Area medical professionals who are responding to patient demand for a new approach to treating cancer. Emerging scientific research suggests that patients who supplement traditional treatment with alternative practices, including energy therapy, massage, exercise, and social and psychological support, may experience better treatment outcomes and lower rates of cancer recurrence. Fedasz and her colleagues say that the benefits go beyond treating the disease. Alternative therapies also enhance self-esteem and connect patients to support networks, helping them to maintain a positive outlook and a high quality of life through diagnosis, treatment, and survivorship. Dr. Lawrence Kushi, Associate Director of Research for Kaiser Permanente’s Northern California division, says there is growing evidence that exercise and nutrition can affect cancer survival rates. In 2004, Kushi and his colleagues launched a long-term study to evaluate the impact of diet, exercise, and alternative therapies on breast cancer patients. Although the study’s final results are still pending, the researchers have garnered enough evidence to support one important conclusion: cancer patients are enthusiastic about alternative medicine. A preliminary paper published by Kushi and his collaborators in 2009 reported that over 86 percent of the study participants had used some type of non-traditional treatment, such as herbal supplements or mind-body healing, in the months following their diagnosis. With patients showing this degree of interest, mainstream health care providers have begun to acknowledge alternative medicine as a powerful complement to traditional practice. Dr. Gordon Ray, Department Chair of Radiation Therapy at the Palo Alto Medical Foundation, encouraged Fedasz to pursue Healing Touch training after he learned about the therapy from a patient. When she began her training in 2007, Fedasz recalls, the Foundation “wasn’t quite ready for it.” But since Fedasz began practicing Healing Touch in the oncology department two years ago, her colleagues have grown more enthusiastic. “Jeanette was a leader in this, but now it’s become much more a part of the program,” Ray says. “It surprised me the degree to which it’s really been embraced.” The Foundation now offers several alternative treatment options free of charge to cancer patients, ranging from Healing Touch to art classes, exercise programs, nutrition guidance, and group counseling. For Ray and others, the strongest argument for embracing alternative treatments is one of
d r . dav i d s p i e g e l
m ic h e l l e d u g uay EUCALYPTUSMAGAZINE.COM | 21
Published on Jun 19, 2011
Published on Jun 19, 2011
This issue features articles about alternative cancer care, artisan organic ice cream, raw food diet, biodynamic farming and summer fun. Fo...