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Health Information Complementing Your Cancer Care

The stresses of a cancer diagnosis can be overwhelming. Add to this the sometimes uncomfortable and exhausting treatments, and the whole experience can start to take its toll not only on the body, but on the mind and spirit as well.

Fortunately, there are a number of techniques that can nourish the mind, body and spirit, while going through the cancer treatment process.

"Sometimes just thinking about going through treatment can trigger anxiety or depression," says Janine Gauthier, PhD, director of clinical services for Rush's cancer integrative medicine program. "With our program, we can help people lift their spirits and manage their stress. We don't want them feeling so overwhelmed that it adds distress or, worse, makes them resistance to having treatment."

"Our goal is to provide the emotional tools to help patients cope," says Gauthier. "The ultimate plan is to help patients thrive and speed them toward recovery."

Finding a Safe, Comfortable Plan
"Typically, when we first visit with patients, they need help just knowing where to start," Gauthier says. "We help them navigate their way through what is often unfamiliar territory. We collaborate with the individual to determine what they want and need. We help them put together a treatment plan of the most appropriate complementary therapies for them at whatever point in the process they find themselves."

Avoiding Risk
Part of the process is keeping the patient safe, while avoiding therapies that may not work well with a given treatment or cause an unfavorable interaction. "We want to help patients integrate complementary approaches with their medical care without putting them at risk for medical complications," Gauthier says.

"People sometimes want to take a particular nutritional supplement, for example," she says. "This could work against the treatment or cause unwanted interactions. Our program can connect the patient with a pharmacist who is well versed on herbs and nutritional supplements to help the patient avoid any problems. We have a nutritionist on staff to help set up a plan so that patients get the extra nutrients they may need."

Many people think that just because it's "natural" it should be safe. "You want to always check with your physician," says Gauthier. "There are times when getting something as seemingly harmless as a massage may not be a good idea. It all depends on your specific situation. We can help you avoid putting yourself at risk for medical complications."

Taking Your Power Back
"People can get knocked off their feet by the initial diagnosis of cancer. We help give them control back," says Gauthier. "We provide additional skills and tools to use when they need them most."


  • Dr. Gauthier will speak on mind/body techniques for enhancing your health and relieving stress on Saturday, March 10, 2007, at 9:00 a.m. in Room 540 of the Armour Academic Center on Rush University Medical Center in Chicago. Dr. Gauthier will be joined by a nutritionist and an acupuncturist.

    Phone 888 352-RUSH (888 352-7874) for more information or to register. Or visit the Upcoming Events page. You can also use the registration request form to register online.

More Information at Your Fingertips:

  • For more information about cancer care at Rush visit our Cancer Programs home page.
  • Looking for a doctor? Call toll free: 888 352-RUSH (888 352-7874)

Please note: All physicians featured in Discover Rush Online are on the medical faculty of Rush University Medical Center. Some of the physicians featured are in private practice and, as independent practitioners, are not agents or employees of Rush University Medical Center.

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