FCS Integrative Oncology and Wellness Services
View this video to learn more about the Wellness Program at Florida Cancer Specialists.
As the leading oncology treatment provider in Florida, we focus beyond the medicine to strengthen the mind and body. The addition of integrative services at Florida Cancer Specialists reaffirms our commitment to providing world-class, personalized and comprehensive care under one roof. Our approach to wellness care is to offer safe evidence-based opportunities, education and resources to our patients. Services vary by location, so please consult with your physician.
Integrative Oncology is a total approach to cancer care that includes addressing both mental and physical well-being. Combining the appropriate medical care path - such as chemotherapy, radiation, and/or surgery - with proven evidence-based practices and therapies can often produce promising results in helping patients cope with the side effects of cancer treatment. When used properly, these enhancements can improve quality of life without interferring with treatment.
The Integrative Oncology Program (IOP) focuses on the complex health of people with cancer, both physical and emotional health, and uses a variety of approaches to complement conventional therapies. The primary goals are to enhance health, quality of life and clinical outcomes for cancer patients and their families by offering educational tools and support programs. This also enables the patient to be more actively involved in their care, which can be a very empowering and therapeutic experience.
Benefits of Integrative Oncology
- To support every aspect of the patient’s care - from management of physical side effects to reduction of emotional stress
- To provide hope and positive thinking, which may improve the healing process and increase overall quality of life
- To promote wellness during the initial stages of treatment and beyond into survivorship
In addition to improving overall mood, massage has been shown to be effective in managing treatment-related side effects, which may include anxiety, depression, fatigue, and muscle/bone pain. Select offices offer massage services to patients during treatment given by specially trained oncology massage therapists who circulate through the chemo and waiting rooms. Where it is available, this incredible service is provided free of charge to both patients and caregivers.
Acupuncture is a supplemental therapy that has strong evidence-based recommendations and can be beneficial to any patient with uncontrolled nausea, vomiting or pain. It can also help relieve or reduce the intensity of many side effects of treatments, including constipation, decreased appetite, dry mouth, hot flashes, neuropathy, fatigue, difficulty sleeping, anxiety and depression. Acupuncture involves the stimulation of specific anatomical points using a variety of methods, most often with the use of hair-thin needles gently inserted into the skin. Acupuncture is safe when performed by qualified practitioners and has a very low risk of side effects.
Yoga is a mind and body practice with historical origins in ancient Indian philosophy. Like other meditative movement practices, yoga typically combines physical postures, breathing techniques, and meditation or relaxation. It can be used for general health and wellness maintenance, in addition to addressing specific health conditions, such as back pain, neck pain, arthritis and anxiety. Current research suggests that practicing yoga can reduce some types of chronic pain, as well as stress, lower heart rate and blood pressure, help to relieve anxiety, depression and insomnia, and improve overall physical fitness, strength and flexibility. Two recent studies evaluated the benefits from yoga for breast and lung cancer survivors and demonstrated significant decreases in fatigue and increases in elevated mood.
Nutrition Counseling and Cooking Classes
Balanced nutrition is a very important part of cancer treatment, as well as survivorship and prevention. Despite the changes that can occur during cancer treatment that affect appetite and taste buds, our goal is for patients to maintain a diet with a wide variety of whole foods. When patients are able to do so, dietary supplements are usually unnecessary. Our cooking classes and nutritional consultations can assist in meeting that goal. For patients who wish to use nutritional supplements, including botanicals for purported antitumor effects, it is recommended that they consult with their physician.
Physical activity decreases the risk of cancer occurrence and recurrence. Studies also show that patients who exercise on a regular basis tolerate their treatments better, as well as improve their quality of life and emotional well-being, and lessen the severity of fatigue. Physical activity may include activities such as walking, biking, or swimming, and should be based on ability and level of endurance. In some locations, Florida Cancer Specialists partners with other organizations such as the YMCA to offer targeted activity and exercise programs specifically designed for cancer patients.
Patients may use meditation to help reduce anxiety, pain, stress, sleep problems and depression. Meditation can help patients and caregivers let go of negative thoughts and reach a more peaceful state of mind, as well as feeling more physically relaxed. It is also useful for maintaining general wellness.
Available at some locations: Music and Art therapy, Reiki, Tai Chi, EFT (Emotional Freedom Technique)
Survivorship: Care Beyond Cancer –
Florida Cancer Specialists is dedicated to providing patients with continued personalized care after treatment to help patients live to their fullest potential. Though many patients go on to lead very healthy, normal lives, we acknowledge that life may never be the same as it was before diagnosis. There can be long-term and late effects of chemotherapy and radiation including on-going emotional stress, as well as the patient’s desire to prevent cancer recurrence. We are here to help address these issues by providing recommendations related to nutrition, exercise, and smoking cessation.
Talk with Your Doctor
If you are interested in integrative therapies, please consult your physician. Some of our programs might require permission from your doctor to participate, so please speak with him or her about the services that may benefit you. The physicians at Florida Cancer Specialists & Research Institute encourage patients to take an active role in their own care. Talking with your doctor will assure that all aspects of your cancer treatment work together to provide the best outcome.