Dear Friend

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 Co-Founder

Introduction

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.

Resources to help you make key choices in cancer care

Within this handbook

Other handbooks

Find support

Resources

Radical Remission Project

A community of patients, friends and family, health professionals, and Radical Remission survivors—when someone heals against all odds

Radical Remission Project

Dancing with Cancer and How I Learned to Lead

Our colleague and volunteer guide Lindsay McDonell shares her story and insights on surviving and thriving with cancer.

Dancing with Cancer and How I Learned to Lead: A Guide to Becoming an Advocate for Personalized Cancer Care

Keep reading about how to integrate your choices

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

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

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

Last update: May 24, 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.