What is Integrative Cancer Care?
The concept of integrative cancer care is gaining ground through institutional interest, patient demand and research demonstrating its personal and economic value in healthcare.
Integrative oncology has been defined by the Society for Integrative Oncology as “a patient-centered, evidence-informed field of cancer care that utilizes mind and body practices, natural products, and/or lifestyle modifications from different traditions alongside conventional cancer treatments. Integrative oncology aims to optimize health, quality of life, and clinical outcomes across the cancer care continuum and to empower people to prevent cancer and become active participants before, during, and beyond cancer treatment.” (Clinical Practice Guidelines for Integrative Oncology)
Integrative cancer care involves the appropriate use of adjunctive, evidence-based complementary therapies in the care and support of cancer patients.
Research has shown that modalities such as acupuncture, bodywork, nutrition, mind-body skills and emotional counseling, used alongside conventional western medicine, can offer patients a deeper level of support through the challenges of cancer.
These therapies offer a wide range of benefits, from therapeutic anti-cancer effects and treatment side effect management to reducing stress and anxiety and supporting patients emotionally and spiritually through their cancer experience.