Do You Need a Cancer Coach?

Cancer survivors turn to wellness coaches for guidance.

“In our study, we actually reduced depression scores, which may have been a result of the process of coaching,” says Schmid, who, like Galantino, is also a certified wellness coach through Wellcoaches and the American College of Sports Medicine. “Developing a trusting growth-promoting relationship, building confidence, fostering positive emotions and having a specific plan to facilitate change increases hope and feelings of well-being.”

To assist patients, more hospitals, clinics and advocacy organizations are offering coaching services of various types. Coaching might involve matching a newly diagnosed patient with a long-term survivor who can provide information about treatment options, or it could entail interacting with a health professional who has extensive coaching training and certification and can help guide behavioral change. 

At Duke Integrative Medicine in Durham, N.C., for example, there’s a team approach to care that includes coaching, if desired. 

“In our program, a physician may be working with a massage therapist, an acupuncturist, a nutritionist, a stress management therapist and a health coach,” says Linda Smith, PA, director of professional and public programs at Duke Integrative Medicine’s Integrative Health Coach Professional Training program. “Essentially, the entire team works together with the patient to develop a health plan. 

“As a result, the patient walks away with a substantive health plan that addresses every aspect of health and well-being that they can then take into their real-life situations,” she adds.

Talk about this article with other patients, caregivers, and advocates in the General Discussions CURE discussion group.
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