Women diagnosed with breast cancer have treatment options. While you and your doctor set up a breast cancer treatment plan, ask how alternative therapies can help you stay strong. While alternative therapies boost – not replace – any treatment set by your doctor, they may be able to make your mind and body stronger plus lower chances of symptoms reappearing. Joining Alternative Therapy GroupsBreast cancer alternative therapy groups form communities for those in breast cancer treatment and breast cancer survivors. It’s important to note, though, that you can join an alternative therapy group for ANY reason. Some women look to bond with those in similar breast cancer treatment plans. Others join to get crafty (in a calming setting), while many want to exercise in supportive surroundings. Exercise? It’s ok if going to the gym is the last thing on your mind. Alternative therapy groups exist to help you get started.
Exercise Can Fuel Treatment and RecoveryMore and more studies show that exercising during – and after – breast cancer treatment gives women mental relief and likely post-treatment prevention. For example, as the American Cancer Society’s article, Nutrition and Physical Activity Guidelines for Cancer Survivors, reports, “In many studies, exercise improves:
And, “among breast cancer survivors, physical activity after diagnosis has consistently been associated with reduced risk of breast cancer recurrence and breast cancer-specific mortality.”1
While, the article continues, “some studies have also suggested that physical activity may even increase the rate of completion of chemotherapy,” it also recognizes that, “the decision regarding when to initiate and how to maintain physical activity should be individualized to the patient’s condition and personal preferences.”1
Meet Gilda’s Club If you’re a Saturday Night Live (SNL) fan, you may remember Gilda Radner’s character Roseanne Roseannadanna. While her comedy entertained many, Gilda’s Club is a National foundation that was formed in her honor after fighting cancer. The club offers diagnosed men and women a support network and full calendar of free mind, body and spirit activities that can be used as alternative therapy treatment.
Rebecca Fritz, LCSW, Program Director, Gilda’s Club in Chicago proudly shares that they focus on “member empowerment.” It offers psychosocial support, meditation, yoga and more in support of health and well-being for anyone impacted by cancer. In fact, Gilda’s Club offers support groups, workshops and over 300 free activities each month. Interested in tai-chi or yoga? You’ll find many levels and learn ways to control what your body may be feeling during breast cancer treatment.
Why yoga? Surprisingly, studies show that “a targeted yoga intervention led to significant improvements in fatigue and vigor among breast cancer survivors with persistent fatigue symptoms.”2
Proving Mind over Matter TrueA first step toward making your mind and body strong while in breast cancer treatment can be to think over alternative therapy options. You may find these activities don’t seem like therapy at all. In fact, they may help bring a bit of wanted normal into each day.
Already meeting with an alternative therapy group? Tell us what your community offers!
Sources1 © American Cancer Society, Inc. doi: 10.3322/caac.21142. cacancerjournal.com2 http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/cncr.26702/pdf
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