Your Health ;
; Offbeat therapies gain medical acceptance.
; Complementary treatments can help.
; Patients find relief from symptoms.
The doctors at Memorial Sloan- Kettering Cancer Center in New York had no choice but to remove the patient’s gallbladder and part of her liver, both riddled
with cancer. They started her on chemotherapy in the hope of eradicating
any renegade cancer cells left behind.
Then they offered her something radical: a course in meditation.
“At least once a day I find a quiet
time to meditate,” says the 66-year-
old woman from Astoria, N. Y., who
asked that her name not be used be-
cause her mother hasn’t been told she
has cancer. “I don’t know how I would
have survived without it.” When her
thoughts stray into the dark woods of
her deepest fears—that the cancer will
roar back, that she’ll die, leaving her
husband, her children, her beloved
grandchildren—she uses meditation
to calm her mind and loosen the knot
of dread in the pit of her stomach. “I
know it’s made life much more bear-
able,” she says.
For years cancer patients desperate to
survive have chased after unproven
treatments—from herbal remedies,
dietary supplements and acupuncture
to mushrooms. Many never whisper a
word to their doctors for fear of ridi-
cule. Today that’s changing. A grow-
ing number of the country’s leading
cancer centers now offer a range
of unconventional therapies once
spurned by mainstream physicians—
part of a new approach to cancer care
called integrative oncology.