By Sharon Sherman

For many patients, families and communities, the impact of October as breast cancer awareness month was seen in washes of pink ribbons and signs, walks, 5Ks, galas and community benefits. There were several here in our neighborhood last month, and they serve to not only raise awareness and much-needed funds for research, but to remind us of the battle that some of our neighbors face against a brutal disease.

You probably know that the toll of breast cancer is significant and staggering. What you may not know is that according to the National Cancer Institute’s (NCI) latest statistics, Pennsylvania women have a slightly higher chance of being diagnosed with breast cancer than the U.S. average, and more than 1,100 Philadelphia women are diagnosed with the disease each year.

More sobering is the NCI data which shows that Philadelphia county has the state’s highest age-adjusted death rate for breast cancer at approximately 29-34 women per 100,000 residents. The good news is that these rates have actually been improving for Philadelphia, so there’s hope for further progress.

(You can review these data at http://statecancerprofiles.cancer.gov/index.html.)

To effectively treat breast cancer, doctors — more than ever — are taking an integrated approach that incorporates teams of physicians, specialists and, yes, Oriental Medicine practitioners to help create a customized treatment regimen for each patient. I spent some time in October talking to my patients, colleagues and friends about how this personalized and integrated approach is working.

For example, the team at the University of Pennsylvania’s Abramson Cancer Center includes physicians specializing in integrative medicine and acupuncture, and the Center places an emphasis on the value of this approach. The following is from their website, http://www.penncancer.org/patients/patient-care-fundamentals/integrative-medicines-and-wellness/: “While conventional medicine plays a critical role in eradicating cancer, integrative medicine and wellness programs offer patients and their families ways to enhance the quality of their lives, minimize or reduce the side effects of cancer and cancer treatment, and promote healing and recovery. While conventional medicine plays a critical role in eradicating cancer, integrative medicine and wellness programs offer patients and their families ways to enhance the quality of their lives, minimize or reduce the side effects of cancer and cancer treatment, and promote healing and recovery.”

Additionally, the Jefferson-Myrna Brind Center of Integrative Medicine at Jefferson University Hospitals Jefferson holds mindfulness meditation classes for cancer patients, and Dr. Daniel Monti was recently quoted in the Philadelphia Inquirer discussing the value of integrative, alternative medicine in breast cancer treatment:

In breast cancer, we’ve known for decades that women with higher stress levels have worse overall outcomes. And we’re just scratching the surface of how stress affects cell biology.”

Finally, one of my own patients, Lynn Rockwell, a 42-year-old mother of two from Roslyn, is an example of a breast cancer survivor who is taking an integrated approach to battling her disease. After her “search for additional therapies,” Lynn writes that she “did not take any of my anti-nausea medications or any other pharmaceuticals to help with side effects (of chemotherapy). I then moved onto surgery and radiation. I did not experience the fatigue to the extent that most talk about with radiation, and the results from treating the surgical scar tissue have been truly amazing, and I am so happy.” (Ed. Note: Rockwell confirmed this quote after being contacted by the Local.)

Here’s to more successful cancer awareness months like this October and to more success in battling this disease.

Sharon Sherman is the founder of the Empirical Point Acupuncture practice in Chestnut Hill, and she is a board-appointed member of the consulting staff at Magee Rehabilitation Hospital, part of the Jefferson Health System.

 

 

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Breast Cancer: today’s integrated treatment works best

By Sharon Sherman

 

For many patients, families and communities, the impact of October as breast cancer awareness month was seen in washes of pink ribbons and signs, walks, 5Ks, galas and community benefits. There were several here in our neighborhood last month, and they serve to not only raise awareness and much-needed funds for research, but to remind us of the battle that some of our neighbors face against a brutal disease.

You probably know that the toll of breast cancer is significant and staggering. What you may not know is that according to the National Cancer Institute’s (NCI) latest statistics, Pennsylvania women have a slightly higher chance of being diagnosed with breast cancer than the U.S. average, and more than 1,100 Philadelphia women are diagnosed with the disease each year.

More sobering is the NCI data which shows that Philadelphia county has the state’s highest age-adjusted death rate for breast cancer at approximately 29-34 women per 100,000 residents. The good news is that these rates have actually been improving for Philadelphia, so there’s hope for further progress.

(You can review these data at http://statecancerprofiles.cancer.gov/index.html.)

To effectively treat breast cancer, doctors — more than ever — are taking an integrated approach that incorporates teams of physicians, specialists and, yes, Oriental Medicine practitioners to help create a customized treatment regimen for each patient. I spent some time in October talking to my patients, colleagues and friends about how this personalized and integrated approach is working.

For example, the team at the University of Pennsylvania’s Abramson Cancer Center includes physicians specializing in integrative medicine and acupuncture, and the Center places an emphasis on the value of this approach. The following is from their website, http://www.penncancer.org/patients/patient-care-fundamentals/integrative-medicines-and-wellness/: “While conventional medicine plays a critical role in eradicating cancer, integrative medicine and wellness programs offer patients and their families ways to enhance the quality of their lives, minimize or reduce the side effects of cancer and cancer treatment, and promote healing and recovery. While conventional medicine plays a critical role in eradicating cancer, integrative medicine and wellness programs offer patients and their families ways to enhance the quality of their lives, minimize or reduce the side effects of cancer and cancer treatment, and promote healing and recovery.”

Additionally, the Jefferson-Myrna Brind Center of Integrative Medicine at Jefferson University Hospitals Jefferson holds mindfulness meditation classes for cancer patients, and Dr. Daniel Monti was recently quoted in the Philadelphia Inquirer discussing the value of integrative, alternative medicine in breast cancer treatment:

In breast cancer, we’ve known for decades that women with higher stress levels have worse overall outcomes. And we’re just scratching the surface of how stress affects cell biology.”

Finally, one of my own patients, Lynn Rockwell, a 42-year-old mother of two from Roslyn, is an example of a breast cancer survivor who is taking an integrated approach to battling her disease. After her “search for additional therapies,” Lynn writes that she “did not take any of my anti-nausea medications or any other pharmaceuticals to help with side effects (of chemotherapy). I then moved onto surgery and radiation. I did not experience the fatigue to the extent that most talk about with radiation, and the results from treating the surgical scar tissue have been truly amazing, and I am so happy.” (Ed. Note: Rockwell confirmed this quote after being contacted by the Local.)

Here’s to more successful cancer awareness months like this October and to more success in battling this disease.

Sharon Sherman is the founder of the Empirical Point Acupuncture practice in Chestnut Hill, and she is a board-appointed member of the consulting staff at Magee Rehabilitation Hospital, part of the Jefferson Health System.