Today January 23, 2012 is International Integrative Medicine Day! IIM Day inspires worldwide dialogue, education, collaboration, research initiatives and programming about medicine that is patient-centered, holistic, economically and environmentally sustainable, and conscious of integrating different global medical systems.
What does that mean for cancer patients? To help people with cancer feel better and live longer, integrative cancer care is the answer. This provides cancer care to the whole person everyday—body, mind, and spirit, including social and environmental health.
Integrative medicine for cancer patients must address the entire physical body. Think about it. All of your parts create your whole body. Everything is connected. Cancer patients need doctors who treat the cancer diagnosis and other components of physical health. Cancer care must be customized and treating each person as an individual.
Where can cancer patients learn about integrative medicine? Finding top-notch providers are essential. Cancer patients also need to create their own integrative cancer care plan. Here are some of the best resources about integrative medicine and integrative cancer care for cancer patients.
1. EmbodiWorks provides an educational website about integrative cancer care resources for the whole person. Empowering information through EmbodiWorks reduces cancer risk and improves cancer-related survival, quality of life, and whole person health care.
2. Annie Appleseed Project offers information, education, advocacy and awareness for people with cancer about natural therapies/substances, lifestyle issues, complementary and alternative medicine (CAM), and other issues from the patient perspective. This is done through their website and conferences each year.
3. Society for Integrative Oncology (SIO) educates oncology professionals, patients, caregivers, and relevant others about the scientific validity, clinical benefits, toxicities, and limitations of state-of-the-art integrative therapies. Many quality integrative professionals are involved with the organization and SIO holds a conference each year.
4. National Institutes of Health National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine is the Federal Government's lead agency for scientific research on the diverse medical and health care systems, practices, and products that are not generally considered part of conventional medicine.
5. Several medical institutions with some scientific information about integrative cancer treatments include MD Anderson Cancer Center, Mayo Clinic, and Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center.
What else? Research to create an integrative cancer care plan absolutely includes conventional cancer treatments. Quality resources for conventional cancer research must include the National Cancer Institute, American Society of Clinical Oncology, and National Comprehensive Cancer Network.
At the end of the day, and moment-to-moment, cancer patients feel better when they receive care for the whole person. Integrative medicine offers essential components of cancer care that are holistic and patient-centered. How will you or someone you love create an integrative cancer care plan with integrative medicine?
About the Author
Jeannine Walston is co-founder and Executive Director of EmbodiWorks, a non-profit organization providing integrative cancer care resources for the whole person at www.embodiworks.org. Jeannine is a cancer survivor since 1998 with extensive experience in cancer education and advocacy, health care policy, and both conventional and integrative cancer care through work in the U.S. Congress, government agencies, cancer non-profit organizations, and health care practices. She is passionate about educating and empowering people affected by cancer.
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