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Steps to Learn about a Cancer Diagnosis, Research and Treatments

People diagnosed with cancer benefit from learning about their disease. Settling into their new health challenge, cancer patients and caregivers become empowered by educating themselves about three major topics: cancer diagnosis, cancer research, and cancer treatments.

Where are some important resources where cancer patients and caregivers find information? As a to learn about a cancer diagnosis, use resources for basic cancer information about the diagnosis.

1. Learn about a cancer diagnosis through the National Cancer Institute, American Society of Clinical Oncology’s Cancer.Net, and National Comprehensive Cancer Network’s Clinical Practice Guidelines in Oncology. Find more information about these and other cancer resources in our Top Cancer Resources section.

2. Contact non-profit organizations specializing in the cancer type and cancer diagnosis. Visit each organization’s website and call them requesting their educational materials with other services, including phone consultations if available. Find cancer specific non-profit organizations in our Top Cancer Resources section.

3. Look into other helpful, informative cancer organizations with basic cancer information in Top Cancer Resources, Conventional Cancer Treatments and Related Resources, Step 2.
Focus on collecting this information to learn about the cancer. Order educational materials sent by mail. Print articles and reports from different websites. Create folders and binders. Organize knowledge. Use a notebook too with notes, questions, and even conversations. Consider a voice recorder during some consultations. Apply a computer as well.

As a second step to learn about cancer research and treatments, many resources online help people look into published cancer research studies for their condition and even innovative cancer treatments.

4. Explore high quality research regarding a cancer diagnosis and potential cancer treatments. The goal is to find the best possible care. In our Locating Relevant Cancer Research, our educational information helps with researching cancer treatments. This includes how to use PubMed as well as other reliable sources to find published cancer studies and many other types of scientific cancer information, including clinical trials.

5. Research American Society of Clinical Oncology’s conferences and meetings that list some cutting-edge results about conventional cancer treatments.
Cancer research can feel overwhelming. But high quality cancer education and decision-making help people improve their cancer outcomes. Remember to explore these basic steps to learn about a cancer diagnosis, cancer research, and cancer treatments.

Learning about cancer, people also benefit from other forms of support related to their cancer type and therapies. Another option involves Integrative Guides working as trained professionals that provide supportive guidance and resources to cancer patients and caregivers. Services may include researching, helping with evaluating options, identifying providers, assisting in decision-making, other planning, and support.

Along with researching conventional cancer treatments, many cancer patients benefit from whole person, holistic cancer care. Studies indicate that integrative cancer care improves quality of life and survival. Learn about creating an integrative cancer care plan through Maps to Integrative Cancer Care and some help from Integrative Providers & Clinics.

Other forms of cancer information can be found through our Resources topics. EmbodiWorks provides essential information to educate and empower people through cancer. Tell us what you think and need.

Integrative, Holistic, Complementary and Alternative Cancer Conferences to Attend

What are some top-notch educational and empowering integrative, holistic, complementary and alternative cancer conferences and events for you or someone you know to consider attending? As someone who attended many cancer conferences since 1998 and for EmbodiWorks the last few years, a brain tumor survivor for over thirteen years, and with lots of professional cancer work, I’ll tell you some of the top conferences and events. The four organizations listed here are wonderful non-profits. Definitely check out their websites for more information.

Healing Journeys offers various conferences each year, including on the West coast particular in the San Francisco Bay area and Sacramento. Cancer as a Turning Point From Surviving and Thriving represents their biggest and best-known conference addressing body, mind, and spirit with up to 1,000 attendees. Jan Adrian, Founder and Executive Director of Healing Journeys, incorporates integrative, holistic cancer care into Cancer as a Turning Point through her heart and soul, with profound knowledge and wisdom about whole person cancer care. A snapshot of the speakers at Cancer as a Turning Point on September 17, 2011 in Napa, California included MDs, PhDs, nurses, cancer survivors, stories through storytelling, music by the incredible Gary Malkin, and integrative cancer care by the wonderful Lise Alschuler, ND. Healing Journeys has other events this year such as The Cancer-Fighting Kitchen Workshop and more amazing events planned for 2012, including Cancer as a Turning Point on June 23 & 24, 2012 in Spartanburg, South Carolina and September 8 & 9, 2012 in Sacramento, California.

