Cancer is no longer a death sentence. There are several ways to prevent, manage and even cure a disease that is rapidly increasing in prevalence. Knowing and understanding the disease can help take preventive steps or choosing the right curative path.
The concept of preventive care has been around for a long time. As people are becoming health conscious, many healthcare practitioners are focusing on preventive measures and medicaments.
What is preventive medicine?
Dr. Chatchai Sribundit (M.D) from Akesis Life Bangkok, explains that the ideology of preventive medicine is to take pre-emptive measures to protect and enhance one’s health and wellbeing. The aim is to ward off any form of illness that can lead to incidence of disability or death. Doctors would normally focus on a patient as a whole and also look into the surrounding factors that may affect health related implications. Regular health checks and early detection also play an integral role for a lot of high risk diseases such as cancer, diabetes, and heart diseases.
Many medical professionals state that preventive medicine plays a very important role in today’s patient care plans. Proper implementation of preventive medicine or preventive care can lower unnecessary medical bills, and most importantly avoid premature death.
Different types of prevention
Primary prevention targets patients who seek to prevent diseases before they occur. It is done by preventing or minimising exposures to hazards that cause disease. Examples are:
- patient education to encourage health and safety;
- laws to ban or control the use of hazardous products;
- immunisation against infectious diseases.
Secondary prevention aims to reduce the impact of diseases once they occur. This is achieved through detection and immediate treatment to halt or reduce progression, recurrence and prevention, by implementing programs to restore patients to their original health and functionality. Examples are:
- diet and exercise programs;
- regular screening and examination to detect diseases in their earliest stages.
Tertiary prevention seeks to reduce the impact of an ongoing illness. The aim is to help patients manage long-term, often-complex health problems. It maximises patients’ daily functions, quality of life and life expectancy. Examples are:
- cancer management and rehabilitation programs, and chronic disease management;
- work retention programs;
- support groups for members to share strategies on managing current medical conditions.
How Integrative Medicine works together with Preventive Medicine
Integrative medicine combines conventional treatment methods with both complementary and alternative therapies. It is very patient-centred, making use of natural products, modification of lifestyle, diet, a mind-body-spirit healing journey together with conventional treatments such as chemotherapy.
Sciencedirect.com indicates that preventive medicine has commonly been described as encompassing primary, secondary, and tertiary prevention. The fields of preventive medicine and public health have common objectives of promoting good health, disease prevention, and applying epidemiologic knowledge and techniques to these outcomes.
The goal of integrative medicine is to provide a variety of suitable treatment options, narrowing the gap between conventional and complementary medicine. Preventive medicine, when synergised into common practices in complementary and integrative medicine, can promote public health in the context of more responsible practices. Most importantly, the integrative preventive approach involves the responsible use of science with responsiveness to the needs of patients.
Common types of Integrative Medicine for Cancer Management
Integrative Medicine may help relieve common side-effects of cancer or cancer treatment. According to medlineplus.com, these include:
Acupuncture. This ancient Chinese practice may help relieve nausea and vomiting. It also may help ease cancer pain and hot flashes.
Aromatherapy. Treatment uses fragrant oils to improve health or mood. It also may help ease pain, nausea, stress, and depression.
Biofeedback. This therapy may help ease the pain of cancer. It also may help with sleeplessness.
Meditation This has been shown to ease anxiety, fatigue, stress, and sleep problems.
Massage therapy. This may help relieve anxiety, nausea, pain, and depression.
Yoga. This mind-body practice may help relieve stress, anxiety, and depression.
Organic herbs. Some herbs may help ease the nausea of cancer treatment when it is used with standard anti-nausea medicines.
Although all the therapies mentioned above are safe, always talk to the consulting medical professionals before use.
Let food be thy medicine
Leena Morrison quoted in theghoshcenter.org emphasises that a healthy diet includes eating and drinking enough of the right foods to provide the body with the nutrients needed to function properly. A plant-based diet can keep one’s body free from certain diseases, reverse incidence of many diseases and assist in risk reduction and prevention of cancer.
Plant-based diets contain mainly whole grains, vegetables, beans/legumes, seeds, fruits and nuts. Of this diet, 20% could contain fish and chicken and minimal low-fat dairy products. Foods that are nutrient-dense provide the body with healing benefits.
Sufficient hydration is also important for optimal health. Rule of thumb: drink half your weight in ounces each day. Having purely water is an optimum way to hydrate and flush toxins.
Consume organic foods when possible. Wash all fruits and vegetables to eliminate pesticides and potential toxins. Chemicals in the environment are detrimental to health. “
Let food be thy medicine” is a fantastic approach when looking at lifestyle changes and health enhancement.
Lifestyles Changes to Improve Cancer Care
On cancer.net, Lorenzo Cohen and Alison Jefferies, maintain that healthy living means making positive behaviour changes as part of an ongoing, life-long process. They recommend focusing on six pillars, called the “Mix of Six”:
- Eating healthy can help manage cancer side effects, quicken recovery, and improve health. This may also lower one’s future risk of cancer.
- Stress management can help maintain physical and mental health.
- Getting enough sleep, as this improves your health, coping ability, moods, weight-management, attention, and memory.
- Exercise regularly during and after cancer treatment. It helps reduce fatigue, weight gain, and loss of strength.
- Accepting practical and emotional support brings health benefits. Studies have shown that patients with the most social support have better quality of life and live longer.
- Avoid environmental toxins that can increase one’s risk of cancer and other illnesses, such as tobacco smoke, asbestos, styrene (found in Styrofoam).
Mind and Body practices
Some cancer treatments can have a harsh impact on the body. Hair loss, fatigue, weakness, nausea, and pain are common side-effects. The toll cancer takes on one’s emotions is equally serious and may not be easy to detect. Patients have to learn to manage feelings such as anxiety, fear and depression.
Mind-body medicine (complementary medicine) can play a major role in helping patients. It is undertaken together with regular treatments to help relax and focus the mind on controlling emotions and improve physical health.
Webmd.com elaborates further how Mind-Body Medicine works:
Having cancer is stressful. When the body is under stress, it releases cortisol. It sends blood and nutrients rushing to the brain and muscles in order to react to the threat. Muscles become tense, breath quickens, and the heart beats faster. That takes resources away from other important body systems, including the immune system. Mind-body medicine helps one relax and buffer some of these effects.
Invitation to learn more about Integrative Medicine and Innovation
To encourage more disease awareness and patient education, Dr Chatchai and the Akesis Life team welcomes guests to a Free Medical Guidance Seminar at Aetas Hotel (Timezone Room) on 23 November (12 – 5pm). Seating is limited. Please RSVP: email@example.com.
Author: Ezree Ebrahim, Business Development Consultant (Healthcare), Akesis Life by Absolute Health. For Further information, please contact: firstname.lastname@example.org
Series Editor: Christopher F. Bruton, Executive Director, Dataconsult Ltd, email@example.com. Dataconsult’s Thailand Regional Forum provides seminars and extensive documentation to update business on future trends in Thailand and in the Mekong Region.