Foundation Funds Complementary Breast Cancer Care

Angela Johnson, a practitioner of Chinese medicine in the Cancer Integrative Medicine Program at Rush University Medical Center in Chicago, IllinoisBy Angela Johnson

In a beautiful and quiet space of the 10th-floor Rush University Cancer Center, a team of integrative medicine providers helps people diagnosed with cancer heal in mind, body and spirit.

The Cancer Integrative Medicine Program team recently received exciting news: The Susan F. Lasky Cancer Foundation has provided funding so that patients with breast cancer can participate in a series of acupuncture, massage, nutritional counseling or yoga sessions, at no charge. The Cancer Integrative Medicine Program team is honored to receive this donation, as it creates opportunities for people who may not otherwise be able to afford our services, with a chance to be involved in their own care.

As the practitioner of Chinese medicine for the Cancer Integrative Medicine Program, I am thrilled to have this resource available to breast cancer patients. For those who elect acupuncture, the ability to receive a series of weekly treatments can make a significant impact in helping reduce the side effects related to cancer and cancer treatment. As one of the most studied forms of complementary medicine, acupuncture has been found to be safe, and play a very useful role in symptom supportive care. In research studies, acupuncture supports the immune system, and is known to help with symptoms like fatigue, depression, pain, vomiting, radiation-induced xerostomia (i.e., dry mouth), and chemotherapy-induced hot flashes.

If you or someone you know has a breast cancer diagnosis, and is interested in integrative medicine, please contact the Cancer Integrative Medicine Program at (312) 563-2531 to learn more about this wonderful opportunity.

Angela Johnson, Dipl OM, MSTOM, MPH, LAc, is a practitioner of Chinese medicine with the Cancer Integrative Medicine Program at Rush.

Video: Rush’s Cancer Integrative Medicine Program

By Angela Johnson

In early June 2010, we were contacted by the Web managing editor at Rush about a great opportunity to create a video to educate people about the Cancer Integrative Medicine Program. For a few days, graduate students from the Medill School of Journalism set up shop in the office, creatively utilized our small office spaces, and interviewed staff and patients to learn first-hand what the program was all about. After some helpful feedback and edits, we now have a great story to share — on YouTube! Our team was grateful for this opportunity, and we thank our patients who donated their time to share their stories.

What we learned in this process is that patients are truly interested in sharing their stories. They want other people, who are going through their own journey with cancer or other chronic illnesses, to know that services like ours can sometimes be the key to “carry them through” the difficulties of managing a chronic illness. It is our hope that this video provides people with a greater understanding of our program, and is a source of inspiration to know that Rush has a dedicated group of integrative medicine practitioners who are here to help carry patients through their own personal journeys with illness, and gently move them into a place of healing.

If you would like to know more about the Cancer Integrative Medicine Program, please call (312) 563-2531.

Angela Johnson, MSTOM, Dipl OM, MPH, LAc, is a nationally board-certified diplomate of Oriental medicine at Rush University Medical Center and a member of the Cancer Integrative Medicine Program staff.