Annie Appleseed Project began offering a conference Evidence-Based Complementary/Alternative Cancer Therapies in West Palm Beach, Florida in 2008.  Ann Fonfa, the fabulous founder and Executive Director, continues the conference in the same location annually with the 5th Evidence-Based Complementary/Alternative Cancer Therapies on March 1-3, 2012 (many speakers already confirmed). For the first time, Annie Appleseed Project will also provide a conference in San Francisco the end of September 14 & 15, 2012. A wonderful experience with quality speakers, the Annie Appleseed Project conference gives cancer patients new information related to their treatments, health, and healing with, through, and beyond cancer. Topics presented at their March 2011 Annie Appleseed Project conference included therapies for understanding and treating the internal terrain in the body, nutrition, supplements, Vitamin C IV infusions, treatments specific for certain types of cancer, insulin potentiation therapy, cancer treatments in Europe, mind-body support, qi gong, yoga, and other topics. I attended their 2011 conference and presented my brain tumor journey on a patient panel with three other survivors. Along with conferences, the Annie Appleseed Project has an educational website about complementary and alternative cancer.

Urban Zen, an extraordinary non-profit in New York City created by Donna Karan, offers high quality cancer events. Food Solutions 2011: A Gateway To Healing- Navigating Cancer on October 5, 2011 at Urban Zen will teach about the role of food in health and healing when dealing with cancer. Another wonderful offering is the Urban Zen Integrative Therapy (UZIT) Program integrating eastern healing modalities with western medicine for patients, their loved ones, and caregivers. Modalities include yoga therapy, reiki, essential oil therapy, nutrition, and contemplative care. Learn more about Urban Zen’s incredible holistic health events and offerings for the whole person.

Society for Integrative Oncology (SIO), primarily for health professionals to the study and application of complementary therapies for cancer patients, has an annual conference. Check out the Eighth International Conference of the Society for Integrative Oncology on November 10-12, 2011 in Cleveland, Ohio. While the majority at the SIO conference are health care providers and professionals, cancer advocates, patients, and caregivers also attend. Read their dynamic agenda this year with very interesting speakers to consider attendance. Know that many presentations are highly technical.

You can also find other integrative, holistic, complementary and alternative cancer conferences from sources such as organizations and hospitals. Integrative Medicine: Wellness Throughout Treatment and Survivorship Webinar on Wednesday, October 5, 2011, with Mary Hardy, MD and Anne Coscarelli, PhD, both of the University of California, San Francisco, Center for Integrative Oncology. But note that the event is not cancer-specific.

Of course, I’ll continue to attend cancer conferences connecting and collaborating with colleagues and collecting more integrative cancer care resources for EmbodiWorks!

Five to Thrive Steps to Cancer Prevention

Do you know about five major areas of your physical health that helps to reduce your cancer risk? A new book Five to Thrive: Your Cutting-Edge Cancer Prevention Plan by Lise N. Alschuler, ND, FABNO, and Karolyn A. Gazella shares five vital, vibrant steps to greater health.

With easy to understand information and inspiring tips to live better and longer, Dr. Alschuler and Karolyn Gazella explain five pathways as 1) Immune 2) Inflammation 3) Hormones 4) Insulin Resistance 5) Digestion/Detoxification. These areas are ways in your life that maybe you’ve thought about before and perhaps even with some medical attention. With some current studies and cutting-edge, comprehensive information, this book has the potential to help you go further improving your health and life. If you are only beginning to learn about your health and healing to reduce cancer risk, this book provides clear information and steps forward.

