Approximately one-third of cancer patients seek out complementary and alternative medicine. There are no proven cures for cancer in alternative medicine, but there are therapies that are proven to help with symptoms and side effects. I encourage people to use the best of both worlds — evidence-based treatments within conventional medicine as well as complementary medicine.
The complementary medicine treatments with the best evidence and fewest risks are the mind-body therapies and acupuncture. However, herbal medicines and vitamins should not be used without a physician’s guidance since they can interact with chemotherapy.
There are many types of mind-body therapies including yoga, tai chi, meditation, breathing exercises, guided imagery, relaxation training, prayer, music therapy and hypnosis. Many of these have been shown in clinical studies to help reduce stress and fatigue, improve the immune system, and help with sleep and mood. We offer many classes such as yoga, mindfulness meditation, guided imagery and diaphragmatic breathing to help people explore these techniques. Read here for a list of fall classes that are offered through Affinity Health System. Continue Reading »
Medical oncologists and radiation oncologists work side by side to treat patients diagnosed with cancer and help them maintain the best quality of life possible throughout the treatment process.
The difference between radiation oncologists and medical oncologists can be boiled down to treatment of specific areas versus treatment of the entire body. Radiation oncologists focus on destroying cancerous cells in specific target areas on the body, mostly using radiation therapy. Medical oncologists, on the other hand, work at treating the entire body using whatever medicines are best deemed for that type of cancer depending on the stage it’s at.
As a medical oncologist, I start my work right away when it is discovered that a patient has cancer. Typically, I meet with a radiation oncologist and a surgeon and together we figure out which treatment plan will best attack the cancer. We also talk to the patient about his or her type of cancer, the different options that are available to fight it and how effective those methods are. Continue Reading »
Acupuncture originated in China thousands of years ago and is now used throughout the world. According to Chinese medical theory, acupuncture works by promoting the flow of chi, or energy, throughout the body and by balancing yin and yang.
From a Western medical perspective, acupuncture has known effects at many levels – from the local effects of increasing blood flow and relaxing muscles, to complicated changes in neurotransmitters and neural pathways in the spinal cord and brain.
Numerous clinical studies have shown benefits with the most evidence for migraine prevention, and chronic neck and back pain. It works well for many types of pain including myofascial and neuropathic pain, as well as headaches, fatigue, nausea, anxiety, menstrual cramps and many other problems. Continue Reading »