Already 2014! What have we been up to?

Well it’s been almost 6 months since my last blog post and much is underway at the Tom Baker Cancer Centre when it comes to Integrative Oncology. Here’s a list of some of the current projects my students and I are undertaking:

1. Review of the scientific literature on the effects of antioxidant supplements during cancer treatments.

2. Canada-wide survey of Cancer Centre policies on antioxidant and natural health product usage for cancer patients. We are also including some of the key American cancer centres as well. The objective is to see if policies are aligned with the evidence-base.

3. Creation of a patient handbook summarizing Complementary Therapy use and evidence-based recommendations in cancer care. This is now available on the website for download. Integrative Oncology Guide.

4. Publication of the results of the Calgary-Vancouver MINDSET trial comparing mindfulness-based cancer recovery to supportive expressive therapy in distressed breast cancer survivors. This has received a lot of good press

5. Recent publication of results of the I-CAN Sleep study, comparing cognitive behavioral therapy for insomnia to mindfulness-based cancer recovery to treat insomnia in cancer survivors. This has also been covered extensively in the media.

I’ve also been privileged to present some of this work at the Society for Integrative Oncology in Vancouver in October 2013. where I summarized the MINDSET study and also presented work on a patient and health care provider survey on Complementary Therapies.

I also traveled to Italy for the joint conference of the Italian Psychosocial Oncology society/Psychoneuroimmunological society in November, and was honoured to be one of only two non-Italian speakers! My hosts were lovely and I had a wonderful time, delivering two keynote lectures and two workshops on mindfulness-based cancer recovery and mind-body therapies in cancer care.

Objectives for 2014 are to secure further funding to develop the IO program, hopefully add to our menu of evidence-based therapy options for patients at the TBCC, educate health care professionals, and continue our research efforts in this direction.

I’ll try to keep you updated as we move along this exciting work! Happy 2014!