Holistic Cancer Care
Levine Cancer Institute is advancing care for patients with the establishment of an Integrative Oncology program. Physicians can augment conventional medicine with complementary therapies to help patients achieve the best outcomes.
“People, when they have a lifethreatening illness, want to be sure they’re doing everything within their power to heal themselves,” says Bridget S. Bongaard, MD, medical director of Integrative Oncology, Batte Cancer Center at Carolinas Medical Center-NorthEast. “We want to support them but keep them safe and steer them toward modalities that are evidence-based.”
Studies show that 40 to 80 percent of cancer patients use some form of complementary therapy. Most people decide what to try by visiting health food stores, hearing friends’ opinions or reading articles online, rather than seeking the advice of their healthcare provider.
“People are reticent to discuss those therapies with their physicians because they think the physician will ask them to stop,” says Russell H. Greenfield, MD, medical director of Integrative Oncology at the Institute in Charlotte. “Wouldn’t it be better to go to people who are well-grounded in conventional medical care and also the complementary therapies you might be interested in, to get you moving toward therapies that may be good for you while steering you clear of harmful or ineffective therapies?”
Fully Integrated Care
The program provides patients with access to acupuncture, massage therapy and more in the same facility where they receive chemotherapy and radiation, and providers will be armed with research showing how cancer patients respond to treatment.
“At the Institute, patients get the best of conventional care and also have access to these therapies, if they choose,” says Dr. Greenfield. “We can help patients decide which, if any, of the available complementary therapies could help them safely heal and respond more effectively; we know where the data suggest safety and effectiveness.”
Physicians with the Integrative Oncology program will emphasize education to help heal the whole patient.
“The Institute will contribute to the prevention and treatment of cancer like no other cancer center across the nation. It’s a bold endeavor and wonderful statement to have prevention and health optimization be part of a cancer institute,” Dr. Greenfield says.
Additional offerings will vary across the network. For more information about the Integrative Oncology program, contact Beth York, director for survivorship and integrative medicine, at firstname.lastname@example.org or 980-442-2000.