Both my parents experienced the sudden change in life’s priorities associated with the diagnosis of inoperable cancer. Suddenly, things that have occupied our mind, time and energy are reappraised in light of a stark reminder of life’s uncertainty and our mortality. Hope is kept alive by modern medicine’s remarkable results with conventional treatments and the fact that some individuals do much better than expected, even with serious and advanced cancer.
Most people say the gift of sight is their most valuable sense perception – and almost everyone experiences decline in visual function with aging. B One of the most common symptoms of aging is the decline in accommodation, the process by which the eye changes (accommodates) focus to maintain a clear image of objects at different distances. This decline often begins before age 50 years. Accommodation acts like an automatic reflex, but it can also be consciously controlled.
The holiday season is filled with emotion for most people. While this emotion is often happy, positive and loving, for many people it can be very unhappy and even depressing. Holiday music can trigger emotional associations with the absence of a loved one or unhappy memories from the past. The gap between the smiling faces of holiday ads and one’s unhappy emotional experience can actually lead to a deepening of the emotional darkness that often accompanies this season of lights.
Being disconnected from or being self-
Anger can be a healthy emotional response or a serious health risk. Managing anger appropriately does not require that we deny it, repress it or get completely rid of it. Brief, mild-
The Harvard School of Public Health (HSPH) is the world’s premier nutrition education resource. Harvard Medical School and the Department of Nutrition at HSPH developed the Healthy Eating Plate to provide the general public with up-
Surely one of the best things about modern science is the discovery that chocolate can actually be good medicine! Chocolate As Preventive Medicine? Cocoa contains phytonutrients (plant chemicals) called flavanols that may help protect you against coronary heart disease (heart attacks). Compared to milk chocolate, dark chocolate contains two to three times the amount of these beneficial plant chemicals. A possible mechanism by which flavanols protect the heart may be enhancing.....
Yoga can be fun and healthy for you and your kids – physically, mentally and emotionally.What is yoga? The word “yoga” means to yoke, unite, connect or join together. Yoga helps connect the body, mind, heart and emotions. It can also help connect you to other people, animals, trees and all of nature. We tend to think of physical movements and body postures when we think of yoga. Yoga looks like exercise, but its intent is very different. Physical hatha yoga is traditionally performed as a means of .....
Where is your attention when you eat? Do you love the pleasure of eating so much that you overeat from sheer enjoyment rather than from physiologic hunger cues? Do you overeat as a self-
For many people, there is a relationship between stress and oral health. The presence of oral disease and dental disorders can cause stress from low self-
In addition to cold weather, winter sometimes brings sadness and depression. Some people experience depression only during the winter. Others with year-
The three primary domains of your overall fitness are physical activity, healthy eating and emotional well-
A cancer survivor is anyone who has been diagnosed with cancer, from the time of diagnosis through the rest of his or her life. Modern medical, radiation and surgical treatments have led to a growing population of cancer survivors, who now number over 12 million, or one in 25 Americans. Lifestyle choices such as health-
Is it necessary, or even safe, to take an antibiotic for your next illness? This question is becoming a routine part of conversations between consumers and health providers. The way we answer this question has serious implications. Consumers and health care providers are both being urged to help achieve the goals of good medicine and public health: making a correct diagnosis, using antibiotics only if the diagnosis war-
I will never forget my patient who developed Type 1, insulin-
What to Eat? The world’s leading nutrition researchers are sending a very clear public health message based on the best scientific evidence available: To promote health, prevent disease and extend life, half your food servings should come from fruits and vegetables. For more than 70 years, the Department of Nutrition of the Harvard School of Public Health (HSPH) has conducted rigorous scientific research on the relationship between food and health.
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A cancer survivor is anyone who has been diagnosed with cancer, from the time of diagnosis through the rest of his or her life. Modern medical, radiation and surgical treatments have led to a growing population of cancer survivors, who now number over 12 million, or one in 25 Americans.
Lifestyle choices such as health-
Major cancer advocacy groups provide guidelines for lifestyle behaviors based on solid medical research evidence. These guidelines are the place to start in developing your own plan for living well as a cancer survivor. They help cut through the hype and promotion for unproven cancer therapies.
The American Cancer Society (ACS) recommends cancer survivors experiencing nutrition-
needs may arise during cancer treatment and recovery that are best handled by an RD with additional training as a certified specialist in oncology (CSO). Your treating oncologist or your primary care provider can make this dietary referral.
The ACS offers general guidelines about nutrition for cancer survivors, including achieving and maintaining a healthy weight. An RD can assist you in determining a reasonable tar-
Research has not demonstrated any conclusive benefits from dietary supplementation with the antioxidant vitamins C and E, carotenoids or other phytochemicals. In fact, some harm has even been found in using them. The
ACS recommends cancer survivors not use such supplements. Smokers in particular are warned to avoid high-
The ACS also recommends resuming or beginning regular physical activity as soon as possible after the cancer diagnosis, aiming for 150 minutes per week of moderate physical activity (ballroom or line dancing, leisurely bicycling, general yard work and gardening, doubles tennis, brisk walking, water aerobics, ice or roller skating, horseback riding, canoeing, yoga, downhill skiing, golf, volleyball, softball, baseball, badminton, mowing the lawn, walking and lifting as part of your job) or 75 minutes of vigorous physical activity (aerobic dance, biking faster than 10 miles an hour, heavy gardening, hiking uphill, jumping rope, speed walking, jogging, fast swimming, singles tennis, circuit weight training, cross country skiing, soccer, racquetball, basketball, heavy manual labor at work). Strength training is recommended at least two days a week.
A National Cancer Institute fact sheet explains that while the exact mechanism is unknown, psychological stress can affect tumor growth and spread. For some people, there seems to be a relationship between attitudes, emotions, the immune system and cancer. Psychological factors, especially feelings of helplessness and hopelessness or suppressing emotions, seem to impact the growth or spread of cancer in some survivors. It seems prudent, therefore, to recommend stress management as part of your lifestyle treatment plan. Even if there is no connection between a given individual’s cancer and stress, the many positive side benefits of stress management can improve overall mental and physical health.
Religiosity and spirituality are receiving long-
These comprehensive lifestyle programs will likely become a universal standard as we continually improve the art and science of caring for cancer survivors.
Sources and Resources:
Dr. John Patterson is past president of the Kentucky Academy of Family Physicians and is board certified in family medicine and integrative holistic medicine. He is on the family practice faculty at the University of Kentucky College of Medicine and the University of Louisville School of Medicine, Saybrook University’s School of Mind Body Medicine (San Francisco) and the Center for Mind Body Medicine (Washington, D.C.). He operates the Mind Body Studio in Lexington, where he offers integrative medicine consultations