November 7, 2014 — Over eighty percent of breast cancer patients in the United States use complementary therapies following a breast cancer diagnosis, but there has been little science-based guidance to inform clinicians and patients about their safety and effectiveness. In newly published guidelines from the Society for Integrative Oncology, researchers at Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health and the Herbert Irving Comprehensive Cancer Center with colleagues at MD Anderson Cancer Center, University of Michigan, Memorial Sloan Kettering, and other institutions in the U.S. and Canada, analyzed which integrative treatments appear to be most effective and safe for patients. They evaluated more than 80 different therapies.
Meditation, yoga, and relaxation with imagery were found to have the strongest evidence supporting their use. They received an “A” grade and are recommended for routine use for anxiety and other mood disorders common to breast cancer patients. The same practices received a “B” grade for reducing stress, depression, and fatigue, but are also endorsed for most breast cancer patients. Acupuncture received a “B” grade for controlling chemotherapy induced nausea and vomiting and can be recommended to most patients. More than 30 interventions, including some natural products and acupuncture for other conditions, had weaker evidence of benefit due to either small study sizes or conflicting study results, and received a “C” grade. Seven other therapies were deemed unlikely to provide any benefit and are not recommended. One therapy was found to be harmful: acetyl-l-carnitine, which is marketed to prevent chemotherapy-related neuropathy, and actually increased risk for the condition.
ALBANY, NEW YORK - More than ever, cancer survivors seek evidence-based information in order to incorporate integrative medicine into conventional cancer care to help improve their outcomes in terms of controlling disease and improving aspects of quality of life in the areas of mind, body and spirit.
The Journal of the National Cancer Institute Monograph has released a special issue entitled “The Role of Integrative Oncology for Cancer Survivorship,” highlighting original research in the field of integrative oncology. This new resource was presented to a global audience of health care professionals and patient advocates in Houston, Texas, at the Eleventh International Conference of the Society for Integrative Oncology, and has been published on line. SIO is an international multi-disciplinary organization established to advance evidence-based, comprehensive integrative health care to improve the lives of people affected by cancer. The articles in the special Monograph were all peer-reviewed.
Dear SIO members and friends:
We would very much appreciate you taking a few minutes to take part in an international survey to explore how patient-outcome data is collected within integrative oncology settings worldwide.
As the practice of integrative oncology, in all its forms, becomes an increasingly accepted approach to support people who experience cancer, it is important to efficiently and effectively document patient outcomes, so we can appropriately assess the potential benefits and harms of these approaches.
We are conducting a ‘Delphi consensus’ survey to gather information from as many people involved with integrative oncology programs around the world as possible. We are interested in learning what patient outcome data are currently being collected, which measurement tools are being used, what outcomes are deemed important and what barriers there might be to collecting patient outcome data.
SIO President, Dr. Heather Greenlee discusses the landscape of integrative oncology resesarch, including what she envisions is needed for widespread adoption of evidence-based integrative programs.
Omer Kucuk, MD, Professor of Hematology and Medical Oncology and Medical Oncologist at Emory University's Winship Cancer Institute in Atlanta, GA, was elected to the SIO Board of Trustees in October 2013. A board certified and practicing medical oncologist, he is recognized for his pioneering research on nutrition and cancer therapy.
A graduate of Hacettepe University Medical School in Ankara, Turkey, Dr. Kucuk conducted his residency and fellowship at St. Francis Hospital in Evanston, Illinois, and a hematology and oncology fellowship at Northwestern University Medical School in Chicago.
Jun James Mao, MD, MSCE, Associate Professor and Director of Integrative Medicine in the Department of Family Medicine and Community Health at the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania, was elected to the SIO Board of Trustees at the 2013 SIO Annual Conference in October.
A board certified family physician and licensed physician acupuncturist, Dr. Mao's practice focuses on acupuncture for pain, chronic system distress, and for menopause. He also provides acupuncture and primary care for cancer patients and survivors, integrative medicine for chronic disease and symptom management and integrative medicine to promote wellness. Dr. Mao's expertise in acupuncture and pain management positioned him to become the attending consult physician for the Symptom and Palliative Care Service at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania.
At the University of Pennsylvania's Perelman School of Medicine, he directs an international elective on acupuncture for medical students and residents. Over the last five years, this course has attracted more than 200 students from over 50 US institutions.
The Smith Center for Healing and the Arts is offering the 6th Annual Patient Navigation Training in Integrative Cancer Care in February. There are still scholarships available and the registration deadline is January 15, 2014.
Christian Boukaram, MD always strives to find the answers to questions and to fill information gaps within the cancer field. After two of his close friends were diagnosed with brain tumors at a young age, Dr. Boukaram began to see cancer from a different perspective - the patient perspective. He reacted like any good friend and started his search to respond to their concerns, to find ways to provide comfort, and to provide hope for this dreaded disease. While he was trained as a medical doctor and knew very well how to treat cancer, he had no experience with healing the person as a whole. During his research, he stumbled upon the power of the mind. Cancer is disturbing and a stressful environment comes along with the diagnosis and treatment. Using mindfulness, patients can overcome the burden of the stress to help to heal their cancer along with conventional treatments.
SIO Immediate Past President Susan Bauer-Wu, PhD, RN, FAAN, co-authored an article in the Huffington Post on "The Architecture of Resilience," providing information to help reinforce New Year's resolutions to help ease the stress of everyday challenges. The article draws on resilience instruction in the UVA nursing curriculum. She is the Kluge Professor in Contemplative End-of-Life Care and teaches and directs the Compassionate Care Initiative at the University of Virginia.
Misha Ruth Cohen, a Doctor of Oriental Medicine and Licensed Acupuncturist whose career started in HIV/AIDS and now has a strong focus on cancer, recently joined the SIO Board of Trustees during SIO's October conference in Vancouver. She is the Clinical Director of Chicken Soup Chinese Medicine, Executive Director of the Misha Ruth Cohen Education Foundation, and Research Specialist of Integrative Medicine at the University of California Institute for Health and Aging, all in San Francisco. An elected Fellow to the National Academy of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine, Dr. Cohen has been practicing traditional Asian medicine for the past 38 years.
Recognized internationally as a senior teacher and leading expert in Chinese traditional medicine, Cohen has been invited several times by the Chinese government to present her programs, and her articles on HIV/AIDS have been officially translated for use in China. Cohen designed the HIV Professional Certification Program for Licensed Acupuncturists and certified more than 200 practitioners between 1985 and 1990. In 1990, she designed the Hepatitis C Professional Training Program for Licensed Acupuncturists and trained more than 450 practitioners from 1990 through 2009.