Germany: Getting home court advantage in cancer

Today's guest blog comes from Dr. Gerd Kraeh, Director Government Affairs Lilly in Germany.

The buzzer for the European Week of Sports has gone off. We all know how important an active lifestyle is in keeping in good shape and good health. But how about the role of sports in regaining good health?

During the summer, members of the German Parliament donned sweatshirts and sneakers to show how sport can act as a complementary therapy for cancer patients. Vice President Edelgard Bulmahn, former Minister Renate Kuenast, and several other MPs joined Lilly at the professional training center of the Berlin basketball team ALBA BERLIN to explore the relevance and importance of sports and cancer therapies in cancer care. They got their basketball muscles flexed under the guidance of Germany’s most-capped basketball player, Patrick Femerling, physiotherapists and other professional coaches of ALBA BERLIN.

During the event, politicians, patients and visitors heard from top oncologists about the need for a holistic approach to cancer care that combines high-quality cancer treatment and supportive therapies. According to the experts, supportive therapies like sports can have many positive effects during and after cancer treatment.

Designing therapies that enhance patients’ quality of life is crucial. In this regard, sport has a meaningful role to play supporting patients’ social interaction while undergoing treatment, at a time when they might feel like retreating from society. Franziska Krause, a young cancer survivor shared her moving story which highlighted how sports can bring patients and non-patients together.

Notwithstanding the positive effects of innovative therapies and supportive therapies like sports, there is still a long way to go to make these benefits available to the majority of cancer patients. MPs Edelgard Bulmahn, Renate Kuenast, Matthias Schmidt, Oezcan Mutlu and Philipp Lengsfeld all stressed the need for further investments into continual improvements in cancer care, more dialogue between key stakeholders and ensuring the German National Cancer Plan is put into practice.

To support these aims Lilly will continue with further activities to emphasise the importance of sports in the wider effort to fight cancer. Happy European Week of Sport! 

 ESW blog


MP Matthias Schmidt shaking hands with German most-capped player and ALBA BERLIN youth coach Patrick Femerling.

[Moderator Stephan Pregizer, ALBA BERLIN coach Andreas Fischer, MP Oezcan Mutlu, German most-capped player Patrick Femerling, MP Matthias Schmidt and Dr. Gerd Kraeh, Director Government Affairs Lilly Deutschland (ltr)]



MPs Renate Kuenast, MP and Vice President of the German Parliament Edelgard Bulmahn and MP Philipp Lengsfeld testing different exercises that can be applied in support of cancer therapies.