Mind and Body Connection After Cancer Diagnosis
Dr. Liem Le
DAOM, Licensed Acupuncturist
Whether you are a cancer survivor or someone living with cancer, you might feel no longer in tune with your body due to the effects of the cancer treatments. Maybe you feel that your body isn’t functioning like it used to and that you are entering a "new normal." However, having helped many patients thrive through their cancer treatments into survivorship, I can tell you that this is not always the case. The many therapeutic modalities available at Moffitt Cancer Center, such as physical therapy, massage, acupuncture, yoga and mindful meditation, can often help to mitigate the side effects you might experience.
The mind and body are connected: our bodies respond to the way we think, feel and act, and vice versa. For this reason, self-care is not a luxury – it is a necessity – to relax, reduce stress, and to promote healing and recovery. Taking time to treat yourself is essential, whether taking a quiet walk, taking a nap, having a nice meal, or a massage.
As a survivor or as someone living with cancer, there are times when you might feel alone. There may be times when others around you do not perceive your emotional pain or hardship, as you might not "look like" you are experiencing the more overt physical effects of cancer. I always encourage my patients to express how they feel to their family, friends or support group.
Do not diminish your experience and feelings — they are valid. Physical and emotional scars might last long after treatment and may reopen every time you have follow-up visits and scans. Focus on the things you can control: diet, exercise, sleep and socialization. If and when you are ready, I suggest volunteering or supporting others who are going through their cancer journey – this can be an empowering and healing experience.
Most importantly, remember to take quiet time to listen to yourself, your body, your needs, and reflect on how resilient, courageous, and strong you are despite what you have gone or are going through.
Moffitt Cancer Center's Integrative Medicine Service offers several supportive care options for reducing the side effects and symptoms associated with many cancer treatments. Services they offer include massage therapy, acupuncture, yoga, and meditation. For more information about the Integrative Medicine Service, please call 813-745-6052, email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit Moffitt.org/HealingAndWellness.