How to Maintain Muscle Health During Cancer Treatment

Medically reviewed by Jennifer A. Ligibel, MD Cancer can present a host of physical challenges. During treatment, a patient may not be able to move far from their bed or room; therapy can also lead to metabolic changes that disrupt the way the body processes food to create energy. Add that to a hectic appointment … Continued

Tips for Coping with a Cancer Recurrence

In some cases, despite a cancer care team’s best effort, cancer comes back after treatment. This is known as a relapse or recurrence. The news can have a similar emotional impact to a patient’s initial diagnosis; patients may experience shock or feel overwhelmed. Everyone’s experience is different, and the most important thing you can do … Continued

Common Questions About Alternative and Integrative Therapies, Answered [Podcast]

The search for new and better cancer treatments has resulted in some incredible discoveries in recent years. Immunotherapy, a kind of cancer therapy that harnesses the immune system to fight cancer, has monumentally changed the way that some cancers are treated. Chemotherapy and radiation have greatly improved. And researchers are working on bringing more treatment … Continued

How to Address Nausea and Decreased Appetite During Cancer Treatment

For many patients, cancer treatment can result in nausea, vomiting, and a decreased appetite. This can make it difficult to eat well, stay hydrated, and maintain a healthy weight – all of which are key factors in helping patients feel stronger and tolerate treatments better. Here are some ways to manage these side effects. Plan … Continued

Using Music to Cope with Cancer: 5 Patient Stories

There is evidence that music can be a powerful therapeutic tool: it has been shown to bring about positive changes in mood and reduce anxiety, among other benefits. For cancer patients, music and music therapy—the clinical use of music as a tool to help achieve treatment goals—can also be used to develop positive coping skills … Continued

Writer Puts Her Cancer Experiences Into Poetry

Carol Snyder Halberstadt has been chronicling her life through poetry since she was 5, a means of self-expression she credits as the springboard to a long writing and editing career. When she was diagnosed in the past decade with lung cancer and then lymphoma, putting this part of her personal odyssey into poetry was a … Continued

How Giving Hand Massages to Cancer Patients Helps Them – And Me, Too

By Hilda Santos One day six years ago, my sister Palmira called me from Dana-Farber with an idea. Her husband, Bob, was in treatment for non-Hodgkin lymphoma, and a volunteer had just approached his chair asking if he wanted a hand massage during his chemotherapy infusion. Seconds later, Palmira was on the phone. “This would … Continued

7 Ways Integrative Therapies Help Cancer Patients

Research has shown that integrative therapies can help ease cancer-related symptoms and improve overall quality of life. These therapies range from individual treatments, such as acupuncture, massage, and Reiki, to group programs for movement, meditation, and creative arts. View the slideshow below to learn more about how integrative therapies can help cancer patients.   Visit … Continued

Colon Cancer Patient Helps Others Improve Quality of Life

Jeff Sirlin seemed to experience every side effect imaginable when he was diagnosed with colon cancer in 2010. The active 37-year-old dad and business owner was fatigued, losing weight and strength, and dealing with the psychological effects of his disease. But he didn’t wait long to take action. “I’m the type of person who needs … Continued

Can ‘Prehabilitation’ Benefit Cancer Patients?

Cancer treatment can be debilitating, but there may be ways patients can better prepare themselves for the challenges to come. The benefits of exercise in helping cancer patients deal with fatigue, mood swings, and other issues experienced during and after treatment are well documented. Now physician-scientists at Dana-Farber and elsewhere are investigating whether a new … Continued

How To Perform Acupressure for Vomiting and Nausea

Chemotherapy and radiation are successful in treating many types of cancer, but these treatments can also cause a host of side effects – including vomiting and nausea. A form of ancient Chinese therapy called acupressure, similar to acupuncture, has been shown to help alleviate these side effects. Learn how you can experience these benefits at … Continued

6 Ways to Practice Mindfulness [Infographic]

Mindfulness is the practice of focusing one’s attention on the present. Like other integrative therapies and practices, it has been proven to help people through difficult circumstances, reduce stress and pain, and improve focus. This makes it an especially powerful complementary therapy for cancer patients. Here are some ways you can practice mindfulness, wherever you … Continued

Mobile Art Cart Helps Relieve Stress and Pain for Patients

Pain, anxiety, fear: these are a few common feelings that may become particularly heightened after a cancer diagnosis and during treatment. But a traveling mobile art cart, sponsored by the Leonard P. Zakim Center for Integrative Therapies, now offers Dana-Farber patients the ability to reduce pain or stress through expressive arts such as coloring, weaving, … Continued

How Writing Helps During Cancer Treatment

By Rebecca Berman During my ongoing treatment for metastatic endometrial carcinoma, I tried many different mindful activities, such as yoga and other integrative therapies, but I came to a point where I felt that I needed to up my game. In the past, creative writing had helped me express and better process emotions, so I … Continued

How Can Reflexology Help Cancer Patients?

When cancer patients face stress, fatigue, or nausea, they may turn to integrative therapies such as reflexology to help ease symptoms. Although each patient responds individually, reflexology can support relaxation and comfort during cancer treatment and offers an alternative to traditional massage. What is Reflexology? Reflexology uses pressure and touch on the feet, hands, and … Continued

What Are the Best Yoga Poses for Breast Cancer Patients? [Infographic]

Breast cancer and its treatment may cause symptoms such as fatigue, nausea, decreased range of motion, and weakness. Exercise and other integrative therapies, including yoga, can ease these symptoms, help patients feel better during treatment, and can be scaled to fit each patient’s unique needs and abilities. “Yoga has many physical and emotional benefits for … Continued

Empowering Patients with Music

Whether it’s creating a work of art, taking time to meditate, or chronicling their experience through a blog, cancer patients find many creative ways to cope with their diagnosis and treatment. In many cases, music can also help patients express their physical and emotional challenges, and a new mobile recording studio at Dana-Farber is bringing … Continued

Cancer Conversations Podcast – Episode #1: Integrative Therapies for Cancer

While the medical treatments for cancer can help fight off deadly disease, these life-saving therapies can also cause physical and emotional side effects. For some patients, the use of integrative therapies can help ease or eliminate treatment-related symptoms. In this Cancer Conversations podcast episode – the first of the series – David Rosenthal, MD, former … Continued

How Expressive Arts Help Patients Cope with Cancer

“Fun” is not a term largely associated with trips to Dana-Farber, but that’s exactly how Yvette Colon describes the Expressive Art Therapy Program at the Leonard P. Zakim Center for Integrative Therapies. “Being sick, I forget what it is like to have fun because it’s easy to only think about cancer and treatment,” says Colon, … Continued