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Topic: How Integrative Medicine Can Aid Breast Cancer Recovery

Forum: Complementary and Holistic Medicine and Treatment — Complementary medicine refers to treatments that are used WITH standard treatment. Holistic medicine is a term used to describe therapies that attempt to treat the patient as a whole person.

Posted on: Oct 19, 2016 09:12AM

Longtermsurvivor wrote:

How Integrative Medicine Can Aid Breast Cancer Recovery


Newswise — Dr. Daleela Dodge is fascinated by the resilience of her patients. The breast surgeon at Penn State Breast Center has repeatedly seen how social networks, diet, exercise, a strong support system, mindfulness and therapy through music, art and writing can be an important part of recovery and remission from breast cancer.

She encourages her patients to integrate holistic activities such as yoga, meditation and journaling with more traditional evidence-based treatments such as chemotherapy, radiation and surgery.

This practice, known as integrative medicine, has become an important way to keep traditional treatments from leaving patients with psychological and physical impairments. With a focus more on health and wellness rather than solely on treating disease, it can be helpful in restoring quality of life.

"Our bodies are a two-way street," Dodge said. "They have an influence as much as the treatments we give them do."

Although the medical community has begun to acknowledge that patients can benefit from things outside of traditional therapy, Dodge said the offerings are not robust.

"We aren't judged based on patient survival," she said. "We are paid for episodic, acute care."

Having a heart attack? Doctors know the exact protocol to follow to help you survive it.

"What we're not so good at is figuring out how to get you back on your feet once you have been debilitated," she said. "We're working against a lot of issues of how we are reimbursed for care."

Integrative medicine gives patients more say in their health, allowing them to participate more actively in relieving symptoms, easing side effects of treatment and reducing stress.

"Nothing about having breast cancer is easy, but when you can decide to increase your exercise, put on a Fitbit and avoid certain foods, you feel like you are back in the driver's seat," she said. "It's something important that is theirs to embrace and do, which is very different than when you are given chemo or operated on and feel completely out of control."

Finding ways to "get out of their minds" can help patients cope with unhappiness and anxiety.

"Taking care of the whole person remains extremely important," Dodge said. "I believe it is key to being able to move on and have a fulfilling happy life."

She offers the following suggestions for reducing stress:
• Counseling
• Journaling or writing groups
• Exploring your creative abilities, such as painting, ceramics and music
• Yoga
• Acupuncture
• Meditation
• Discover new connections – support groups
• Take control – avoid toxic personalities, reassess your goals and aspirations

Dodge suggests taking care of yourself physically by doing the following:
• Exercise regularly – find an exercise that you enjoy and know that the greatest impact comes with four or more hours of exercise per week
• Physical therapy may be needed first after treatment
• Eating healthy – more important than weight loss
• Maintain – or return to – a healthy weight
• Quit smoking
• Limit alcohol consumption
• Monitor Vitamin D levels

Grateful to be here. Advanced breast cancer for 25 years, engage holistic approaches. Am dealing with ascites and many mets. Am on hospice.
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Oct 19, 2016 07:59PM Meadow wrote:

Thank you!

Dx 8/15/2013, IBC, ER-/PR-, HER2- Chemotherapy 8/26/2013 AC + T (Taxol) Radiation Therapy 2/11/2014 Breast, Lymph nodes Surgery 1/15/2017 Reconstruction (left)
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Oct 21, 2016 12:46AM - edited Oct 21, 2016 12:47AM by ShetlandPony

Good idea to make a thread for this topic. I would like to add four things to the great lists in the article.

Reducing stress:

  • Laughter
  • Massage

Taking care of yourself physically:

  • Sleep -- Get enough sleep and practice good sleep hygiene.
  • Environment -- Seek healthful products and materials (including cosmetics and cleaning supplies), some natural sunlight, clean air, and filtered water. Avoid toxins such as lead and pesticides, and hormone disruptors such as BPA in food containers and parabens in personal care products.
2011 Stage I ILC ER+PR+ Her2- 1.5 cm grade 1, ITCs sn . Lumpectomy, radiation, tamoxifen. 2014 Stage IV ILC ER+PR+Her2- grade 2, mets to breast , liver. Taxol NEAD. 2015,2016 Ibrance+letrozole. 2017 Faslodex+Afnitor; Xeloda. 2018 Xeloda NEAD
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Oct 21, 2016 01:31AM remz wrote:

ShetlandPony, I agree. Laughter always works wonders for me.I know exactly where to go for that therapy. My eldest daughter can always make me smile. We all need access to someone or something like that.

Hormonal Therapy 1/18/2002 Tamoxifen pills (Nolvadex, Apo-Tamox, Tamofen, Tamone) Dx 3/2002, ILC, Right, 5cm, Stage IIA, ER+, HER2- Dx 7/29/2016, ILC, Stage IV, metastasized to bone, ER+, HER2- Surgery Lymph node removal: Underarm/Axillary; Mastectomy: Right Hormonal Therapy Femara (letrozole) Targeted Therapy Ibrance (palbociclib)
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Oct 24, 2016 01:48PM AnnKat wrote:

Hi everyone, I've just joined this forum. My 62 year old mom is diagnosed with Invasive Ductal Carcinoma Est+, Prog+, HER2-, between stage IIb & IIIa. She has a tumor on her breast 1.2cm and a 3.4cm tumor in the axilla that broke out of her lymph nodes. PET scan came back negative for spread. Doctor suggested treatment order chemo, surgery, radiation, and hormone therapy. My mom will have her first round of chemo this Wednesday. She will have four rounds of AC (once every 3 weeks) and 12 rounds of Taxol (once a week). I've been juicing fresh organic vegetables and fruits for my mom since her BC diagnosis a month ago. I've also been giving her immunity boosting supplements called Beta Glucan to help keep her body strong in order to deal with chemo. I want to ask if there's anyone who juice raw vegetables and fruits and or take supplements DURING chemo to help control or reduce the severity of chemo side effects? I've heard that patients undergoing chemo therapy will be very prone to infection and so I'm afraid feeding my mom raw vegetable & fruits might cause her to have infections. My mom's oncologist said it's okay for my mom to continue taking the Beta Glucan supplement during chemo because the ingredients are all natural but my mom's surgeon said she shouldn't take any supplements during chemo as it might interfere with the effectiveness with chemo treatment. I'm not sure which doctor to listen to? If there's anyone out there who know someone or personally have taken supplements and eat raw vegetables & fruits during chemo please let me know. Thank you and good luck to all who's battling this terrible disease.

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Dec 19, 2016 10:03PM snowsogal wrote:

Hi Ann Kat: I was allowed to take Reisha Mushroom Extract during my chemo treatments. I also took a immunity builder powder drink as well. I also took Vitamin D 10,000 units during chemotherapy, and they allowed this too.

Hormonal Therapy 7/21/2014 Arimidex (anastrozole), Aromasin (exemestane), Femara (letrozole), Tamoxifen pills (Nolvadex, Apo-Tamox, Tamofen, Tamone) Dx 7/22/2014, IDC, Right, 2cm, Stage IIB, Grade 2, ER+/PR+, HER2- Surgery 7/30/2014 Lymph node removal: Underarm/Axillary; Mastectomy Chemotherapy 9/2/2014 Cytoxan (cyclophosphamide), Taxotere (docetaxel) Radiation Therapy 4/12/2015 Whole-breast: Breast, Lymph nodes, Chest wall

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