Expert recommendations

Both medical groups and integrative experts provide recommendations for Creating a Healing Environment. Learn more about the approaches and meanings of recommendations.

Clinical practice guidelines

NCCN recommends bright white light therapy to treat fatigue among people in active treatment or after treatment. 1250–10,000 lux is most frequently self-administered in the early morning for 30–90 minutes. Timing needs to be adjusted for those who sleep during the day (category 2A recommendationBased upon lower-level evidence, there is uniform NCCN consensus that the intervention is appropriate.).

Integrative programs, protocols, and approaches

These published programs from integrative experts advocate a healing environment as a central part of your anticancer approach.

Lise Alschuler, ND, FABNO, and Karolyn Gazella

Approaches are described for certain cancer types, or along with certain conventional therapy treatments, or for particular conditions such as insulin resistance.

Keith Block, MD

Block KI. Life over Cancer: The Block Center Program for Integrative Cancer Care. New York: Bantam Dell. 2009.

The integrative Block Program has recommendations to people who are at different places along the cancer continuum:

  • Those who’ve been recently diagnosed
  • Those in treatment
  • Those who’ve concluded treatment and need to remain vigilant to prevent recurrence

Lorenzo Cohen, PhD, and Alison Jefferies, MEd

Cohen L, Jefferies A. Anticancer Living: Transform Your Life and Health with the Mix of Six. New York: Viking. 2018.

This book introduces the concept of the Mix of Six, which is identical to six of our 7 Healing Practices ›

Dr. Cohen and Ms. Jefferies explain that while each plays an inde­pendent role, the synergy created by all six factors can radically transform health, delay or prevent many cancers, support conventional treatments, and significantly improve quality of life.

Jeremy Geffen, MD

Geffen J. The Seven Levels of Healing. Audio CD – 2002

Geffen J. The Journey Through Cancer: An Oncologist’s Seven-Level Program for Healing and Transforming the Whole Person. New York, New York: Three Rivers Press. 2006.

Geffen J. The Seven Levels of Healing. Presented at Cancer as a Turning Point Conference in Seattle, Washington in 2006.

Dr. Geffen developed a healing program based on what he calls The Seven Levels of Healing. It is a program of body, mind, heart, and spirit for healing and transforming the whole person.

Gerald Lemole, MD; Pallav Mehta, MD; and Dwight McKee, MD

Lemole G, Mehta P, McKee D. After Cancer Care: The Definitive Self-Care Guide to Getting and Staying Well for Patients with Cancer. New York, New York: Rodale, Inc. 2015.

These doctors present easy-to-incorporate lifestyle changes to help you “turn on” hundreds of genes that fight cancer, and “turn off” the ones that encourage cancer, while recommending lifestyle approaches to address each type.

Barbara MacDonald, ND, LAc

MacDonald B. The Breast Cancer Companion—A Complementary Care Manual: Third Edition. Self-published. 2016.

Naturopathic physician Barbara MacDonald provides information about breast cancer, its conventional treatment, and natural approaches to enhancing treatment, managing side effects, reducing risk of recurrence, and healthy living after cancer treatment is completed.

Neil McKinney, BSc, ND

McKinney N. Naturopathic Oncology, Fourth Edition. Victoria, BC, Canada: Liaison Press. 2020.

This book includes descriptions and uses of many natural and complementary protocols for cancer in general and for specific cancers. It also includes information on integrative support during conventional cancer treatment.

Traditional medicine

Traditional medicine systems often recognize the importance of your environment in your healing. 

The ancient healing practices of Chinese medicine are founded in the natural elements and encourage living within the most natural setting attainable, automatically setting oneself up to living in a healing environment optimally free of harmful exposures and being in natural environments with beneficial surroundings like fresh air, natural sunlight, and clean water. 

As we spend more time indoors than our ancestors have, our connection with our surroundings, feeling safe and at ease in a clean and comfortable environment, is important to our health. Chinese medicine applies the same principles of yin and yang balance to not only our physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual health, but also to our surrounding environment and how it may affect our health and wellness.

Imbalances either in ourselves or our environment can create susceptibilities. An imbalance in our environment may create a source of harmful exposures, such as harmful mold. 

Feng shui is a healing practice and preventive form of medicine that is rooted in the practice of nature to create a healing environment.

Learn more about traditional medicine and how to find practitioners.

Other recommendations

These organizations all recommend behaviors to reduce sun and ultraviolet (UV) exposure:

  • Seek shade. Limit your direct exposure to the sun, especially between 10 am and 4 pm when UV rays are strongest.
  • Cover up. When you are out, wear clothing and a wide-brimmed hat to protect as much skin as possible. Protect your eyes with wrap-around sunglasses that block at least 99% of UV light.
  • Use a broad-spectrum sunscreen with an SPF of at least 30. Reapply at least every 2 hours, as well as after swimming or sweating.
  • Monitor the UV indexa measure of the level of UV radiation; it may be reported by weather or public safety agencies in your region. Plan your outdoor activities in ways that prevent overexposure to the sun’s rays.
  • Avoid times of peak sunlight. The sun’s UV rays are the strongest between 10 am and 4 pm.
  • Avoid tanning beds and sunlamps. Both can cause serious long-term skin damage and contribute to skin cancer.
Integrative oncologist and CancerChoices advisor Donald Abrams, MD, explains why all cancer patients (and everyone else as well) should be eating organic food.

Resources

Keep reading

Authors

Nancy Hepp, MS

Lead Researcher and Program Manager
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Ms. Hepp is a researcher and communicator who has been writing and editing educational content on varied health topics for more than 20 years. She serves as lead researcher, program manager, and writer for CancerChoices. Her graduate work in research and cognitive psychology, her master’s degree in instructional design, and her certificate in web design have all guided her in writing and presenting information for a wide variety of audiences and uses. Nancy’s service as faculty development coordinator in the Department of Family Medicine at Wright State University also provided experience in medical research, plus insights into medical education and medical care from the professional’s perspective.

Nancy Hepp, MS Lead Researcher and Program Manager

Maria Williams

Research and Communications Consultant
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Maria Williams is a research and communications consultant who brings over 15 years’ experience in research, consumer education, and science communication to CancerChoices. She has worked primarily in public health and environmental health.

Maria Williams Research and Communications Consultant

Reviewer

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: November 22, 2022

Last full literature review: March 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.