\n \n \nCancer can affect your entire mind and body. Although we typically associate cancer with one area of the body, the disease can affect far more than a single organ or region of our bodies.\nIntegrative oncology takes a \u00a0holistic approach to managing side effects that come with cancer treatment, recovery, and survivorship.\u00a0Combining integrative therapies with conventional medicine (chemotherapy, radiation, and surgery), integrative oncology creates a cohesive approach to your care.\nWith an integrative oncology team, your care plan goes\u00a0beyond your diagnosis and symptoms to look at your support system, cultural and spiritual beliefs, and your goals.\nThe Wellness and Integrative Oncology Program at UPMC Hillman Cancer Center manages the mind, body, and spirit. Learn more.\u00a0\nWhat Treatments and Therapies Are Used?\nIntegrative oncology combines a range of therapies and general lifestyle practices to help you heal, manage side effects of treatment, and improve your overall quality of life before, during, and after “cancer” became a part of your life.\nTherapies incorporated into your care plan roughly fall under the categories of movement, touch, nutrition, and mindfulness. Examples include:\n\n\n\nMusic, arts, and expressive therapy\nMeditation\nYoga and other forms of physical exercise\nAcupuncture\nMassage\nAromatherapy\nLifestyle Nutrition\n\n\n\nWhat Are the Benefits of Integrative Oncology?\nTherapies chosen within an integrative oncology program are those that have been shown most effective in helping patients with the most common side effects associated with cancer and its treatment. Conventional medicine like chemotherapy, surgery, and radiation therapy have side effects that are tough to handle despite our best efforts and all of the progress in the field.\nRELATED: Learn How Yoga Can Help Cancer Patients\nSuch cancer side effects include:\n\nNausea and vomiting\nFatigue\nInsomnia\nAnxiety or depression\nPain\nMind-body\nEnergy therapies and body work (Reiki, Shiatsu)\n\nUsing integrative oncology to lessen cancer symptoms\nAn integrative approach can decrease symptoms and improve quality of life.\nWhen you feel bad, it’s harder to recover and to remain positive to continue treatment. You have a lot of options to help you. For example, if you are struggling with pain, you may want to consider acupuncture instead of or along with pain medications.\nFatigue is also a common side effect of cancer itself and many treatments. Your body has a lot to overcome. Physical activity and yoga, to the extent you’re able, can help you regain some strength and energy.\nIt’s important to make sure that any integrative therapies, especially supplements, considered during cancer therapy are discussed with your oncologist. Cancer is a complicated disease and is best managed by your oncology doctor and your care team.\nBy receiving care at a cancer center with a dedicated integrative oncology program, you can be sure you’ll receive the safest and most comprehensive advice and guidance.\nWant to learn more about integrative\u00a0oncology, including yoga and other practices for cancer patients? Check out our Medical Mondays segment focused on integrative oncology.