Breast Cancer Care

Integrative Breast Cancer Care

Recent research indicates that the majority of breast cancer patients use one or more forms of integrative or alternative therapies. Although most patients use these services immediately following their diagnosis, there is evidence to show that these approaches can reduce physical and psychological symptoms at numerous points in time- while recovering from surgery, during active and long-term treatment, as well as contributing to overall health thereafter.

Integrative therapies lead to fewer treatment-induced side effects, less anxiety and depression, and overall improved quality of life. Integrative care, which can include acupuncture, relaxation training, nutritional education, yoga, and psychotherapy and mind/body skills acquisition, is a terrific complement to traditional Western approaches. All of the services offered at the Domar Center are based upon the most recent research.

Integrative approaches lead to:

  • Better sleep
  • Fewer hot flashes
  • More energy
  • Less anxiety and depression
  • Decreases in chemotherapy-induced side effects
  • Fewer night sweats
  • Less joint pain

Acupuncture: There has been a lot of research on the benefits of acupuncture for breast cancer patients. These benefits include improved health-related quality of life, better sleep, fewer hot flashes and night sweats, fewer side effects of chemotherapy and radiation including decreases in nausea and vomiting, less joint pain and stiffness from aromatase inhibitor treatment, less anxiety, fatigue, pain, and depression. Acupuncture is as effective as drug therapy in reducing hot flashes. Acupuncture is available at the Domar Center seven days per week as well as some weekday evenings.

Relaxation training: Research shows that women who learn relaxation techniques such as meditation and progressive muscle relaxation have significant decreases in Tamoxifen-induced hot flashes. Relaxation practice also leads to reductions in anxiety, depression, and stress-induced symptoms such as insomnia, headaches, and back pain. The psychologists at the Domar Center teach a variety of different relaxation techniques accompanied by a relaxation CD for home use.

Nutritional counseling: many breast cancer patients wonder what they should or should not be eating, especially as it relates to estrogen rich foods, or may be confused by suggestions for weight loss or gain. Eating plans tailored to each patient are provided, with the aim of optimal health, recovery, and symptom reduction with a focus on a motivational approach to making healthful changes.

Yoga: Restorative yoga involves teaching a synergy of guided meditation and deep relaxation; its stillness helps to relax the body, calm the mind, and quiet the nervous system. The practice of restorative yoga is associated with decreases in depression, anxiety, fatigue, and distress in breast cancer patients.

Psychotherapy and Mind/Body Skills Acquisition (Cognitive Behavior Therapy): Women who learn mind/body skills have fewer physical and psychological symptoms, including anxiety, insomnia, depression, pain, and anger. Overall, mind/body skills lead to a significantly improved quality of life for breast cancer patients. Visits with a psychotherapist can also support behavior change such as creating an achievable exercise program, encouraging healthy family interactions, and providing a safe place to express negative feelings.

Mind/Body Consult: If you are unsure which of the clinical services would benefit you the most, make an appointment for a one hour consult. You and one of the Domar Center psychologists will review your symptoms and goals and create an individualized treatment program.

Premium half day treatment package: this is designed to introduce the patient to all the services, and includes acupuncture, restorative yoga, nutritional counseling, and a counseling session.
If you would like to make an appointment to receive one or more of these services, please call 781-434-6578.
References: Chao et al, Breast Cancer Res: 2009: Crew K, J Clin Oncol: 2010; Danhauer et al, J Soc Integr Oncol, 2008; Danhauer et al, Psychooncology, 2009; Dean-Clower et al, Integr Cancer Ther, 2010: de Valois et al, J Altern Complement Med: 2010; Frisk at al, Support Care Center: 2011; Greenlee et al, Breast Cancer Res Treat: 2009; Irvin et al, Psychosom Obstet Gynaecol: 1996; Juraskova et al, Integr Cancer Ther: 2010; Rao et al, Complement Ther Med: 2009; Walker et al, J Clin Oncol, 2010: Wanchai et al, Clin J Oncol Nurs: 2010: Wyatt et al, Nurs Res: 2010;