News: Integrative services boost cancer patient survival, study finds

CDI Strategies - Volume 16, Issue 2

Offering integrative oncology services such as nutrition counseling and patient support groups benefits many breast cancer patients, a recent research article in the Journal of Oncology says. While oncologists rely mainly on conventional medicine such as chemotherapy to treat their patients, integrative oncology combines complementary and lifestyle therapies such as meditation with conventional medicine.

The article features breast cancer patient data collected at 103 oncology institutions from January 2013 to December 2014, HealthLeaders reported. The study divided the oncology institutions into four cohorts based on a scoring system that ranked the organizations based on their integration opportunities.

The findings of the study include that low-mid institutions posted five-year survival odds three times higher than low institutions, and mid-high institutions posted five-year survival odds 48% higher than low institutions. “Crossing the threshold beyond ‘low’ involvement in integrative oncology represents a new path to incremental survival benefit for many cancer patients,” the study’s co-authors wrote.

The study’s co-authors recommend that oncology institutions should boost education, access, and funding for a core set of six integrative oncology services: nutrition counseling, exercise counseling, patient support groups, spiritual services, meditation, and psycho-oncology support.

“Although 12 [integrative oncology] modalities were researched in this study, five are highlighted in the results that are more commonly adopted. These are exercise counselling, nutrition counselling, psycho-oncology support, chaplain services, and patient support groups. […] We recommend adding meditation as a sixth key ‘core modality.’ These six represent an attractive bundle that addresses patients’ needs physically, mentally, socially, and spiritually, is often accepted as part of usual care, and provides some degree of choice for patients,” the study's co-authors wrote.

Editor’s note: This article was originally published by HealthLeaders. To read the full research article, click here.

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