Beyond the War on Cancer to Better Answers


Cancer patients need more than any necessary conventional cancer treatments. Solutions come from integrative cancer care for the whole person. Learn about why, how to achieve optimal health and healing, and some top-notch resources.

Since being diagnosed with a brain tumor in 1998 at age 24, I’ve had three awake brain surgeries, radiation, chemotherapy, immunotherapy dendritic cell vaccines and many integrative cancer therapies. Now over 17 years since entering the cancer world, my survivorship experience gives me tremendous understanding in the journey.

With over 100 MRI scans, decision-making, treatments, success, the unknown, and much more, certain chapters in my life featured the war on cancer. That is, the battle against cancer to attack tumor cells and other hardcore effects. Over time, I learned about other solutions with positive benefits.

From my personal experience, through many cancer patients I’ve known and scientific research results, there is no doubt that cancer patients must receive conventional cancer treatments when necessary. Now some pioneering therapies include personalized medicine and person-centered care such as genomic profiling, molecular targeted therapies, and immunotherapy. To find more specifics, among other sources, recent conferences by the American Association for Cancer Research and American Society of Clinical Oncology provided some exciting results and priorities into the future.

For me in my healing quest, more has emerged to expand beyond the cancer diagnosis and focus on the whole person. Indeed, it is clear that optimal health and healing comes from integrative cancer care for the whole person. Please know that integrative cancer care includes conventional cancer treatments if needed.

Integrative cancer care for the whole person tends to aspects of the physical body, mind-body wellness, spiritual vitality, social support and a healthier environment. These approaches can improve quality of life and survival, and even cures for some people. Of interest, the book “Radical Remission: Surviving Cancer Against All Odds” by Kelly A. Turner, PhD shares stories and documentation about cancer cures.

In the journey to a cure and even when a cure isn’t possible, cancer patients can focus on healing. The process focuses on optimal well-being and personal transformation to restore wholeness. Whether it’s for curing, healing, or both, cancer patients need motivation to seek and search toward more solutions dealing with a disease and perhaps other health challenges.

While 5 to 10 percent of cancer comes from genetic mutations, the other 90 to 95 percent is caused by lifestyle and environmental factors. This can include an unhealthy diet, obesity, smoking, other tobacco use, infections, radiation and environmental pollutants.

Cancer patients can address lifestyle and environmental factors through many strategies, including immune support, anti-inflammation therapies, healthy foods, internal terrain, hormonal balance, detoxification, digestion and more. Quality resources are available to help identify doctors and providers, including the Institute for Functional Medicine, Academy of Integrative Health & Medicine, Oncology Association of Naturopathic Physicians and certain cancer nonprofits. Cancer coaches can also provide further assistance in creating an integrative cancer care plan.

As the physical body needs significant attention, the whole person has countless constructs of body-mind-spirit-social-environmental. All of these dynamic roles must be addressed for whole health and healing.

The mind-body must function as one whole and healthy integrated system in wellness. Through the healing process and maintenance, many therapies and self-care strategies are available to deliver major improvements for the mind-body. A healthy and healing focus for the mind-body includes breathing, meditation, exercise, movement, dancing, psychological transformation, imagery, music, art and more. Some mind-body resources include the Center for Mind-Body Medicine, Cancer Support Community, possibly other local classes, workshops, sessions from doctors, providers, non-profit offices, and businesses, books, as well as retreats.

Spirit and spirituality are also prominent in the journey of life, and especially in any life experiences like cancer. The intensity provides offerings about spirit, spiritual needs, and deeper spiritual embodiment, including each person’s soul and soul’s evolution. Intuition and instinct can be developed and applied too.

Along with body-mind-spirit, many forms of social support produce significantly meaningful benefits. Social support occurs in many ways such as getting to appointments, therapies, meals, enjoyment, listening, touch and much more. Online cancer support, scheduling, and other types of help include Lotsa Helping Hands, CaringBridge, My Crazy Sexy Life, Imerman Angels, MyLifeLine, Stupid Cancer and more. Also, some telephone or in person support comes from Cancer Support Community, CancerCare, Cancer Hope Network, the National Cancer Institute, and a list with more resources here. In the social support process, improvements include stress reduction, experiencing connections and community. These levels of support also reduce and eliminate perceptions of loneliness that is fundamental for healing.

Integrative cancer care must tend to the environment, including what people use in and around their body, home and surrounding areas. Toxins must be identified, reduced and removed. Scientific findings have even shown cause and effect with cancer and the environment. Among others, The Collaborative on Health and the Environment (CHE), Breast Cancer Fund, and Silent Spring Institute work to expose and eliminate the environmental causes of cancer.

The current war on cancer has some limitations and boxed players. Better answers come from integrative cancer care for the whole person.

What has been your experience with cancer? How do you create and utilize an optimal health and healing plan? Feel free to share in the CURE discussion group.

Visit Jeannine Walston’s website, Facebook, and Twitter.

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