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Why Do Women Need Integrative Cancer Care for the Whole Person?

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Perhaps you are dealing with cancer. Or your family member or friend has the disease. For people confronting this challenge, the focus often moves away from LBC (Life Before Cancer) to the group of overwhelming yet not unyielding cancerous cells. Research, doctor’s appointments, treatments, and diagnostic tests are important components to optimize disease management and survival. Anyone moving through a cancer journey needs the best conventional cancer care available. However, that is only part of the equation.

Providing Whole Body Care
Research studies have shown for many years that cancer grows in fertile soil, or a hospitable environment in the body, supporting cancerous cells. The internal environment of the body strongly impacts whether or not cancer will grow in each individual. With this knowledge, some cancers are understood as a symptom of an altered, unbalanced system. The focus then expands from the cancer diagnosis to also include the environmental condition of the entire physical body.

Along with receiving cancer treatments for the diagnosis and symptoms, people affected by cancer need whole person health care. This model is called integrative cancer care that provides attention to and interventions for the cancer diagnosis, the entire body, and the whole person.

Defining Integrative Cancer Care
So, what is integrative cancer care for the whole person? Integrative cancer care addresses the totality of body, mind, and spirit, including social and environmental health, for each individual. All of these aspects of your health and life are constantly interacting together, influencing one another, and interdependently shaping who you are.

Think about this concept using the example of diet. You probably know that diet impacts your physical body. At the same time, diet strongly affects how you think mentally and feel emotionally, aspects of your spirituality, how you relate to yourself and other people socially, and ways in which your environment impacts your health. No separation exists between these elements.

Add a Comment6 Comments

Thanks for your comments, Kristi! We will add Human Tribe Project to the Online Circles of Support page on the EmbodiWorks website at http://www.embodiworks.org/cancertreatments/resources/onlinesupport/.

November 9, 2010 - 10:22pm
(reply to Jeannine Walston)

Wonderful! Thank you!

November 10, 2010 - 9:08am
(reply to iamkristi)

Thanks again, Kristi. Human Tribe Project is now on the EmbodiWorks website in our Resources section. Take care.

November 26, 2010 - 11:17am
HERWriter Guide

Kristi - Thank you for mentioning the Human Tribe Project, founded by Jaclyn Foutz. It's a wonderful resource for patients and their families and was featured in an article I wrote for EmpowHER last year. http://www.empowher.com/community/share/young-womans-cancer-death-inspires-beautiful-legacy

November 9, 2010 - 5:34pm
(reply to Pat Elliott)

What a fantastic article about Jaclyn's story. Sadly, they are again facing cancer as her 5-year-old niece is battling brain cancer.

November 10, 2010 - 9:15am

Great article!
In regards to the "caring for social wellness", creating a blog for friends and family to follow along and provide support, has been a fantastic outlet for my loved ones who have battled cancer.
I recommend HUMAN TRIBE PROJECT. www.humantribeproject.com
The organization provides an online support website in which you create a tribe for the person and invite people to become tribe members. The best part about HTP that differentiates in from other blogging sites is people have the option to purchase a tribe tag necklace with the person's initial engraved and the proceeds go toward helping with medical expenses. (The tribe includes one for) Mia Foutz . She is the founder's 5-year-old niece who is currently battling brain cancer. Her tribe is an inspiration. So many supportive members.

(Comments edited to comply with site terms of service.)

November 9, 2010 - 2:27pm
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We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.