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Integrative Care, All Under One Roof - Why this Philosophy of Care is Especially Important for Cancer Patients and Their Families

By Expert HERWriter
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Unless you have been diagnosed with cancer, or have a close friend or family member who is fighting it, you might not realize just how incredibly life-consuming it can be.

From talking with friends and loved ones who are either currently battling cancer or who have already completed their treatment, I’m always amazed time and time again just how much is involved in the whole treatment process. From scheduling any and all necessary tests, surgeries and recovery times to chemotherapy, radiation, counseling, and other aspects of treatment, it seems to me that getting well is often a full-time job not only for the patient but also for the friends and family members who are offering support.

Of course, anything that will help a cancer patient recover should be fully embraced and encouraged, even if it takes up a lot of time. But I do think that people—both the patient and their family and friends—are often surprised at just how much is involved in getting better again.

Actually, many people end up doing even more than traditional treatments to fight cancer. Going to counseling sessions or cancer support groups is a very common and helpful thing to do, as are alternative therapies like working with a nutritionist and/or naturopathic physician to look at both diet and supplements that may help, spiritual workshops and counseling, and laughter therapy.

This process of combining classic treatments for cancer (chemotherapy, etc.), with more non-traditional approaches (laughter therapy, etc.), is known as “integrative care”. It means taking any and all desired ways to battle cancer and using all of them together to help you get better. It’s an approach that I think is outstanding and I’m really glad to see that so many people are choosing to add other “attacks” in their arsenal to help successfully fight cancer.

In my opinion, the only thing that could possibly be a downside to integrative care is how to go about scheduling it without driving yourself crazy.

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Integrative medicine is the way of the future. Cancer treatments using integrative medicine is cutting edge. Yes scheduling is tough but it can be done. Under one roof helps along with good medical insurance that pays for this kind of care.
My oncologist recommended I try along with traditional care from him, a naturopathic clinic once I asked what could I do to help in my battle with breast cancer. This clinic I can only describe as a sick person's club. They charge a monthly fee that was very resonable, and for that you could get accupuncture 2-3 times a week, Shiatsu massage twice a month and a once a month counsult with the naturopathic docotr. At the clinic they saw only cancer patients, hiv, hep c, and ms patients.
I had reports to give to my MD and reports from my MD to my ND. The 2 practices were with-in 3 miles of each other, and I would schedule out a month at a time. I felt I was being treated as a whole person, not just a woman with breast cancer.
Sheduling, and organization are important with a cancer diagnosis. Family and friends can be asked to help with the everyday routines. Under one roof means one parking, one destination. This can be very helpful for the person going alone to their treatments because fatigue is a very big deal.

June 15, 2009 - 4:40pm
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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.