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Breast Cancer Awareness 2015

Dalton Daily CItizen, Dalton Magazine

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Complementary therapies, such as acupuncture or massage, are moving into the mainstream as emerging research and anecdotal evidence suggests that the road to recovery isn't always paved with traditional medicine alone By Dana Carman CTW Features One of the most frequent questions Dr. Cesar Santa-Maria, an oncologist with Chicago's Northwestern Medicine, gets from breast cancer patients is, "What else can I be doing to improve my outcome?" As the holistic approach to healing has become more mainstream overall, increasing numbers of providers are offering and suggesting complementary therapies to assist breast cancer patients during treatment. Not to be confused with alternative medicine, which takes the place of traditional medicine, "these complementary therapies are designed to help strengthen the patient's immune system and to help the patient manage the side effects of the conventional cancer treatment," says Shana Deneen, a naturopathic oncology provider with Cancer Treatment Centers of America (CTCA) in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Taken together with traditional treatment, there is growing evidence as well as anecdotal evidence that complementary therapies can improve outcomes and quality of life. "I think if there is a one-size-fits-all complementary therapy, it is exercise," says Tim Pearman, Ph.D., director of supportive oncology for the Robert H. Lurie Comprehensive Cancer Center in Chicago. "Physical activity helps to boost immunity, reduce inflammation, reverse insulin resistance, build strong bones and support healthy digestion," Deneen says. Its vast benefits support whole body health, which is the basis of complementary treatments. Other treatments may include acupuncture, massage therapy, nutritional guidance and support, hydrotherapy, yoga, prayer, music or art therapy and counseling. Not all therapies are created equal, however, and even providers that specialize in natural healing caution that self-prescribing therapies is not best. There are nontraditional treatments that may seem fine in theory, but may interact or counteract the effects of the necessary traditional treatments a patient is receiving. For example, Deneen points out studies suggest that curcumin, a supplement used to combat inflammation, can interfere with Adriamycin, a common chemotherapy for breast cancer. "It's essential to have a deep level of understanding of natural therapies in order to make safe and appropriate recommendations for patients undergoing cancer treatments," Deneen says. While years ago complementary therapies were seen as Breast Cancer Awareness 2015 8 Whole-Body HEALING

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