advertisement



Q & A Library


Print this page | Sign up for free e-bulletins
 | Bookmark This Page

Q
Who Is a Cancer Survivor?
I recently was diagnosed with cancer, and I'm concerned that the word "survivor" seems to refer only to those who are in remission. I believe I am surviving cancer on a daily basis. What are your thoughts on this survivorship issue, and what kinds of integrative therapies are available to me during treatment?
A
Answer (Published 6/1/2007)

Originally published 6/04/2004.

What better time to address this issue than National Cancer Survivors Day (held this year on June 3)? I share your frustration about the way conventional medicine identifies survivors as those who are in long-term recovery when, in fact, from the moment of diagnosis, everyone touched by cancer is in survival mode. This is true not only of patients, but also their caregivers, family members, and loved ones.

Related Weil Products
Dr. Weil on Healthy Aging - Your Online Guide to the Anti-Inflammatory Diet! - Everything you need to get started eating a healthful, satisfying diet is here - including eating and shopping guides, over 300 recipes, and an exclusive version of Dr. Weil's Anti-Inflammatory Food Pyramid! Start your 14-day free trial now - and start eating anti-inflammatory today!

Survival begins as new cancer patients first confront the suspicion of the disease, and continues as they undergo the testing, diagnosis, treatment and prognosis. Their emotions can vary from fear to loneliness. There often is a sense of approaching mortality, and feelings that they've lost control over their lives, as well as confusion in interpreting medical information.

I applaud you for staking out your ground as a survivor from the outset, and I'm sure that your conviction is shared by millions all over the world. As far as therapies to complement your cancer treatment are concerned, you have wide choices.

  • Meditation and Mind-Body Medicine: Explore mind-body techniques such as guided imagery, meditation, and energy medicine modalities such as Therapeutic Touch and Reiki.
  • Stay Active: Regular exercise is an essential part of maintaining good health. Engage in gentle exercise (yoga is a good choice) as often as you can.
  • Nutrition: Eat lots of fresh (organic, if possible) fruits and vegetables (consider juicing to increase serving size without feeling too full); drink several cups of green tea daily (for its cancer protective and antioxidant effects); and eat foods rich in Omega-3 fatty acids (walnuts, ground flaxseeds and cold-water fish such as wild Alaskan salmon and sardines). Always discuss changes in your diet with your physician.
  • Seek Support: Join a support program for people with cancer. The inspiration and hope you'll find there is priceless.
  • Have Faith: Don't underestimate the role of your spiritual being in the healing process.

You might also check into retreat centers for those living with cancer. Two that I recommend are Commonweal in Bolinas, Calif., which offers week-long cancer help programs, and the Sunstone Cancer Support Centers on the outskirts of Tucson, Ariz., which offers three- to five-day intensive healing retreats designed for adult survivors and their partners, caregivers, healthcare professionals, children and teens.

For more information on complementary and alternative treatments for cancer see the book "Choices in Healing" by Michael Lerner, Ph.D., or consult the Moss Reports (visit www.ralphmoss.com or www.cancerdecisions.com).

I wish you the best, and encourage you to share your convictions with fellow survivors. Passion can be contagious and therapeutic!

Andrew Weil, M.D.

Creative Commons License Some Rights Reserved Creative Commons Copyright Notice
A portion of the original material created by Weil Lifestyle, LLC on DrWeil.com (specifically, all question and answer-type articles in the Dr. Weil Q&A Library) is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License.

The Weil Vitamin Advisor
Get your FREE personalized vitamin recommendation & supplement plan today!

Dr. Weil on Healthy Aging
Your Online Guide to the Anti-Inflammatory Diet. Start eating for your health - begin your free trial now.

Dr. Weil's Spontaneous Happiness
Achieve emotional well-being
in just eight weeks!
Start your 10-day free trial now!

Vitamin Library
Supplement your knowledge with Dr. Weil's essential vitamin facts. Learn why they are necessary and more.

Dr. Weil's Optimum Health Plan
Your 8-week plan to wellness.
Begin your journey today!
 

Dr. Weil's Head-to-Toe
Wellness Guide

Your guide to natural health.
Use the Wellness Guide today!

Dr. Weil's Anti-Inflammatory Diet Food Pyramid
Our interactive tool can help improve overall health through diet.

Condition Care Guide
Learn about health conditions from acne to vertigo, and Dr. Weil's view of the best treatment options for each.

Healthy Recipes
Discover a treasure trove of healthy, healing foods and creative, delicious ways to prepare them.

Q&A Library
Over 2,000 questions from you
and their corresponding answers
from Dr. Weil.

 
Copyright © 2014 Weil Lifestyle, LLC
Information on this web site is provided for informational purposes only and is not intended as a substitute for the advice provided by your physician or other healthcare professional. You should not use the information on this web site for diagnosing or treating a health problem or disease, or prescribing any medication or other treatment.

Ad Choice
Advertising Notice

This Site and third parties who place advertisements on this Site may collect and use information about your visits to this Site and other websites in order to provide advertisements about goods and services of interest to you. If you would like to obtain more information about these advertising practices and to make choices about online behavioral advertising, please click here