With extensive experiences over 18 years as a brain tumor survivor, I understand that integrative cancer care is transforming. People with cancer, practitioners, providers, and other players in the U.S. are continuing to wake-up about integrative treatments and strategies—addressing disease, supporting health, and invigorating wellness. In the process, some individuals do not understand essential dynamics of the whole person and key benefits.
Here are 4 major factors everyone should know about integrative cancer care.
Attention to the whole person is paramount.
Integrative cancer care makes use of all appropriate therapeutic approaches, professionals, and providers, as well as self-care to support optimal health and healing. Through compassionate, comprehensive person-centered care for the whole person, integrative cancer care addresses the totality for each individual of body, mind, and spirit, including social and environmental health. This integrative cancer care plan, team approach, and self-care strategies is life-changing.
The mindset shifts beyond the parts to focus on the whole.
Overall, in the US, we have become over-focused on individual body parts instead of the whole person. In reality, the whole body and aspects of the whole person—including molecules, cells, organs, the brain-gut connection, psychoneuroimmunology, the mind-body connection, behaviors, relationships, and other constructs—reside in a network that interacts, influences, and interdependently shapes each individual. Learning about these dynamics impacts your whole to ultimately give you major benefits. Transformation in the process to embody your whole will cultivate your true potential to thrive.
The internal terrain impacts health and disease.
Every body has an internal terrain. When cancer is present, it interacts with the ‘local’ terrain, which is called the tumor microenvironment. Learning and incorporating some key strategies such as diet, exercise, breathing, meditation, expression, spiritual connections, social support, and a cleaner environment, facilitates the transformation of the internal terrain to a healthier landscape. These strategies can improve quality of life and cancer survival.
Integrative cancer care supports cancer prevention.
Approximately 40 percent of individuals in the United States will be diagnosed with cancer during their lifetime. People living beyond a cancer diagnosis reached almost 14.5 million in 2014, and there are projections that this will increase to almost 19 million by 2024. Since only 5% to 10% of cancers are caused by inherited genes, the remaining 90% to 95% has been linked to lifestyle factors and environment. Integrative cancer care for the whole person explains some important strategies to support cancer prevention, and to benefit cancer patients.