The OutSmart Cancer® System is a WHOLE PERSON approach to supporting the health of cancer patients, survivors and their loved ones. This includes addressing the psycho-social and spiritual needs of our patients.
Anxiety and depression are common human responses both for patients and loved ones during every phase of the cancer journey, from diagnosis, active treatment, recovery, living with cancer as a chronic illness or as a cancer survivor long term. Psychological and spiritual concerns often go untreated.
Most patients require some encouragement to talk about their emotional, psychological and spiritual challenges. It is vital to include thoughtful support and resources to all patients, family members and significant others.
Cancer is a collective experience and everyone close to the patient is touched by the diagnosis and the suffering. Everyone is transformed by the depth and intensity of the experience.
“I very much like to frame the cancer journey as an opportunity, as a meaningful and sacred gateway in
one’s life. It is a time for reflection and inquiry and for clarifying one’s priorities and core values.
Many patients and families find the depth and intimate nature of the experience to be ultimately transformational and healing, especially when shared.”
I ask patients to ponder the questions:
- What gives me strength?
- What gives me courage?
- What are my fears?
- What are my hopes and dreams?
Patients and families are encouraged to take the opportunity to enter into a new phase of life with new learned self-care and lifestyle tools and resources in alignment with the health focused and proactive principles of my OutSmart Cancer® System.
The Society for Integrative Oncology(SIO) and ASCO (The American Society of Clinical Oncology) have co-published a resource outlining an integrative approach and research supported resources and recommendations for patients during active treatment as well as post-treatment.
“ I think of post-treatment as the rest of your life, not a finite period of time.”
Recommended Interventions from SIO and ASCO include:
- Mindfulness based interventions/meditation
- Tai Chi/Chi Gung
- Music/Music Therapy
- Reflexology (Massage)
- Aromatherapy: Lavender Essential Oil
SIO and ASCO convened a multi-faceted and diverse expert panel. Their literature search included systematic reviews, meta-analyses, and randomized controlled trials published from 1990 through 2023. This team developed evidence-based guideline recommendations. The literature search identified 110 relevant studies (30 systematic reviews and 80 randomized controlled trials) to inform their guidelines.
I also encourage patients to seek appropriate psychological and spiritual counseling, spend time in nature, engage in creative activities through art, dance, movement, writing, journaling and poetry as well as the recommendations outlined above.
It is possible to transform challenges and suffering into the pearls of new insights, loving-kindness, compassion and wisdom that can richly inform our inner and outer lives at every phase of the cancer journey.
Additional information is available at www.asco.org/survivorship-guidelines
Linda E. Carlson, Nofisat Ismaila, Elizabeth L. Addington, et al