by Linda E. Carlson, Ph.D., R. Psych.
In the last column section editor Dr. Stephen Sagar provided an overview of some of the defining characteristics of Integrative Oncology (IO) programs. One statement that leapt out at me is that IO “is not alternative medicine, but evidence-based therapies that are complementary to the medical cancer treatments. It is part of a supportive care program that enhances coping and well-being.” With this definition in mind we’ve been working hard in Alberta, beginning at the Tom Baker Cancer Centre (TBCC), to create a truly integrated IO program. Dr. Sagar was kind to single out our work as an example of efforts in Canada to make IO part and parcel of comprehensive cancer care. I’d like to take this opportunity now to tell you more about our services, plans and overall vision.
by Phil Gold CC, OQ, MD, PhD, Editor, Current Oncology and CKN
Dr. Gold comments on this article from the Globe and Mail Jan. 9, 2015: Scientists unleash the power of immunotherapy on stubborn cancers
Perhaps the earliest attempt at the immunotherapy of human cancer, in the ‘modern era’, can be traced to William Coley who had seen tumour regression in patients with erysipelas near head and neck cancers. Extending this observation, Coley’s toxin, as it came to be called, was a mixture of killed bacteria that he injected directly into the tumours of patients with head and neck cancer. In a significant number of cases, a regression of the tumour was seen, although seldom “cured”. This work was done in the 1890’s at Memorial Hospital in New York and it’s interesting that Anton Chekhov, in his capacity as a physician rather than a composer, had recorded similar findings in the late 1880’s in his patients in Russia.
Art by Kelly
by Angela Smith
Human beings have been creating art for tens of thousands of years. From early cave drawings, to the masterpieces of the Renaissance period, to the spirit of experimentation of modern times, art has evolved and provided a means of expression, communication and a way to record the human experience. Artists have long been aware of the therapeutic benefits of the creative process, while science seeks to understand why this is so. This article will attempt to answer how and why art is beneficial to people who are living with a serious illness such as cancer.
by Dr. Rob Rutledge, MD, FRCPC
Joanne, a Radiation Therapist, seems especially calm today. Her dark eyes shine and her voice is soft yet confident. We’re working together in the CVsim where we take x-rays of patients in preparation for their treatments. As we work, we share stories about our kids, laughing about how work is the only place where people actually listen to what we’re saying.
by Bev Foster B.Ed., B.Mus., ARCT, AMus
Ubiquitous. That four syllable word describes how music permeates our world. It is everywhere – in every culture, in schoolrooms, at sporting events, in parades, on radios, ipods and mp3 players, in grocery stores or markets, on street corners, in religious institutions and health care clinics, in concert halls, dance studios and theatres. Music accompanies us on the journey, through life passages, through sickness, through health.
Music has a capacity to reach into every human domain and improve our quality of life through stimulation, social integration, communication, expression and daily routine. Music is a powerful medium.
by Sara Klinck, MMT, MTA
Thoughts and feelings spill into the air. I begin to sing and words take flight with tone, rhythm, melody. Messages that can be expressed and contemplated, they hold meaning to the one expressing them. Simple. Honest. Profound. The music and the voice bring the lyrics to life, so that they can be heard, received, digested. Perhaps the heart can be understood a little bit better through the process of writing a song.