As you all probably know, October is breast cancer awareness month. What you may not know is that according to the National Cancer Institute’s (NCI) latest statistics, Pennsylvania women have a slightly higher chance of being diagnosed with breast cancer than the U.S. average and more than 1,100 Philadelphia women are diagnosed with the disease each year. More sobering is the fact that the NCI data shows that Philadelphia county has our state’s highest age-adjusted death rate for breast cancer at approximately 29-34 women per 100,000 residents. The good news is that these rates have actually been improving for Philadelphia, so there’s hope for further progress.
Breast cancer is a serious and significant disease and I’ve worked with many brave women to battle against it. Recently, I’ve seen more and more women and their families working with their doctors to take an integrated approach to battling their cancer. Today, doctors and hospitals across our region and the U.S. are, more than ever, working to treat each patient using a personalized approach and one that blends western or “traditional” medicine with eastern or “alternative” treatments. Using this east-meets-west strategy, I’ve had the privilege of helping several patients successfully battle their disease and help treat some of the most uncomfortable aspects of cancer – pain, nausea, fatigue and depression.
If you’re a frequent reader of this blog, you know that I like to cite recent studies and researchers to illustrate some new treatment trends. I think the best “expert” in this regard is a brave patient that has lived through this battle. One of my patients recently summed up what Oriental Medicine has helped her achieve like this:
I first met Sharon as a result of my search for additional therapies as I started my fight against breast cancer. She helped me with the side effects first from chemotherapy. I did not take any of my anti-nausea medications or any other pharmaceuticals to help with side effects. I then moved onto surgery and radiation. I did not experience the fatigue to the extent that most talk about with radiation and the results from treating the surgical scar tissue have been truly amazing and I am so happy.
There is no better reward than knowing my acupuncture and Oriental Medicine services have had an impact on a patient’s life. Here’s to our continued, collective success in melding old and new and traditional and alternative to triumph over breast cancer.