When someone is diagnosed with cancer, dealing with the social, emotional and financial issues that arise can be overwhelming. For 25 years, The Wellness Community—an international nonprofit organization—has been offering people with cancer and their loved ones support and services for cancer care. Dr. Oz talks with Kim Thiboldeaux, president and CEO of The Wellness Community, about the organization and her book The Total Cancer Wellness Guide: Reclaiming Your Life After Diagnosis.
The Wellness Community aims to give patients and their loved ones the tools to cope and take control. "We show them that there is hope in the face of cancer," Kim says. Family member and caregiver services are also popular at The Wellness Community. "A lot of the research shows that the caregivers suffer potentially the same amounts of emotional distress and anxiety and depression as the patient, yet I do think we as a society don't take that into account," she says.
By better understanding cancer and learning how to make treatment decisions, manage the side effects and receive support and counseling, Kim says people with cancer can live better and longer lives. "We are getting better cure rates in some cancers, we are seeing more targeted therapies come to market, we are seeing a better acceptance of cancer in society," she says.
Kim says anyone with cancer should consider their options for treatment carefully. She suggests that cancer patients consider these two options:
Clinical trials: In cancer treatment trials you will be given an experimental drug—not a placebo, which Kim says would be unethical. "People who have been in trials have told us, 'Look, [the trial] was the best care I ever got,' because folks in trials are monitored so closely," she says.
Complete cancer management: Yoga, tai chi, nutritional approaches, meditation and relaxation are things people can do in addition to their medical care to help them manage their illness, Kim says. "The ability to take control in the moment, right now, to help manage the diseases is incredibly powerful for cancer patients," she says