The days of battles between advocates of conventional and unconventional approaches to cancer care are coming to an end. New models of care are emerging which embrace the best of all healing traditions. Today a comprehensive approach to dealing with cancer is just as likely to include meditation, yoga, and massage as it is chemo, radiation, and surgery. Oncologists are increasingly supportive of patients who integrate complementary approaches with the more conventional ones.
Personally, I’ve relied on a combination which has included surgery, RFA, chemo, healing touch, meditation, prayer, exercise, Tai Chi, diet, and supplements. I have been supported in this approach by an innovated cancer care community in Vancouver called "InspireHealth" (formerly “the Center for Integrated Healing”). At InspireHealth a team of physicians and alternative health practitioners are available to guide and assist me in my treatment decisions. http://www.inspirehealth.ca/
In the United States, “Cancer Treatment Centers of America” have established a network of hospitals where conventional and complementary treatments are offered within the context of a holistic, patient-based approach to treating cancer. Their “evidence-based” approaches include nutritional support, naturopathic medicine, mind-body medicine, physical therapy, pain management, and spiritual support as well as the traditional tools of surgery, radiation, chemotherapy, and immunotherapy. http://www.cancercenter.com/
One of the classic texts in the in field of integrative cancer care is “Choices in Healing: Integrating the Best of Conventional and Complementary Approaches to Cancer” by Michael Lerner. Michael identifies the following 12 elements of unconventional cancer therapies. He describes the first four on the list as the “vital quartet”.
1. Spiritual Approaches, including prayer and healing touch.
2. Psychological Approaches, including stress reduction.
3. Nutritional and Dietary Approaches.
4. Physical Approaches, including exercise and massage.
5. Traditional Medicine, including Traditional Chinese Medicine.
6. Pharmacological Approaches, including vitamin supplements.
7. Herbal Approaches.
8. Electromagnetic Approaches.
9. Unconventional Uses of Conventional Treatments.
10. Esoteric and Psychic Approaches.
11. Unconventional Instruments and Diagnostic Tests.
12. Humane Approaches.
“Patient-centered” and “integrative care” approaches mean that today, more than ever before, we have the opportunity to make informed and empowered choices about our care. Good thing... Eh!
“The informed pursuit of treatment options… can also influence how we encounter our own mortality. Perhaps inner peace, freedom and meaning, even health lie embedded within the very pain, fear, and uncertainty we frequently experience as we face illness and engage with it as full participants along the road we call life.” Jon Kabat-Zinn