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.