If you are diagnosed with cancer, there are health treatment programs which may enhance the body’s ability to fight cancer and help the traditional cancer treatments work more effectively. The goal of integrative, holistic medicine is to work with the patient as the center of the medical team and combine both traditional and complementary treatments to restore the patient to a better state of health.

Integrative medicine consultation service in a comprehensive cancer center: findings and outcomes.


Frenkel M1, Cohen L, Peterson N, Palmer JL, Swint K, Bruera E.


Author information

Integrative Medicine Program, The University of Texas M D Anderson Cancer Center, 1515 Holcombe Blvd., Houston, TX 77030, USA. frenkelm@netvision.net.il





This study portrays the characteristics of patients who attended an integrative oncology clinic at a large comprehensive cancer center and evaluated whether this service addressed patients' concerns about complementary and integrative medicine (CIM).



Patient information was collected prior to an integrative consultation, including demographics, previous use of CIM, and primary reason for requesting the consultation. Concerns and outcomes were measured using the Measure Yourself Concerns and Well-being (MYCaW) Scale at the consultation and then again at follow-up (6-12 weeks later). Patients met with a physician for an integrative consultation that included a discussion of nutrition, supplements, physical activity, useful complementary therapies, and the mind-body-spirit connection.



A total of 238 patients were referred for consultation regarding the integration of CIM into their care. The majority of participants were female (60%, n = 143), and the mean age was 56 years (range, 21-90 years), with all major cancer types represented. Patients' leading concerns were related to "What else can I do?" and "How can I better cope?" Although distressed over these concerns at the initial consultation, intense distress (5-6 out of 6 on the MYCaW scale) was reduced to less than half (31%) by the follow-up visit. Additional qualitative data revealed that patients value the process of obtaining reliable information that empowers them to be more involved in managing their care.



Integrative medicine consultations at a large comprehensive cancer center appear to provide some benefit in addressing patients' concerns about CIM use.

Integrative Medicine and Patient-Centered Care


Victoria Maizes MD

Corresponding Author. Address: University of Arizona, PO Box 245153, Tucson, AZ 85724

David Rakel MD

Catherine Niemiec, JD, LAc


DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.explore.2009.06.008


Integrative medicine has emerged as a potential solution to the American healthcare crisis. It provides care that is patient centered, healing oriented, emphasizes the therapeutic relationship, and uses therapeutic approaches originating from conventional and alternative medicine. Initially driven by consumer demand, the attention integrative medicine places on understanding whole persons and assisting with lifestyle change is now being recognized as a strategy to address the epidemic of chronic diseases bankrupting our economy.


This paper defines integrative medicine and its principles, describes the history of complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) in American healthcare, and discusses the current state and desired future of integrative medical practice. The importance of patient-centered care, patient empowerment, behavior change, continuity of care, outcomes research, and the challenges to successful integration are discussed. The authors suggest a model for an integrative healthcare system grounded in team-based care. A primary health partner who knows the patient well, is able to addresses mind, body, and spiritual needs, and coordinates care with the help of a team of practitioners is at the centerpiece. Collectively, the team can meet all the health needs of the particular patient and forms the patient-centered medical home.


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