A Beginner’s Guide to Integrative Oncology

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Integrative Oncology is the practice of drawing on evidence-based complementary therapies in conjunction with conventional cancer treatments to improve your overall well-being. It includes mind-body medicine, nutritional support and may consist of botanical medicines, supplements, acupuncture, massage therapy, and other approaches in addition to conventional medical therapeutic modalities. You are encouraged to reduce stress and pain and improve your quality of life. Although this is a field that has been practiced by Salt Lake City integrative oncology practitioners for some time, there has been an increase in interest from patients and doctors over the last few years. Integrative Oncology shows promising results beyond symptom management; by optimizing your health before diagnosis, reducing side effects from therapies, and optimizing your immune response to cancer, some practitioners are seeing increased survival rates.

Types of cancers that may benefit from Integrative Oncology

  • Breast Cancer
  • Colon Cancer
  • Prostate Cancer
  • Melanoma
  • Leukemia
  • Thyroid Cancer

This is not an exhaustive list. Integrative Oncology may be beneficial for many types of cancer and should always go hand in hand with conventional therapies under the care of your primary oncologists. Integrative Oncology is not meant to replace traditional medical treatment. Your primary care physician should always be involved in your overall treatment plan, and you should never alter or discontinue treatments without their approval. It would be best if you also discuss any complementary therapies with your oncologists before starting.

Benefits of Integrative Oncology Therapies

Many integrative cancer therapies have been shown to reduce side effects from conventional cancer therapies. These side-effects can include pain, nausea, fatigue, and other symptoms that can be reduced or eliminated with complementary treatments. In addition, many forms of integrative cancer treatment can strengthen the immune system, improve psychological well-being and quality of life, and extend the lifespan of patients with cancer.

Cancer, as a disease, has been shown to cause both physical and psychological stress. Integrative Oncology aims to target these factors as well as the tumor itself through complementary therapies. In addition to reducing side effects from cancer or its treatment, many integrative medicine therapies may also reduce your stress levels. This, in turn, has been shown to reduce the risk of relapse or metastasis (spreading). Similarly, some therapies may improve your emotional well-being and help you feel more at ease with your diagnosis.

How to Choose an Integrative Oncology 

When choosing an integrative oncology physician, the most important thing to look for is your comfort level. The best integrative cancer doctor for you will be someone who respects and understands your wishes and can help you feel at ease when discussing your treatment options.

To summarize, integrative oncology is the practice of drawing on evidence-based complementary therapies in conjunction with conventional cancer treatments to improve your overall well-being. It can help treat different forms of cancer, including breast cancer, colon cancer, and prostate cancer, among others. Integrative oncology reduces the side effects of other cancer treatments and the psychological and emotional stress associated with the disease. Make sure you choose a practice that understands your personal needs and can make you feel at ease when discussing the different treatment options.

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