Integrating your conventional, complementary and self care therapies is often challenging.
With conventional treatments, be clear about your goals and what to expect.
With self-care, the 7 Healing Practices are a powerful approach to self-healing that cost little or nothing.
With complementary care, the choices are numerous. We recommend working with experienced and credentialed practitioners.
Our deeply researched reviews of complementary therapies can help.
Some people achieve lasting complete remissions from advanced cancer using an integrative approach. This is well documented by our colleague Kelly Turner in her book and ongoing Radical Remission Project.
Cancer survival curves show that many patients live far longer than the median survival. Complementary therapies and self-care practices are often prominent in longer-term survival. Radical remissions are simply the endpoint of the extended survival curves.
While radical remissions are rare, life beyond median survival isn’t rare at all. By definition, half of all cancer patients survive beyond the median survival point. It makes perfect sense that people who wisely choose their conventional and complementary therapies and who practice self care are likely to live better and longer than those who don’t.
We’ve known hundreds of people in the Commonweal Cancer Help Program who lived lives worth living for far longer than their physicians expected.
Wishing you well,
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.
Combining the best of conventionalthe cancer care offered by conventionally trained physicians and most hospitals; examples are chemotherapy, surgery, and radiotherapy, 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, and self carelifestyle actions and behaviors that may impact cancer outcomes; examples include eating health-promoting foods, limiting alcohol, increasing physical activity, and managing stress when you have been diagnosed with cancer can make a difference in your health and quality of life.
The number of 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 centers and providers is growing. You will find differences between one integrative center and another, and between one integrative treatment team and another. The term “integrative” doesn’t always indicate use of the same therapies or approaches.
While you may be able to find an integrative cancer center that offers all that you are looking for, you may also need to build your own team to design a personalized integrative approach. We offer a variety of resources to help inform your choices in cancer care.