Leading cancer expert weighs in on effectiveness of alternative therapies



Score one major point for alternative cancer care: Dr. Judah Folkman, widely considered the father of anti-angiogenesis cancer therapeutics, recently gave the keynote address to a standing-room only crowd of complementary medicine supporters at the 8th annual lecture series for the Lenny Zakim Center for Integrative Therapies.

His talk, which covered his research interests and the emerging role of nutritional supplements in anti-angiogenic therapy, helped further validate the importance of integrative approaches alongside traditional cancer care. Dr. Folkman gave even more encouraging news to practitioners who gathered at Boston’s Dana Farber Cancer Institute by describing recent research that connects moderate exercise to the release of natural anti-angiogenic factors that may inhibit some tumor growth.

The lecture series was named for Mr. Zakim, who, after being diagnosed with multiple myeloma, become an active supporter of making massage, acupuncture, meditation and other complementary approaches to cancer care more available to patients.

Having a medical expert like Dr. Folkman validate integrative medical approaches was a big step forward, but I think that it’s still going to be a long road ahead for patients and practitioners who want to bring alternative health practices in cancer care the forefront due to skepticism in the field.

As a person who’s recently tried to take a more proactive approach in pain management through preventative massage therapy and acupuncture, I can tell you from experience that it has been difficult for my husband and my family, many of them allopathic practitioners of Western medicine themselves, to take seriously. Still, I’m interested to see what the future has in hold for integrative medicine.

Thanks to Lisa McEvoy from Dana Farber for the news tip!

Have you or someone you know used complementary approaches to their cancer care? Tell us about it in the comments!

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