The impact of cancer extends beyond the initial diagnosis and treatment phase, both physically and emotionally. Cancer can have a global and long lasting impact on all aspects of life including work, relationships, financial status, one’s view of oneself in the world and values.
Cancer survivors must learn how to reduce stress and process the impact of cancer. Many people touched by cancer develop a greater appreciation for life, stronger relationships and a greater sense of purpose. This is sometimes referred to as “post-traumatic growth.” This is not true for everyone, and even if one has this greater sense of life, there may still be many stresses in living with the late effects of cancer treatment and health monitoring. Fear of recurrence is a significant issue and developing a strategy to manage this anxiety during anniversaries, scans and visits to the doctor is a significant part of maintaining wellness.
The importance of mind/body techniques, psychological counseling and psychosocial support in recovery has been recognized by many individuals with a history of cancer. There is growing scientific literature that shows that these types of interventions help survivors improve quality of life and better navigate the ongoing and recurring events caused by cancer.
The Simms/Mann – UCLA Center for Integrative Oncology is committed to the psychological well being of survivors and to the practice of mind/body healing. Their services are provided by a dedicated staff of mental health professionals trained in individual counseling, group programs, art therapy, meditation, Qi Gong, social work and family therapy.
The center provides individual consultation to UCLA patients and family members to help develop a wellness plan that includes mind/body approaches and psychological healing.
They also offer a variety of groups. Some of the most common groups include:
- Support groups for people treated for DCIS (ductical carcinoma in situ) – A monthly group that meets to talk about the ongoing concerns
- Looking Ahead – Support for individuals with a history of cancer but who are no longer on treatment.
- Healing Through Art: Offers an opportunity to work with drawing, collage and sculpture to explore, understand and heal from the cancer experience
- Mind/Body Approaches to Coping with Cancer: A workshop for patients and adult family members to learn and practice techniques that will help them manage the stresses associated with cancer and its treatments
- Qi Gong: This class teaches the ancient Chinese art that promotes healing, mental health and clarity as well as systemic changes in lifestyles, health and fitness
- Meditation/Inner Healing: Mind/body techniques such as guided imagery music, color and movement are used to reduce stress and promote balance and healing
The Simms/Mann center also offers general educational lectures through the Insights Into Cancer lectures series which is available live and as streaming video.
To access these services or to find out more about mind/body and psychological services visit the Simms/Mann center.