Breast cancer is one of the most commonly diagnosed types of cancer in women, second only to non-melanoma skin cancer. Advances in breast cancer care have exploded over the last two decades, with more treatment options becoming available each year. One of the leading cancer care facilities in America, the Cancer Treatment Centers of America (CTCA), advocates the use of a variety complementary and alternative care in addition to conventional breast cancer care.
The CTCA considers complementary breast cancer care therapies to be those healing options that can help to balance and nurture your body, mind and spirit. These types of treatments have been used for thousands of years around the globe to increase energy levels and to restore emotional and physical health. Breast cancer survivors often report that these therapies help reduce side effects of conventional treatments and boost your immune system.
One of the first complementary breast cancer care options CTCA offers is nutritional support. It is very important to establish a healthy diet as you journey through breast cancer treatment and beyond. The CTCA has patients work with a nutritionist who can help minimize some potential side effects of conventional treatments like loss of appetite and protein-calorie malnutrition, as well as increase patients' strength for chemotherapy and radiation. Adopting a healthier diet has also been reported by breast cancer survivors to aid in faster recovery.
Another alternative method of breast cancer care they offer is naturopathic medicine.
Naturopathic medicine focuses on the body's natural healing powers. At CTCA, their naturopathic practitioners use botanical medicines, vitamin and mineral supplements, acupressure or acupuncture, and other therapies as part of standard breast cancer care. These naturopathic treatments can help with pain management, speeding recovery and generally improving well-being.
At CTCA, they strongly believe in the Mind-Body connection and its role in breast cancer care. Mind-Body therapists work with patients to help them regain a positive sense of self and to help them reclaim their emotional well-being. The Mind-Body medicine program is designed to help patients use the strength of their own minds to take them forward in their journey towards health.
Related to the Mind-Body connection, research has shown that spirituality and religion can play vital roles in helping people cope with cancer. From the day CTCA was founded, the belief that faith can carry people through difficult times has been an integral part of their philosophy. They offer a spiritual support program as part of their breast cancer care options, so regardless of religion or denomination, those looking to explore their spiritual sides will be supported and encouraged.
Research has also shown that women who have breast cancer and engage in moderate cardiovascular exercise during treatment often have fewer side effects than similar women who do not exercise. At CTCA, they promote physical therapy as yet another complementary breast cancer treatment. By staying active, breast cancer survivors report better overall feelings of wellness.
While conventional breast cancer care is of the utmost importance, complementary treatment options should not be discounted. They can not only play a role in one's physical health, but also in one's spiritual and emotional health, which are also very important.