Health Advice



Breast cancer care that includes integrative therapies saves lives

By Michael Roizen, M.D. on

More than half of physicians' offices in the U.S. have recommended at least one complementary health intervention, such as Alexander technique, acupuncture, aromatherapy or yoga, to their patients, according to a January 2020 survey. The goal is to help reduce stress and/or anxiety, ease depression, lessen pain, improve balance and posture, decrease weight and strengthen bones and muscles.

The use of integrative therapies to complement traditional Western medicine has even expanded into cancer care, and patients are benefiting enormously. A study in the Journal of Oncology looked at breast cancer patients and their five-year outcomes depending on whether or not their cancer care center offered any of 12 forms of complementary support.

The researchers found that when traditional cancer care was combined with medium or high levels of integrative therapies, breast cancer patients were at least three times more likely to survive than patients who went to centers with little or no integrative programs and support. The cancer care institutions with the most integrative offerings (and best results for their patients) focused on nutrition and exercise consultation, patient support groups, spiritual services, meditation/mindfulness and psycho-oncology support.

So, if you have a choice about where to get cancer care (no matter what type of cancer you have), opt for a center that offers you info on and access to integrative therapies. If that's not possible, talk with your oncologist about what kinds of integrative programs might help you physically and emotionally, and who in your area you could go to receive the added support.



Health pioneer Michael Roizen, M.D., is chief wellness officer emeritus at the Cleveland Clinic and author of four No. 1 New York Times bestsellers. His next book is "The Great Age Reboot: Cracking the Longevity Code for a Younger Tomorrow." Do you have a topic Dr. Mike should cover in a future column? If so, please email

(c)2022 Michael Roizen, M.D.

Distributed by King Features Syndicate, Inc.

(c) 2022 Michael Roizen, M.D. Distributed by King Features Syndicate, Inc.


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