You’ve just received a cancer diagnosis. What are you feeling right now? Fear, dread, anxiety. Depression in cancer patients may be up to three times higher than in the general population (1). At Heart Spring Health, we understand the seriousness of mental health and cancer care. That’s why our entire team works collaboratively to focus on the whole person. Working with a collaborative team of cancer-care providers gives you an environment in which to talk about and receive treatment for concerns, fears, pain, symptoms or side effects to cancer treatments, and more. We use a variety of healing modalities to address anxiety, depression and other mental health issues during collaborative cancer care.
- During fasting, the healthy cells of the body “switch off” signals for growth and reproduction and enter a
“protective” mode, making them more resistant to damage from chemotherapy.
- If not fasting, diets low in magnesium (2) were found to increase anxiety related behavior. Foods rich in magnesium such as leafy greens, legumes, nuts, and whole grains can help a person feel calmer.
- Read more about nutrition
- Active Hexose Correlated Compound (AHCC) can be extracted from mushrooms. Research suggests that
taking 1g AHCC orally reduced chemotherapy-related abnormalities in breast cancer patients receiving
chemotherapy compared to a control. (3)
- Medicine made from mistletoe has been shown to have direct cytotoxic (cancer cell killing) effects. Several
components of mistletoe have been found to cause apoptosis (programmed cell death) in cancer cells. A
meta-analysis concluded that breast cancer patients who underwent standard treatment for breast cancer
and utilized mistletoe reported a positive quality of life and overall survival rates with long term follow up. (4)
- Read more about herbal medicine
- Acupuncture is a form of Chinese medicine and involves the insertion of fine needles into the body
resulting in therapeutic effects. Research has shown acupuncture to ease cancer treatment side effects,
such as depression, anxiety, fatigue, nausea, neuropathy and immune suppression. (5)
- Acupuncture can cause the nervous system to produce pain “killing” chemicals, and stimulate emotion
“balancing” parts of the brain to ease things like anxiety.
- Read more about acupuncture
- Craniosacral Therapy (CST) is a non-invasive, gentle form of bodywork that works directly on the
craniosacral system (membranes and fluid around the brain and spine) to re-balance the body within the
central nervous system.
- CST is used to alleviate body pain, fatigue, stress, anxiety, emotional trauma, headaches/migraines, TMJ,
- Read more about craniosacral therapy
Dr. Serron Wilkie is a naturopathic doctor and acupuncturist at Heart Spring Health, a holistic health clinic in Southeast Portland, Oregon. She provides the full spectrum of care for a wide range of health concerns, including a focus in holistic mental health and integrative cancer care. Click here to learn more about Dr Wilkie.
- W. Linden et al.: Anxiety and depression after cancer diagnosis: prevalence rates by cancer type, gender, and age. J. Affect. Disord. 141, 343 (2012)
- S. B. Sartori et al.: Magnesium deficiency induces anxiety and HPA axis dysregulation: Modulation by therapeutic drug treatment. Neuropharmacology 62, 304 (2012)
- T. Ito et al.: Reduction of Adverse Effects by a Mushroom Product, Active Hexose Correlated Compound (AHCC) in Patients With Advanced Cancer During Chemotherapy—The Significance of the Levels of HHV-6 DNA in Saliva as a Surrogate Biomarker During Chemotherapy. Nutrition and Cancer 66, 377 (2014)
- R. Ziegler et al.: Individual Patient Data Meta-analysis of Survival and Psychosomatic Self-regulation from Published Prospective Controlled Cohort Studies for Long-term Therapy of Breast Cancer Patients with a Mistletoe Preparation (Iscador). Evid. Based. Complement. Alternat. Med. 7, 157 (2010)
- G. Franconi et al.: A systematic review of experimental and clinical acupuncture in chemotherapy-induced peripheral neuropathy. Evid. Based. Complement. Alternat. Med. Evid, Based (2013)
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