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Integrative Therapies Provide Significant Impact on Patients with Metastatic Breast Cancer

The impact of the metastatic breast cancer program is evident.

surveyed metastatic breast cancer patients enrolled in the Unite for HER Wellness Program and submitted the data for analysis by Cancer Support Community. Among the key findings were the ability of integrative therapies to reduce stress, reduce medication used for side effects, and to improve reported quality of life.

The Unite for HER Wellness Program was developed in 2009 to educate breast cancer patients about integrative care and provide free access to therapies and services like nutrition, yoga, meditation, Reiki, exercise, and more. The program includes life-long services for patients living with metastatic breast cancer, providing $2,000 of integrative therapies and services to patients every six months for life

Today, the program supports more than 2,000 metastatic breast cancer patients in the United States, hosting free educational seminars and providing access to services like whole food nutrition services, counseling, Reiki, meditation, yoga, and more. 

“We are excited to see the important role integrative therapies play in improving patients’ quality of life,” said Elif Andac-Jones, Ph.D., Senior Director of Market Research at Cancer Support Community.  “We believe the ability to measure impact with the data collected directly from a support service provider can be instrumental in designing programs that meet actual cancer patient needs and expanding access for all.”

According to the American Cancer Society, there are approximately 164,000 patients currently living with metastatic breast cancer (mBC) in the United States, many of whom require additional treatment and medication to combat treatment side effects like insomnia, fatigue, nausea, digestive issues, and more (Giaquinto et al., 2022). In recent years new attention has been focused on integrative cancer care, and in 2017 the American Society of Clinical Oncology endorsed the Association of Integrative Oncology’s Clinical Practice Guidelines for breast cancer care, highlighting how therapies like yoga, meditation, and acupuncture improve cancer-related side effects (Greenlee et al., 2017).

To view the complete poster session of the San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium and learn more about Unite for HER Wellness Program for Metastatic Breast Cancer, visit uniteforher.org/sabcs.

“We hear from our patients every day about how the Wellness Program is improving their lives and helping them to adhere to their cancer treatments,” said Sue Weldon, founder and CEO of Unite for HER. “This study provides important data that we hope will encourage others to adopt integrative therapies into their lifestyle to reap their benefits. We see the difference firsthand and believe every person deserves whole patient care.” 


Sources

Andac-Jones, E., Gonzalo, M., Kelly, G., Weldon, S. Impact of Integrative Therapies on Patients with Metastatic Breast Cancer. Poster presentation. San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium 2022.

Giaquinto, A. N., Sung, H., Miller, K. D., Kramer, J. L., Newman, L. A., Minihan, A., Jemal, A., & Siegel, R. L. (2022). Breast cancer statistics, 2022. CA: A Cancer Journal for Clinicians, 72(6), 524–541. https://doi.org/10.3322/caac.21754 

Greenlee, H., DuPont-Reyes, M. J., Balneaves, L. G., Carlson, L. E., Cohen, M. R., Deng, G., Johnson, J. A., Mumber, M., Seely, D., Zick, S. M., Boyce, L. M., & Tripathy, D. (2017). Clinical practice guidelines on the evidence-based use of integrative therapies during and after breast cancer treatment. CA: A Cancer Journal for Clinicians, 67(3), 194–232. https://doi.org/10.3322/caac.21397

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