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Common Ground

January 3, 2018

Patients should start practicing yoga before beginning treatment 

Everywhere you look today, women are sporting yoga pants. In addition to dressing comfortably and fashionably, women with breast cancer have good reason to put their yoga pants to practical use. A review of studies investigating yoga therapy added to standard breast cancer treatment, found that patients in the intervention groups experienced significant benefits.

In a systematic review, researchers investigated whether yoga therapy added to breast cancer treatment improved patients’ physical and psychosocial quality of life (QoL). The authors selected 38 articles from peer-reviewed publications and published their findings in ...

December 29, 2017

You may have cancer, but you’re still in the driver’s seat

(The first in a two-post series)

Within days of her breast cancer diagnosis, Elizabeth, 42, said she found herself on a speeding train, carrying her through treatment. “I felt like I didn’t have control over anything,” she recalled. “Once you’re diagnosed, it’s full steam ahead. I hardly had time to process the diagnosis and I was booked immediately for multiple tests, doctors’ appointments, then surgery. I couldn’t control my cancer, but I also felt like I had lost control of my life.”

Elizabeth’s experience of powerlessness is common among those living with cancer. She’s right. There is little you can control about cancer. You can’t...

December 21, 2017

Music therapy and a customized playlist might help patients chill during radiation therapy

“Music hath charms to soothe a savage breast, to soften rocks, or bend a knotted oak,” penned English playwright and poet William Congreve. Could this phrase, written during the early 1700s, hold the keys to helping patients soothe the savage anxiety and stress they face during cancer treatments?

Seventy-eight patients with newly diagnosed cancer enrolled in a study examining the impact of music therapy (MT) on stress and anxiety during radiation therapy. Researchers randomly assigned 38 participants with breast cancer and 40 with head and neck cancer (39 in MT group and 39 in no MT group) either to re...

December 14, 2017

Self-hypnosis: A two-for-one deal

When it comes to psychosocial interventions for cancer patients, not all approaches are created equal. In a study comparing three different group interventions, only one resulted in decreased emotional distress and fatigue.

Researchers evaluated the effectiveness of three psychosocial group interventions to reduce sleep difficulties, fatigue and emotional distress in patients with breast cancer. A total of 123 patients participated in a cognitive behavioral therapy, yoga or self-hypnosis intervention. Results were compared to a control group who agreed not to participate in an intervention, and published in British Journal of Cancer.

Participants were as...

December 6, 2017

Mirror, mirror on the wall. Do I look like myself at all?

Managing the appearance-related side effects of cancer treatment can be particularly challenging for patients who aren’t feeling well. A recent study shows a psychosocial program, “Health in the Mirror,” can help women adapt better and more quickly to issues related to changes in appearance during cancer treatment.

After an initial psychological assessment, 83 females with cancer began the three-part “Health in the Mirror” program. Group sessions included a personalized make-up session and wig tutorial, instruction on caring for skin and body during cancer treatment, various spa treatments, and finally, a group discussion focused on p...

November 30, 2017

Nature’s Healing Bathtub: Songbirds, Cedar Oil, Tree Bark, Tea Root

(The second in a two-post blog series)

Forest bathing, which has nothing to do with water, is a research-based framework that helps promote healing and wellness through immersion in forests and other natural environments. You can work with a trained forest therapy guide, or explore the lush, fragrant, peaceful forest on your own. Here are a few tips to help make your forest bath therapeutic, calming and uplifting:

  1. Go for the green. Science shows that just five minutes communing with green nature boosts mood and self-esteem. There’s increased benefit if your session lasts between 20 and 45 minutes.

  2. To get the most of...

November 22, 2017

Many patients undergoing chemotherapy don’t routinely tell their health care team when they are experiencing side effects (which are sometimes severe). Now, a simple web-based intervention enables patients to report their symptoms in real time, triggering alerts to clinicians. It can have major benefits, including longer survival.

As published in The Journal of Clinical Oncology, performed a study comparing outcomes in patients receiving chemotherapy for metastatic solid tumors. Participants had several types of cancer, including genitourinary (32%), gynecologic (23%), breast (19%), and lung (26%). The authors randomly assigned participants to web-based symptom monitoring with patient-repor...

November 17, 2017

Down Dog! Yoga Tames Cancer-Related Distress

How can you prepare patients to face the emotional challenges of breast cancer treatment? Research shows yoga can be more effective than individual supportive therapy counseling when it comes reducing anxiety and distress, as well as improving the quality of life.

Yoga as a psychotherapeutic intervention

                                                                                                                                                                 Researchers studied the effects of a yoga program versus supportive therapy counseling in stage II and III breast cancer patients receiving conventional treatment. Sixty-nine participants w...

November 2, 2017

Cancer-related symptoms such as pain and depression can be reduced with a practice as simple as listening to music or poetry. Tune into Bach or the Beach Boys. Zone out to Longfellow or Angelou. Research shows you’ll feel better. 

The science behind the music note-worthy and Wordsworth(y) news

Various studies have explored art therapy as adjuvant treatment for physical and emotional disorders. In this study published in the Journal of Palliative Medicine, researchers evaluated the effect of passive listening to music and poetry on pain, depression, and hope in participants with cancer. Sixty-five adult patients hospitalized in a cancer facility and experiencing pain took part in the study. P...

November 1, 2017

CanSurround CEO Meg Maley, RN, BSN, accepts the University of Delaware’s (UD) Blue Hen 17&43 Award on behalf of CanSurround, at the UD Horn Entrepreneurship Awards Dinner held in October. The awards celebrate the 17 most promising ventures and 43 fastest growing companies founded, owned or led by UD students and alumni. Also pictured (left) are Dan Freeman, PhD, founding director, UD Horn Entrepreneurship; and Jeff Rollins, senior investment officer, Ashford Capital Management.

The full article can be found here.

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