For good reason, conventional cancer care—such as chemotherapy, radiation and surgery—is where most people start. Conventional cancer treatments offer the only proven cures for cancer. They may also extend and improve life when cures are not possible. We regard conventional care as the starting place in creating your integrativein cancer care, a patient-centered approach combining the best of conventional care, self care and evidence-informed complementary care in an integrated plan cancer care.
We worry when someone with a cancer that is curable with conventional treatments decides to try complementaryin cancer care, complementary care involves the use of therapies intended to enhance or add to standard conventional treatments; examples include supplements, mind-body approaches such as yoga or psychosocial therapy, and acupuncture therapies alone. We know their cancer may progress and become incurable. We’ve seen that happen too many times.
Yet conventional therapies have limits. They can’t cure many cancers. They are often difficult to undergo.
The demands of delivering good conventional care in the brief time physicians have for each patient leave little space for advising you on integrative care. Some hospitals have integrative care centers. They may provide a starting place for what integrative care can be.
Regrettably, the American medical system is deeply influenced by for-profit market forces. Profit considerations may influence the therapies you are offered, what your insurance will pay for, and what it won’t pay for. You need to know that.
Still, modern medicine is an endlessly evolving medical miracle machine. Advances in almost every field of cancer care emerge all the time. You need to make this medical miracle machine work for you.
Don’t be rushed into treatment if you can help it. Ask how much time you can take to evaluate choices and reach a decision.
You should do what doctors do when they or a loved one has cancer. They almost always talk to more than one oncologist or surgeon. They do additional research and take a very careful look at their choices.
No decisions will be more fateful than your choices in conventional cancer therapies. Make them with care.
Wishing you well,
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