Healing is a return to wholeness. It is always possible whether or not your cancer can be cured.

What is the true meaning of healing? Healing is movement toward wholeness.

Healing is different from curing. A cure is a medical treatment that ends a disease process. Healing can take place at any point in our lives. It can manifest physically, emotionally, mentally, and/or spiritually.

Heal the body—What is your body asking for? Your body may feel better with better food, more movement, relaxation, or other healing practices.

Heal the heart—Great loss can bring immense waves of feelings. We may go into shock. It may take time before we allow ourselves to feel. That’s where friends, counselors, support groups, therapists and other places to share feelings can help. We may find better ways to face grief, anxiety or depression. We may heal old relationships. We may allow relationships that no longer serve us to end. We may find new friends and loves. We may even learn to love ourselves. Love is the greatest healer. Love transforms us. It is never too late to love.

Heal the mind—Our beliefs shape us. We can change them. We can heal our stories about ourselves and the world. We can let go of old ways of thinking that hinder healing. You might believe your cancer is a punishment. You might believe you are not worthy of love. You might believe you have no power to change what is happening. None of these beliefs is true. We can heal our minds and find better ways to see ourselves and the world.

Discover spirit—Spirit seeks us. Whatever your beliefs—religious, spiritual, or secular, the human spirit is our birthright. We need only to remember it. Spirit speaks to each of us in different ways. No need to believe in God to discover spirit. Call it a sense of meaning or purpose. Call it what you love most. Spirit, like love, is one of the ultimate sources of healing. Many believe spirit and love are actually one.

Paths to healing

There are common paths to healing with cancer, such as these 7 Healing Practices. They reinforce each other to strengthen physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual healing.

There are also paths unique to you. You may need healing from childhood trauma, the loss of a family member, a bad relationship, or some other disappointment. You may also find healing with a pet, a child, a new love, or time in nature.

CancerChoices key leadership have had the privilege of walking with hundreds of people with cancer and their loved ones in intimate week-long retreats. We have found time and again that when participants explore what needs healing in their lives, what is often discovered, to their surprise, is that what needs healing has very little to do with cancer. Addressing what needs healing has brought a sense of wholeness to their lives. Some would say their lives were transformed by it.

A cancer diagnosis may open the gates to inner powers of healing we never imagined in ordinary life.

What Is Healing?

Janie Brown, co-founder and executive director of the Callanish Society, explores the nature of the healing that arises among people with cancer communing together in retreat.

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Our Options in Responding to a Cancer Diagnosis

CancerChoices advisor Wayne B. Jonas, MD, discusses our options in responding to cancer: by waging a war against it, or by focusing on healing.

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Your choices in healing with cancer

Curing cancer is what we are all aiming for. We at CancerChoices offer insights on how to have the best chance at either curing or controlling cancer.

Yet even as you are hoping for a cure, you will have opportunities to heal with cancer. When you explore what needs healing, and address it, the dynamics that underlie what is needed for a cure may change in your favor.

If you find that curing is not possible, healing still is. Healing is a return to wholeness. It’s innate in each of us. It is always possible whether or not your cancer can be cured.

In my experience, not one single person that I’ve ever been privileged to work with has had a deep and long-lasting healing transformation in their physical body without having an equally deep healing transformation in their heart, in their emotional body.

Jeremy Geffen, MD, Integrative Oncologist


Michael Lerner is co-founder of Commonweal and co-founder of the Commonweal Cancer Help Program, Healing Circles, The New School at Commonweal, and CancerChoices. He has led more than 200 Commonweal Cancer Help Program retreats to date. His book Choices In Healing: Integrating the Best of Conventional and Complementary Approaches to Cancer was the first book on integrative cancer care to be well received by prominent medical journals as well as by the patient and integrative cancer care community.

Michael Lerner Co-Founder

Miki Scheidel

Co-Founder and Creative Director
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Miki Scheidel is Co-founder and creative director of CancerChoices. She led the effort to transform Beyond Conventional Cancer Therapies, the prior version of CancerChoices, to its current form. Miki and her family were deeply affected by her father’s transformative experience with integrative approaches to metastatic kidney cancer. That experience inspires her work as president of the Scheidel Foundation and as volunteer staff at CancerChoices. She previously worked with the US Agency for International Development and Family Health International among other roles. She received her graduate degree in international development from Georgetown University, a graduate certificate in nonprofit management from George Mason University, and a Bachelor of Arts from Gettysburg College.

Miki Scheidel Co-Founder and Creative Director


Nancy Hepp, MS

Lead Researcher
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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 and writer for CancerChoices and also served as the first program manager. 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

Whitney You, MD, MPH

Maternal-Fetal Medicine Physician
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Dr. You is a physician specializing in maternal-fetal medicine (MFM) with a specific interest in cancer in the context of pregnancy. She completed a postdoctoral fellowship in health services research with a focus in health literacy and received a Master of Public Health.

Whitney You, MD, MPH Maternal-Fetal Medicine Physician

Last update: May 1, 2024

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.