Caring for Mind, Body & Spirit
When you learn you have cancer, your first stop is usually to an oncologist, a doctor who specializes in cancer treatment. This is often followed by a series of appointments with various surgeons, accompanied by a selection of tests to learn more about the progress of the disease and the best way to fight it.
Standard Medical Care
This is considered standard medical care, and it’s the best line of defense against cancer. It’s practiced by doctors and other health professionals, such as nurse practitioners, registered nurses and imaging technicians. When it comes to cancer, the tools of conventional medicine include surgery, radiation, chemotherapy and other therapies – like hormonal therapies – and prescription medication. Doctors tailor treatment to each patient’s unique type of cancer and medical needs.
Complementary & Alternative Medicine
Complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) is the term for medical products and practices outside the realm of standard medical care. The two terms are often used interchangeably, but there are important differences between the two.
Complementary medicine is used along with standard medical treatments to help patients tolerate treatment and facilitate healing, strength and quality of life. For example, meditation is a complementary therapy that can reduce anxiety and manage pain.
Alternative medicine is used instead of standard medical treatment. An example would be taking supplements to treat cancer instead of the anti-cancer drugs prescribed by an oncologist. Alternative medicine often makes false claims about health benefits and can actually be dangerous, as discussed in our recent post about Avoiding Cancer Treatment Scams.
These days, integrative medicine is in the news. Integrative medicine is a total approach to care that involves the patient’s mind, body and spirit. It combines standard medicine with complementary approaches that have shown the most promise. Many respected institutions, such as Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, offer integrative cancer services. There’s even a Society for Integrative Oncology, dedicated to advancing evidence-based integrative healthcare to improve the lives of people affected by cancer.
Putting Integrative Medicine into Practice
At The Ghosh Center, we’ve been practicing integrative medicine for years. Care is designed around the total needs of patients, ranging from cancer-fighting medicines to stress-reducing therapies. Patients and family members have access to a host of weekly wellness services, including breathing exercises, stretching, chair yoga and Reiki. Nutritional coaching is an essential component of our integrative approach to holistic patient care. We offer these services free of charge to patients and family members. Although they're optional, they're highly encouraged because of the benefits they provide.
It starts with our PhaseOne Prehabilitation Program, a proactive approach that helps people prepare for treatment and supports them as they go. In the coming weeks, we’ll focus more on this program and our complementary therapies to enhance health and quality of life.