Holistic cancer treatment
Caring for the whole patient
When you are diagnosed with cancer, it may seem like your world is falling apart.
At Rush University Medical Center in Chicago, a new program can help you start putting it back together. The Cancer Integrative Medicine Program focuses on the emotional, psychological and spiritual effects of cancer, offering new therapies that complement the innovative medical treatments at Rush, says Janine Gauthier, PhD, director of clinical services for the program.
“We created this program to improve the quality of life for our cancer patients,” Gauthier says. With the new services, Rush looks beyond the illness to treat the whole person.
Lightening the load
According to Gauthier, this means making stress relief a top priority.
“Stress is a huge issue for people with cancer,” she says. In fact, it can worsen pain and even weaken the immune system. (For more on how stress can affect your health, see the Fall 2006 issue of Discover Rush, available online at www.rush.edu/discover.)
When patients get relief from stress, they gain a sense of control and may even tolerate their medical treatments better, Gauthier says.
The new program offers the following complementary therapies:
- Acupuncture uses hair-thin needles to help manage pain.
- Biofeedback uses monitoring equipment to teach muscle relaxation and help relieve pain.
- Yoga combines movement, poses and deep breathing to promote relaxation.
- Massage relaxes muscles, reduces stress and may also boost the immune system.
- Nutritional counseling by a registered dietitian and a personalized nutrition plan help to sustain health through treatment.
- Herbal counseling with a pharmacist identifies which herbal medicines may be helpful and which may interact with other medications.
A holistic approach
The combination of one or more of these therapies with mainstream care builds on the strong connection between body and mind, Gauthier says.
The program also places importance on family connections. In fact, families are welcome to use any of the new services, and support groups are available for both patients and families.
- Join us on Saturday, March 10, for the free class “Combining Complementary Therapies With Traditional Cancer Treatment.” To register or learn more about the Cancer Integrative Medicine Program, call (888) 352-RUSH (888 352-7874).
Cancer Care at Rush
When it comes to treating cancer, experience matters. And Rush University Medical Center in Chicago, Illinois, has it, with one of the Midwest’s largest and most comprehensive cancer treatment programs, combining leading-edge therapies with vital emotional support.
For more information, visit the Cancer Programs home page.
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