The experience of a person who is given a cancer diagnosis is similar to that of a soldier who is given orders by his officers to parachute into a jungle war zone without a map, a compass, or training of any kind.

Michael Lerner, Co-founder of CancerChoices

A letter from Laura

Wherever you are in your cancer experience, you’ve found your way to CancerChoices. You may find that as you enter each section of the path of living with cancer, it feels unfamiliar and maybe even daunting. Nowadays there are so many choices and directions you could go, that you may want to be outfitted with a map and tools and a guide to explore these choices and come up with the best plan for you. Cancer Choices offers to be a map for you—a well annotated one at that.

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A letter from Laura

As stated by Jon Kabat-Zinn and Michael Lerner:1Lerner M. Choices In Healing: Integrating The Best of Conventional and Complementary Approaches to Cancer. MIT Press. 1994. pp i and xix.

A diagnosis of cancer can be so overwhelming and our health care system so bewildering and impersonal, that one often doesn’t know where to turn or whom to trust. Many people want to know all their options, only to discover that cancer and its treatment, conventional and otherwise, is a universe into itself. The more common problem facing most people with cancer today is not that there are no choices, but rather the absence of credible maps—and training in reading these maps—when actually trying to traverse the forbidding landscape of cancer diagnosis and treatment.

Before I go further, let me ask: Do you feel like you are in a crisis right now? If you are, please go to In Crisis › first to catch your breath and find your bearings.

If you aren’t in crisis and you’re ready to begin mapping out your journey and moving forward, keep reading.

Perhaps you’re the kind of person who wants to be an active participant in your care. You may ultimately follow your doctor’s recommendations, but you also want to know about what all might bolster your chances of doing well. Options that your doctor may not tell you about or even know about.

We know this territory. We interpret this language. We have navigation tools. We’re here as a virtual guide—especially if you want to use not only the best of conventionalthe cancer care offered by conventionally trained physicians and most hospitals; examples are chemotherapy, surgery, and radiotherapy therapies, but also self care lifestyle actions and behaviors that may impact cancer outcomes; examples include eating health-promoting foods, limiting alcohol, increasing physical activity, and managing stress and 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 care that enhance conventional care and/or improve your experience as you go through treatment and beyond.

We suggest you ask yourself, “What’s right for me now based on where I am in the cancer experience?” We’ve pulled together maps of sections of CancerChoices to explore based on where you are in your cancer experience.

We are honored that you are considering letting us be a guide by your side along your path. May it be a path that leads to healing of whatever needs healing in your life.

Take care,

Laura

Laura Pole, RN, MSN, OCNS Senior Clinical Consultant
Laura Pole, RN, MSN, OCNS Senior Clinical Consultant

Guidance at each phase of cancer

Authors

Laura Pole, RN, MSN, OCNS

Senior Clinical Consultant
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Laura Pole is senior clinical consultant for CancerChoices. Laura is an oncology clinical nurse specialist who has been providing integrative oncology clinical care, navigation, consultation, and education services for over 40 years. She is the co-creator and co-coordinator of the Integrative Oncology Navigation Training at Smith Center for Healing and the Arts in Washington, DC. Laura also manages the “Media Watch Cancer News That You Can Use” listserv for Smith Center/Commonweal. In her role as a palliative care educator and consultant, Laura has served as statewide Respecting Choices Faculty for the Virginia POST (Physician Orders for Scope of Treatment) Collaborative as well as provided statewide professional education on palliative and end-of-life care for the Virginia Association for Hospices and Palliative Care.

For CancerChoices, Laura curates content and research, networks with clinical and organizational partners, brings awareness and education of integrative oncology at professional and patient conferences and programs, and translates research into information relevant to the patient experience as well as clinical practice.

Laura sees her work with CancerChoices as a perfect alignment of all her passions, knowledge and skills in integrative oncology care. She is honored to serve you.

Laura Pole, RN, MSN, OCNS Senior Clinical Consultant

Last update: March 29, 2022

CancerChoices provides information about integrative in 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 review 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 and self-care lifestyle actions and behaviors that may impact cancer outcomes; examples include eating health-promoting foods, limiting alcohol, increasing physical activity, and managing stress practices to help patients and professionals explore and integrate the best combination of conventionalthe cancer care offered by conventionally trained physicians and most hospitals; examples are chemotherapy, surgery, and radiotherapy and complementary therapies and practices for each person.

Our staff have no financial conflicts of interest to declare. We receive no funds from any manufacturers or retailers gaining financial profit by promoting or discouraging therapies mentioned on this site.

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