- Question from Jennifer: Should I tell my oncologist that I'm getting a therapeutic massage once a week? I think he'd just laugh at me or tell me I shouldn't do it. How do I start this conversation?
Beth Baughman DuPree, M.D., F.A.C.S.
As a physician, I feel that my relationship with my patients is one of the most sacred relationships that exist. As such, in order to completely treat someone, there need to be open lines of communication at all times. I feel you should share with your oncologist that you are receiving massage therapy, and if the response that he/she is not one that you feel is completely supportive of what you are doing, understand that he/she may be in a different place in their spiritual development, and this is not a negative judgment against your choices.
I feel the patient should be quite open with any therapy that they are receiving, as well as any herbal supplements, vitamins, or antioxidants that are being taken concurrently with treatment. I encourage my patients to seek therapies apart from what we offer in standard "Western medicine." And my hope is that some day all patients will be asked by their physicians, "What complementary therapies are you taking that enhance your care that I can share with my other patients, as you seem to be doing so well."
- Mary Ellen Scheckenbach If a patient is actively discouraged from pursuing these modalities, what would you advise the patient to do?
- Beth Baughman DuPree, M.D., F.A.C.S. Just as I would tell one of my patients if they were diagnosed or recommended to have a certain type of treatment, I would say to get a second opinion about whether or not that treatment is appropriate for them. I would also ask my physician why they would advise against a healing modality. My goal is not to destroy an existing relationship between a doctor and a patient, but know that being able to communicate your needs and the ability for the physician to communicate their needs are equally important in the doctor/patient relationship.
The Ask-the-Expert Online Conference called Acupuncture and Touch Therapies featured Mary-Ellen Scheckenbach, M.Ac., Tracy Walton, L.M.T., M.S., and moderator Beth Baughman Dupree, M.D., F.A.C.S. answering your questions about acupuncture and touch therapies.
Editor's Note: This conference took place in March 2005.
The materials presented in these conferences do not necessarily reflect the views of Breastcancer.org. A qualified healthcare professional should be consulted before using any therapeutic product or regimen discussed. All readers should verify all information and data before employing any therapies described here.
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