The cancer prevention plan in Five to Thrive shares how pathways are parts of your body that impact your physical health. Various ways that you live impacting your health affect your pathways with key components related to cancer. Five to Thrive explains how dysfunctions in the five pathways can lead to ill health with cancer. But understanding and acting toward optimal functions in the pathways supports optimal wellness to reduce cancer risk.

What are key points for each of the five pathways addressed in a cancer prevention plan to help illustrate the power that is within each person? Dr. Alschuler and Karolyn Gazella give these answers.
1. The human body contains trillions of specialized immune system cells that search for, identify, and destroy damaged cells, including cancer cells.

2. Prolonged inflammation creates tissue chaos, ultimately resulting in an environment that favors cancer development. The good news is that we can quench the inflammatory fires and heal the damage caused by chronic inflammation.

3. Hormones are powerful messengers that often serve as growth signals for cells, which makes hormonal balance paramount to controlled growth and cancer prevention.

Insulin Resistance
4. Cells are studded with insulin receptors and will use insulin to stimulate their proliferation, making insulin resistance a dangerous state that can, in fact, be reversed through diet and lifestyle.

5. Our digestive/detoxification pathway provides us with critical nutrients and helps us to rid our system of toxic, cancer-causing substances.
You can learn a lot more in Five to Thrive about cancer prevention, including powerful tips and tools regarding spirit, movement, and rejuvenation. Dr. Alschuler and Karolyn Gazella also authored The Definitive Guide to Cancer, 3rd Edition: An Integrative Approach to Prevention, Treatment, and Healing.

EmbodiWorks also has cancer prevention information about the immune system, inflammation, detoxification, more about whole body care to reduce cancer risk, mind-body balance, spirit, movement, and other health and healing topics.

What aspects of your health are your priorities to reduce your cancer risk? Share what you think.

News about Cancer Care for the Whole Physical Bod

Parts vs. whole. What exactly does that mean in physical health? The parts (cells, tissues, organs, matrix, and other components) create the whole environment in your entire body. Think about it. And try to feel into it. Nothing is separate. Everything is connected. Your health includes one whole integrative system in your physical body.

So who treats the entire body in cancer patients? Fortunately more and more doctors and other providers are offering different types of integrative health care to cancer patients. Some of them call it integrative, others holistic, and even a few alternatives if their terminology has different definitions. Terms vary and the essential is to always choose quality providers.

And what exactly do providers give to cancer patients to treat the entire body? That depends on the clinic, their knowledge, and practice. Treatments include assessments, evaluations, and tests to identify each patient as a person to receive individualized care. Medicine cannot be the same for each individual. Depending on the provider and who they are treating, integrative cancer care may include anti-inflammation, curcumin, Vitamin D, other supplements and herbs, mistletoe, acupuncture, Vitamin C infusions, other supplement infusions, marijuana, vaccines, IPT therapy, and much more. Individualized, customized care may also include molecular target tests and therapies helping more and more people with different types of cancer. EmbodiWorks will be adding additional information in our Body section about cancer treatments.

The news about medicine treating the whole physical body is both old and new. The old goes back many centuries, but let’s look at it during the end of the 1800s. In 1889, Stephen Paget, MD published an article in The Lancet saying that cancer only grows in fertile soil, or a hospitable environment in the body for the diseased cells– “When plant goes to seed, its seeds are carried in all directions, but they can only live and grow if they fall on congenial soil.” Unfortunately health care moved away from integrative, holistic medicine in the early 1900s for many years. But the truth did not disappear. Today, now and more than ever in the last 100 years, cancer care is expanding to treat more of the physical body and whole person.

So focus on your body. Know that it’s not only about your parts and instead a whole. Your whole and the totality of who you are. People with cancer need better care to improve their quality of life and survival. That absolutely includes whole body care. What are you doing to support your physical body through your cancer journey?