For people with cancer and the professionals who provide treatment, creating a full-body strategy for cancer care is key to a smooth recovery. According to the American Cancer Society, “integrative” or “complementary” medicine is often used to describe products and practices used along with standard medical care to help manage symptoms and side effects from cancer and its treatment.
To accomplish this type of medicine for patients, social workers, dietitians, nurse navigators and other staff work together to create a holistic plan with patients to complement their chemotherapy or radiation treatments. This can include tailoring exercise routines for patients to follow, providing support group resources or other behavioral health care and working on diet plans to support each patient’s individual needs. Lindy Owens, a nurse navigator with Vail Health’s Shaw Cancer Center, is an advocate for patients during care — from the initial consultation and onward. It is her job to help lessen the stress patients encounter as they process and navigate their diagnosis and treatment.
“It’s important to treat the whole body rather than just the physical aspect…” said Owens.
Shaw Cancer Center’s comprehensive wellness program addresses the physical and emotional effects of cancer, long-term health goals, and the impact of cancer on day-to-day life. Incorporating fitness, nutrition, physical therapy and a variety of support services, and wellness services, the Spirit of Survival program empowers all survivors to thrive during and after treatment. Cancer and cancer treatments can have a long-lasting impact on the body, mind, and spirit. Survivorship services at Shaw Cancer Center include clinical care, education, and support throughout treatment and after initial therapy is complete.
Vail Health’s Sarah Roberts, Kristi Grems and Erin Perejda also share how integrated care is beneficial to patients and how, for some patients, survivorship programs like the Spirit of Survival program can build a sense of community that can improve their stress levels throughout their care.