The three-day event, themed “Diversity in Cancer Care,” featured 50 nationally-recognized speakers, 21 educational workshops, and participants from virtually every major cancer center in the U.S. and over 20 countries. More than 320 participants converged to discover the latest advances in integrative oncology, including studies on mind-body medicine, mushrooms, acupuncture, and more. “This year we had more research abstract submissions than ever before, which demonstrates the growing interest and evidence in the field,” stated SIO President Susan Bauer-Wu, PhD, RN, from Emory University.
Keynotes Highlight Pivotal Ideas
The featured keynotes, presented by nationally-renowned experts in their fields, illuminated advances in integrative oncology. In the opening keynote, Harold Freeman, MD, president and founder of the Ralph Lauren Center for Cancer Care and Prevention in New York City, spoke on his seminal work in establishing the “patient navigation movement,” which aims to eliminate social, cultural, and economic barriers to cancer care. Mycologist Paul Stamets, DSc (Hon), presented the event’s second keynote on the health benefits of mushrooms and other fungi for cancer and other diseases. Lorenzo Cohen, PhD, director of Integrative Medicine Program, University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, discussed the burgeoning evidence to support the use of mind-body interventions such as meditation and yoga to improve the quality of life and clinical outcomes of cancer patients.
Research Findings Illuminated During “Best of SIO”
On the conference’s final morning, participants were treated to the plenary session, “Best of SIO,” which was moderated by David Rosenthal, MD, professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School. The presenters, selected by the highest scoring research abstract submissions, showed the breadth and depth of research being done in this cutting-edge field. The studies and findings included:
• A double-blind, randomized controlled trial comparing real acupuncture to sham acupuncture, presented by Ting Bao, MD, from the University of Maryland Greenebaum Cancer Center. While no significant differences between real versus sham acupuncture occurred, significant improvements in hot flashes were noted in African Americans, suggesting there may be racial differences in response to acupuncture.
• Yu Fei Yang from Xiyuan Hospital, China Academy of Chinese Medical Sciences in Beijing, conducted a large multicenter prospective observational study evaluating clinical outcomes in patients receiving Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) for postoperative stage II and III colorectal cancer. The findings showed a significantly higher two-year survival in colorectal cancer patients receiving regular TCM compared to those with sporadic or low exposure or no TCM at all.
• Kishore Polireddy, a graduate student from the University of Kansas Medical Center, reported on a study on pancreatic tumors in mice, which showed that ascorbate is associated with decreased tumor invasion and spread of cancer, and less drug resistance. Polireddy received the SIO New Investigator Award for this remarkable work.
• Lorenzo Cohen, PhD, of the MD Anderson Cancer Center led a randomized study to evaluate a brief education intervention to increase complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) communication between nurses and cancer patients. The findings showed that the nurses found the intervention helpful as they reported that they were more likely to ask patients about CAM use.
• Lynda Balneaves, RN, PhD, from the University of British Columbia, presented a study that developed and tested the benefits of an educational program about CAM use among cancer patients. Results showed a significant improvement in CAM-related knowledge, an increase in confidence in making decisions about CAM use, and a significant decrease in distress related CAM decision making.
About the Society for Integrative Oncology
The Society for Integrative Oncology (SIO) (integrativeonc.org)
SIO’s 10th international conference will take place on October 20-23, 2013, in Vancouver, BC, Canada.