Highlights From the 10th International Conference of the Society for Integrative Oncology 


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Susan Bauer-Wu, PhD, RN, FAAN

Heather Greenlee, ND, PhD

The 10th International Conference of the Society for Integrative Oncology (SIO) was held recently in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, and attracted over 300 oncologists and internal medicine physicians, researchers, nurses, integrative medicine practitioners, cancer survivors, and patient advocates from 16 countries. The theme of this year’s conference was Translational Science in Integrative Oncology: From Bedside to Bench to Best Practices and featured presentations on cancer prevention and survivorship, mind-body interventions for stress reduction, the use of cannabis in the management of treatment side effects, chemoprevention through natural health products, and advances in nutrition therapy. Over 130 abstracts were presented at the conference.

Growing Interest

“We had a record number of abstracts submitted this year, and I think that represents a growing interest in the field of integrative oncology,” said Susan Bauer-Wu, PhD, RN, FAAN, Immediate Past-President of SIO and Kluge Professor in Contemplative End-of-Life Care at the University of Virginia School of Nursing in Charlottesville. “And it shows SIOs’ commitment to evidence-based research in integrative care of patients with cancer.”

The number of attendees at this year’s conference and the increase in the amount of scientific research is a good indicator, added Dr. Bauer-Wu, that the field of integrative oncology is creating a cultural change in clinical oncology care. “Many oncologists are realizing that they are falling short on all they could be doing for their patients. Yes, they may be able to rid patients of their cancer or reduce tumor burden, but often patients are left feeling unwell and have troubling side effects from their treatment,” said Dr. Bauer-Wu. “There is much greater receptivity now by oncologists in the use of integrative approaches such as exercise, acupuncture, and mindfulness meditation to address the needs of the whole patient during treatment and throughout survivorship and palliative care.”

Clinical Practice Guidelines

In addition to the record-breaking number of scientific abstracts presented at this year’s conference, this was the first year the SIO received a National Cancer Institute conference grant specifically to fund travel expenses for patient advocates. Travel scholarships were awarded to 12 patient advocates from the United States and Canada.

“The grant allowed us to expose these patient advocates to the best science in integrative oncology so that they could take the information back to their communities,” said Heather Greenlee, ND, PhD, President of SIO and Assistant Professor in the Department of Epidemiology at the Mailman School of Public Health at Columbia University in New York.

One of the featured presentations at this year’s conference was the introduction of an integrative oncology practice guideline for lung cancer that was developed by SIO members and published in CHEST.1 The guideline can also be found on the National Institutes of Health National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine’s website at http://nccam.nih.gov/health/providers/clinicalpractice.htm. Next year, SIO will publish practice guidelines on the use of integrative therapies during breast cancer treatment in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute.

“We are using the strictest standards issued by ASCO and the Institute of Medicine in the development of guidelines on the use of integrative therapies during breast cancer treatment for symptom management, preventing and ameliorating treatment-related side effects, and improving quality of life for breast cancer patients,” said Dr. Greenlee. ■

Disclosure: Drs. Greenlee and Bauer-Wu reported no potential conflicts of interest.

Reference

1. Deng GE, Rausch SM, Jones LW, et al: Complementary therapies and integrative medicine in lung cancer: Diagnosis and management of lung cancer, 3rd ed: American College of Chest Physicians Evidence-Based Clinical Practice Guidelines. Chest 143(5 suppl):e420S-e436S, 2013.


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