The Integrative Medicine Clinic Against Breast Cancer

Healing Beyond Treatment: Integrating Mind, Body, and Nature in Breast Cancer Care. By addressing both the physical and psychosocial aspects quality of life and prevention of cancer recurrence is enhanced.

Pitch Inttiative:

The IMC against breast cancer was created merging the expertise of the EUSOMA BREAST CENTER of the “G. Bernabeo” Hospital (Ortona – Italy) with that of the DEPARTMENT OF MEDICINE AND AGING SCIENCES of the “G. d’Annunzio” University of Chieti-Pescara (Chieti – Italy). The Clinic supports the traditional treatments of breast cancer, given by the EUSOMA BREAST CENTER, with services aimed to consider the person, from the diagnosis of the cancer till the end of the follow-up period. The aims of the Clinic are (a) to
improve the quality of life of breast cancer patients through integrative treatments favouring their actual and future psychophysical health, also preventing the side effects of breast cancer treatments, (b) to prevent cancer recurrence. Inpatients IMC services include (a) educational videos and materials, (b) acupuncture,
and (c) body-mind exercise. Outpatients IMC services include (a) multidisciplinary medical examination, (b) psychological and heart rate variability assessment, (c) anthropometry and body composition analysis, (d)
lifestyle assessment (including objectively recorded physical activity, sedentary behaviour and sleep, and dietary habits recording) followed by counseling with kinesiologists, and nutritionists, delivering tailored behavioural interventions, (e) acupuncture, (f) psychotherapy, (g) multidisciplinary medical examination to
obtain eligibility to participate to the adapted physical exercise program, (h) adapted physical exercise program, delivered both in indoor and outdoor settings. The frequency of both controls and treatments depends on patients’ characteristics. In addition, the IMC “at home and in nature” includes (a) website, containing educational material, (b) online weekly feedbacks concerning physical activity, sedentary behaviour and sleep, based on their continuous recording and on the use of both accelerometers and of a dedicated website, (c) online relaxing and myofascial exercises, (d) art-based events, (e) mapping and physiological characterization of paths in natural environment, having useful characteristics for health, in the Abruzzo region. Our website also delivers essential information concerning the importance of nature for health, (f) periodic supervised workouts in the mapped paths, to elicit their knowledge, and the knowledge of their acute positive effects on health. The described services are developed because the “G. Bernabeo” Hospital treats, each year, almost 60% of breast cancer patients of our Region; i.e. we created an integrative service being able to also reach patients at home. About the most important results, the IMC allowed the reduction of anxiety (-31.3%), depression (-25.4%), use of antidepressant (-25.6%) and anxiolytic (-35.6%) drugs, use of hypno-inducing drugs and supplements (-50.2%), use of anti-inflammatory (-73.5%) and painkiller (-55.3%) drugs. These results are completed by the improvement of body composition, cardiovascular, metabolic, inflammation, and immune system parameters together with those concerning
liver function, general fitness level, according to the followed program. Other results, concerning our research activities, are available in our website dedicated page. The Clinic is linked with University courses directed to medical students, to post-graduate specialization course for kinesiologists, and to courses for general practioners. In addition, the Clinic, through its university members, is linked with the Italian Group on Exercise Oncology, aimed to favour the development of physical exercise in the oncological field.