OncoLink is excited to welcome a new blog to our site! The Caring for the Whole blog is a look at integrative oncology from the 4wholeness.com point of view. It is by no means a comprehensive article on every aspect of integrative oncology, but an introduction to the concepts. The purpose of the community at 4wholeness.com is to provide education surrounding integrative care. The team at 4wholeness.com has curated every article, comment, recipe, video and recommended product with the patient’s best interest in mind. The 4wholeness community features experts in this integrative care model who provide education and guidance on incorporating this model into your care. Survivorship and quality of life are central to our vision for health care.
Cancer does not play nice, it is the 2nd leading cause of death in the US. One American dies from cancer every 60 seconds. Conventional treatment spends its time destroying the cancer. Those treatments affect not only the cancer, but also the entire body and person.
Integrative Oncology is patient-centered, whole-person care. It uses the best evidence-based treatments available to support the person, as well as reduce side effects and symptoms that occur.
The patient becomes an active participant in his or her own care and healing. Integrative Oncology encourages living a healthy lifestyle to help the body in its’ innate abilities to fight and prevent cancer.
Conventional oncology stresses the importance of tumor destruction to save the life of the patient. Integrative oncology works along with conventional medicine to offer complementary therapies that work in harmony with, and in some cases, strengthen the effectiveness of conventional medicine.
Several topics associated with Integrative Oncology include diet, dietary supplements, movement, lifestyle, stress reduction and spiritual support.
Future blog posts will address Homeopathic Medicine, Toxins, Traditional Chinese Medicine, Ayurvedic Medicine and more. A few cornerstones of the integrative movement include:
- A healthful diet is crucial. Studies support that a diet rich in plant based nutrition, healthy fats and fiber with minimal amounts of animal protein reduce the risk of many diseases. Diet styles that may play an important role for cancer patients are the Mediterranean Diet and Vegetarianism.
- Vitamins & supplements can play an important role. The nutritional density of most modern foods has decreased over the years. Changes in soil nutrients, farming techniques, environmental changes and the decrease of genetic diversity in the food chain are some contributors. Working with medical and nutritional professionals, supplements can support your body, work together with conventional cancer treatments and improve overall health and vitality. Aside from general multi-vitamin supplementations, medicinal mushrooms and certain herbal supplements have been proven effective at reducing the risk of recurrence, increasing energy, reducing side effects of treatment and working synergistically with chemotherapy.
- Exercise and movement is something that every human body needs, especially in this modern world. Movement reduces blood pressure, has been shown to increase lifespan, keeps lymphatic fluid moving, reduces stress, and increases cardiovascular health. In fact, there are so many benefits to a lifestyle that involves regular exercise; it will be the focus of future blog posts. For persons undergoing cancer, exercise has been proven to reduce fatigue, strengthen the immune system and enhance range of motion after surgery. Being active is a lifesaver. Forms of movement that are well studied for cancer patients are Pilates, yoga and muscle stretching and strengthening programs as designed by a well-trained fitness professional.
- Stress reduction not only means emotional stress, but physical stress as well. Our lifestyles are increasingly stressful. A body under stress has trouble repairing itself, generates chemicals and hormones around this stress response that weaken the immune system, increase blood pressure and raise blood sugar levels. Exercise, Yoga, Mindfulness Meditation and many creative practices have been effective in stress reduction.
- Minimizing toxin exposure in this industrialized society helps rid the body of poisons and chemicals not meant to be in human tissue. From the air we breathe, the water we drink, the products we put on our bodies to the surfaces we touch, our bodies come under siege with harmful substances. Our bodies need to eliminate these elements via the liver and other mechanisms to purify and nourish. Identifying these toxins and making smart purchases supports our health long term.