Integrative Strategies for Cancer Patients: A Practical Resource for Managing the Side Effects of Cancer Therapy


Integrative Strategies picInterview with Elena J Ladas, co- editor and author of the book

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What was the inspiration for this book?

Integrative Strategies for Cancer Patients was inspired by the Integrative Therapies Program and the adults, young adults, and children the program has served.  This book evolved from a black spiral binder that I began just a little over a decade ago which documented integrative therapies that patients found particularly useful.  ITPCC staff would periodically add to the book and it began to serve as a resource for staff and families.  As our cancer center expanded, we began referring patients to the reference book and photocopying excerpts for them to follow while at home or during times when staff members were not available.  This quickly became known as “the little black binder” which ultimately evolved into Integrative Strategies for Cancer Patients

The writing of this book allows us to bring our practice of integrative medicine to the public.  Anyone who has been challenged with a difficult health condition understands that learning about integrative medicine from a reliable resource can be a daunting task.  It is our hope that the book is written in such a fashion that is not cumbersome to the patient.  Rather, the authors strived to bring our practice of integrative medicine to patients in a visual and succinct manner.    

What was the process of writing this book?

The book was written with the same approach that ITPCC practices Integrative Medicine and demonstrates our methodology in choosing therapies for specified indications.  Integrative prescriptions for each indication were written with the expertise of a medical doctor, nutritionist, acupuncturist, reflexologist, massage therapist, aromatherapist, and yoga/exercise therapist. 

Why did you choose the therapies you covered in the book?

The book covers many of the most common side effects experienced by patients with cancer.  The therapies covered in this book are those that the authors and contributors rely on most in our clinical practice.  Each chapter reviews both the conventional medicine and Chinese medicine perspectives and the integrative approach for its management. Integrative Medicine in Action (Patient Story) highlights those therapies that we most frequently rely on for the side effect and are based upon actual clinical cases. If a specific complementary therapy is not a therapy that is routinely applied for the given side effect, the therapy is omitted.  The Appendix provides illustrated descriptions of acupressure point instruction, muscle reference models, reflexology foot and hand charts, yoga instruction, nutrition reference materials, references, and resources. 

What is the purpose of the book?

This book is designed to serve as a practical guide for integrative care.   It does not have to be read from cover to cover, but instead is designed to be used as a reference resource. This book provides the reader considerations on how to incorporate CAM in the management of side effects associated with cancer treatment. The therapies covered in this book are ones that can be self-administered or administered with the assistance of a caregiver. For some conditions, we suggest consultation with a licensed professional, such as an acupuncturist.

Who will benefit from this book?

Adults, young adults, and children with cancer and their health care providers may find this book beneficial in providing guidance on integrative medicine. 

Where can you buy it?

The book is available to order here. The book will be available in paper and electronic formats. 

How will the proceeds benefit the program?

All of the proceeds will benefit The Integrative Therapies Program located at Columbia University’s Medical Center.  The proceeds of this book will support educational initiatives for both patients and medical staff on integrative medicine and advance scientific research in integrative medicine.  To date, ITPCC has launched over two dozen trials that include national and international investigation.  

Will there be a CD provided with the book?

Yes, a CD will be available to aid the reader in the visual imageries.  The visual imageries are original manuscripts from the authors and have been written specifically for the intended side effect. It is now available on iTunes and Amazon.    

What is next for ITPPC?

This book is the first edition of which we hope to translate into multiple languages to be readily available internationally.  Subsequent editions expanding the covered side effects are also in consideration.