The Simms/Mann - UCLA Center for Integrative Oncology is part of UCLA's Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center and UCLA Oncology. To find out more about research opportunities and medical oncology care, please visit these sites.
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This is the story about the power of one person and the impact that she is having on many patients who will receive a diagnosis of cancer as her family did twice; once with her father, Michael Lenvin, and once with her mother, Gail Lenvin. After losing both of her parents to cancer, Amanda Lenvin, now 29 years old, knows better than most that having knowledgeable psychosocial supportive care can make the difference in how a patient and family lives with the diagnosis. Amanda lost her mother in 2014 and her father in 2012. In Amanda’s words, “The counselors at

Getting a cancer diagnosis can be very stressful for you and your partner or spouse. Both the patient and the partner or spouse receives the diagnosis and it can impact all parts of the relationship. Understanding the impact on each of you is the beginning of figuring out how you will work together and support each other. New feelings are likely to arise, with new responsibilities, experiences and expectations. Learning how to juggle these new roles and responsibilities and all of the regular responsibilities of life can seem overwhelming at times. Also important to note is that stress can heighten

Certain cancer myths have a way of spreading even though they are scientifically incorrect. The problem with this arises when people avoid good prevention and valuable treatment options based off of these myths and misconceptions. Below are some commonly shared false beliefs to be aware of: Cancer is a death sentence - Passing away from cancer has dropped steadily since the 1990s. In some cases, five-year survival rates for cancers like breast, prostate, and thyroid, now exceed 90 percent. For all cancers, the survival rate is currently at about 60 percent. It is important to remember that cancer rates differ depending

To be a companion to the bereaved means being totally present to the mourner by offering a safe place for them to embrace their feelings. This safe place also allows the companion to be truly present to another person’s intimate pain. Tears and sorrow, with the listening and sharing of experiences, can bring about very deep and profound emotions. Dr. Alan D. Wolfelt, PhD, breaks down how to go about companioning in his “11 Tenets of Caring for the Bereaved.” Some examples of what companioning means: It is about being present to another person’s pain; not taking away the pain. It is about honoring

There is a growing body of literature that discusses the benefits of exercise and meditation. There are physical and psychological benefits of each of the techniques. In a recent study published in Translational Psychiatry, these two interventions were combined into a structured intervention for individuals with major depressive disorder.   After only 8 weeks, people with major depressive disorder had a reduction in depressive symptoms. There were also psychological improvements, including increases in synchronized neural activity. The authors suggest that exercise and meditation work together to increase the production of neurons and the sustaining of life of these neurons. Why is this

Oncology nutrition is important during one’s cancer treatment.  Sarcopenia is the medical term for loss of muscle mass. Muscle mass can be lost in patients of all weights whether you are thin, average or even in patients who are very overweight. Why is muscle mass so important? A recent study published in the Proceedings of the Nutrition Society underscores and summarizes why it is so important to monitor loss of muscle mass in the cancer patient population. As it turns out, loss of muscle mass is associated with and can predict if a patient is going to experience severe toxicity of

By Carolyn Katzin, MS, CNS “What should I eat now?” After a cancer diagnosis, most people want to know what changes they should make in their diet. After all, eating is one of the few areas that cancer survivors can exercise control over once a diagnosis has been made and treatment begins. The 80/20 Rule When it comes to eating well during cancer treatment, a simple rule of thumb to remember is the 80/20 rule. Eat food that is nutrient rich (contains protein, vitamins, minerals, and other useful components for building new cells) 80 percent of the time, and eat purely for

Research shows that it is not always true that when people have good experiences, they naturally feel joy for it. By focusing on becoming mindfully engaged and aware of feelings in the moment, the results can help in increasing happiness in one’s life. Some benefits can include stronger relationships, improved health mentally and physically, and getting creative with ways to solve problems. According to the studies of Fred Bryant, a social psychologist at Loyola University Chicago, there are steps you can take to help in developing skills to savor the good things in life. These were not specifically written for people

By Jeff Tirengel, Psy.D., M.P.H. Chronic health conditions have interpersonal as well as medical consequences. As the population of the United States ages, more of us are experiencing the challenges that can accompany illness. An overview issued by U.S. Centers for Disease Prevention in 2015 found that about half of all adults in the U.S. – 117 million people – have one of more chronic health conditions; one of four adults have two or more (Ward, Schiller & Goodman, 2012). Examples include heart disease, arthritis, diabetes, chronic kidney disease, depression, lung disease, Alzheimer’s, cancer, asthma, and stroke. Many of these

Oven Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Garlic (serves 4) This makes a wonderful side dish and features two valuable vegetables in health promotion (Brussels sprouts as part of the Cruciferous family and Garlic as part of the Allium family). Ingredients: 1 pound Brussels sprouts (if you can find some still on the stem they taste best) 6 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar 4 cloves garlic Sea salt and crushed black pepper Preheat the oven to 325 F.  Use a heavy (preferably cast-iron) oven dish.  Add oil and heat on medium heat on top of stove.  Prepare the Brussels sprouts by cutting away extra leaves and

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