Survivors After Growth Every Year

Topics: Breast Cancer


With improved cancer detection and treatment efforts, combined with demographic trends, are creating larger numbers of older cancer survivors who are likely to have other health conditions that can impact their care and well-being (Bluethemann, 2016). As the number of cancer survivors increases, so does the information on the long-term negative physical and mental effects. The benefit of a longer life is offset for many survivors by multiple persistent symptoms, including fatigue, distress, pain, and cognitive impairment (Shi et al., 2011).

Living with long-term symptoms can greatly diminish the quality of life for cancer survivors this can lead to a sense of no possibility of a return to a “normal” life.

An area that deserves investigation for cancer survivors is integrative therapies. Integrative health is a method that puts the patient at the focal point and confronts the full range of physical, emotional, mental, social, spiritual, and environmental influences that impacts a person’s health.

Integrative therapies include acupuncture, aromatherapy, ayurveda, biofeedback, chiropractic, energy medicine, herbal medicine, massage therapy, mind-body medicine, meditation, nutrition, yoga, and hypnosis.

Some cancer survivors have utilized or expressed interest in integrative medicine modalities for prevention of recurrence, optimizing health, enhancing quality of life, and managing symptoms (“Researchers from Mayo clinic”, 2017). Cancer survivors who experienced unmet needs within the existing cancer treatment and support system were more likely to use integrative therapies to help with cancer problems. (Mao, J, et al., 2008)

There is an opportunity for researchers to examine if integrative therapies can improve the quality of life for cancer survivors.

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Castellar et al’s 2014 study found that breast cancer survivors showed a significant reduction of most of their physical, mental, and emotional impairments. There was an improvement of their quality of life after a short period of eight weeks of pranic meditation practice, consisting of simple, and easy-to-learn exercises. The benefits included a significant improvement of the physical, role, emotional, and social functioning, the global health status, fatigue, pain, sleep disorders, body image, arm, and breast symptoms, and reduction of the side effects of systemic therapy, and upset by hair loss (Castellar, J. I., Fernandes, C. A., & Tosta, C. E., 2014)

The purpose of this study is to investigate if integrative therapies can indeed make a difference in comparison to taking no action at all. It is expected to find from this study that cancer survivors will experience improved quality of life scores and relief from physical symptoms from integrative therapies such as journaling, yoga, and a nutritional plan. Most integrative therapies are relatively low cost and could be easily taught to survivors and practiced in home. Some studies have already shown a diminished amount of cancer related pain after alternative therapies were utilized. Many survivors lose sight of further healing after the cancer treatments have finished, continuing to heal the body should be a standard in health care.

Optimistically the results of this study will demonstrate that levels of physical and mental distress post cancer can be improved by journaling, yoga, and nutritional planning.

Literature Review

The preceding research that has been done regarding post cancer survivors has looked at many different facets to the problem concerning quality of life. Yoga is currently used by cancer survivors outside conventional cancer care to improve adverse treatment-related effects, including flow yoga and restorative yoga classes at local studios. Yet a large number of cancer survivors remain unaware of the physical and psychosocial benefits of yoga therapy (Slocum-Gori, S., Fuchsia Howard, A., Balneaves, L. G., & Kazanjian, A., 2013).

A study entitled Pilot Study of Yoga for Breast Cancer Survivors: Physical and Psychological Benefits was conducted that examined the yoga benefits for breast cancer survivors, the methods used were randomly assigned to participants to the intervention or control group. All participants completed pre and post assessments for the yoga program. The results of the study concluded that the changes observed were psychosocial (global quality of life, emotional function, and overall irritability).

Conclusively the findings suggested that yoga has significant potential and should be explored for post cancer survivors. These outcomes have encouraged further investigation into yoga for post cancer survivors in conjunction with other modalities. Exercise has been studied and shown to be one of the key components to maintaining high quality of life following cancer treatment (Alfano, C. M., et la., 2007). The study Physical Activity, Long-term Symptoms, and Physical Health-related Quality of Life Among Breast Cancer Survivors: A Prospective Analysis, had over 500 participants that implemented cardio and other physical activities.

Researchers found a significant difference in fatigue, pain, and physical functions in survivors that maintained exercise over the course of the study. These results show promising outcomes for cancer survivors to utilize yoga for relief from fatigue and chronic pain. The reduction of the chronic pain in cancer survivors is a vital part of improving quality of life. Expressive writing has been long used to deal with emotional distress.

The study Expressive Writing in Early Breast Cancer Survivors examined if journaling could improve early breast cancer survivor’s quality of life. Participants in the study were put into four groups, a control (no journaling) and three expressive writing groups. The study resulted in the conclusion that expressive journaling focused on an individual’s cancer experiences can significantly improve quality of life. Ultimately expressive writing was shown to be a cost effective and relatively simple treatment for breast cancer survivors to improve the quality of life (Craft, M. A., Davis, G. C., & Paulson, R. M., 2012, April 11).

This research builds confidence that daily journaling along with other therapies can make long-term positive outcomes for survivors. The quality of life concerns with long-term cancer survivors has been documented in the study Quality of Life Among Long-Term Cancer Survivors. This study applied secondary research to look at the major psychosocial challenges and the late term physiologic effects of survivors. The results found after review of previous literature and recent data that effects quality of life and extended into long-term survivorship (Ferrell, B. R., PhD, RN, & Hassey Dow, K., Phd, RN.,1997, April 01).

This study clearly demonstrates the gaps within survivorship that could be filled with the intervention of integrative therapies. Long term and continued practice of integrative and alternative therapies such as journaling, yoga, and nutrition planning has the potential to reverse the quality of life concerns. The compiled research studies have all shown to individually have positive effects on cancer survivors. Yoga has shown to greatly improve emotional function, while physical activity has shown to greatly reduce chronic pain from long-term survivors.

The combination of these studies could have a promising outcome for cancer survivors in achieving a greater quality of life. As reviewed in the last study there are still huge gaps in the care and resources for cancer survivors. This study could have life changing and cost-effective results for post cancer survivors that have already suffered enough.

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Survivors After Growth Every Year. (2021, Dec 31). Retrieved from

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