people - as far as possible. Without compassion, from whom ever. That was Christmas 2014.
Today Carsten Witte offers exactly what he missed after his diagnosis and surgeries: he takes care of people, he listens to the problems of cancer patients, he gives advice - at eye level. In this way he is able to support others in making life worth living, despite illness, pain and anxiety. Carsten Witte is part of the team as a studied health educator. Anyone who is going through difficult times today will quickly notice in a conversation with Carsten Witte that someone is listening who has experienced a lot - and who has survived everything. Someone who has remained positive despite all his experiences. And that's doing you good. And of course the association "Jung und Krebs e.V." will continue to be supported by the Freiburg facility.
For PD Dr. med. Christian Weißenberger, this completes the circle: The Centre for Radiotherapy and Radiooncology in Freiburg im Breisgau is indeed a round thing.