Final Report: The Perceived Impact of Supplemental Treatments on Cancer Patients

This summer, my team’s goal was to analyze the perceived impact of supplemental treatments on cancer patients. We chose to cover the following subtopics of “Yoga and Mindfulness”, “Spirituality”, “Healthy Living: Diet and Exercise”, “Support Systems” and “Cancer from an Outside Perspective”. We decided to divide the subtopics between the both of us so that we can thoroughly analyze each idea to the fullest extent. I can proudly say that we accomplished our goal by combining literary research with personal experience through the numerous unstructured interviews that we conducted with various patients and experts. This approach gave our readers a unique perspective on the information we gathered from the various databases. 

Gathering general information about cancer and the different effects that the traditional treatments have on cancer patients was an essential stepping stone to our research. In order to create well thought out questions to ask our interviewees, we did the majority of our literary research prior to the interview. We utilized reputable sources that have been published within the past few years because we realized that research constantly changes on a daily basis, especially when it comes to cancer care. Knowing information beforehand gave us an opportunity to come up with clever questions to follow up on during the conversations we had with our interviewees’. We chose this methodology because it allowed us to discover more information about each topic and really allows us to interpret how various factors affect cancer patients. 

 From my experience, I’ve learned so much unexpected information from the unstructured interviews that I conducted in-person. For example, when I analyzed the “Mindfulness and Yoga” subtopic, one of my interviewees stressed the significance of gut health. They explained that sustaining a healthy gut helps cancer patients heal quicker through intestinal exercises. This strengthens the core and helps maintain healthy intestines. I was shocked to discover the numerous benefits intestinal exercises had on various parts of the body, such as brain health, circulation, immune system, digestion, metabolism, balance and mood. These benefits come from the serotonin and dopamine that are released from the gut when someone practices these exercises. It allows cancer patients to feel relaxed and happy in times where they feel anxious and depressed at the time of their diagnosis or during their treatments. 

Another interesting thing that I discovered was how much stress affects our bodies and how simple things such as breathing deeply could positively affect the human body. “Thinking that emotional, physical and mental health are different is an illusion, the illusion of separation is what makes us ill”. A yoga instructor said this to me during our interview, and they explained that if someone is trying to help their physical body by doing yoga during their traditional treatment, but they disregard other underlying issues at home or at work that causes them stress, the cancer does not heal correctly because they’re not working on healing their emotional body. This is all caused by the disconnect between the emotional and physical body. When we lead stressful lives, our breath involuntary becomes shallow and fresh air becomes restricted from descending down to the abdomen.  As a result, this causes toxins to release a lot slower than it should and it delays fresh air from circulating through the body. This delay causes toxins to build up in fat tissue and organs which could start to limit blood flow. The unexpected information that I learned inspired me and opened new doors for me while doing research. I touched upon various points that I wouldn’t have looked into prior to my interviews and I am glad that I learned all of this information because I think they are extremely important facts that people should be aware of. 

Mia and I decided to display our findings on Facebook, which is an extremely powerful social media tool. We wrote blog posts which dove deeper into our findings for each subtopic, and we did it in a way where it’s easy for people to grasp as much information as possible. We incorporated pictures, diagrams and quotes from reputable sources and from the amazing cancer survivors who were so open and honest about their experiences. Overall, this has been one of the most rewarding experiences of my life. Not only did I learn a lot, but through the genuine conversations I’ve had with the survivors, yoga instructors and other professionals, I built lifelong friendships and connections that will last a lifetime.

 

Blog #2: The Perceived Impact of Supplemental Treatment for Cancer Patients

Research thus far has been an amazing learning experience for me. I started off my journey by exploring various databases’ as well as my local public library, so that I could fully educate myself on the various types of traditional treatments. Gaining knowledge about the different types of traditional treatments was a great segue for me to further explore supplemental treatments and the impacts it has on Cancer patients. I’ve noticed that as I continue to do more research, I gain a stronger attachment and curiosity towards our topic. This constant growth of curiosity and excitement is what helps me generate more ideas towards each of our subtopics.

Searching through databases’ and books before conducting interviews has helped Mia and I form great questions to ask our interviewees. So far, each interview I’ve done has backed up the literature that I’ve found. I find it so interesting to see how personal experience overlaps with scholarly sources. Being able to compare and contrast our literary findings with personal experiences is one of the many things I love about this project. For example, I interviewed various Cancer patients and each of them practiced a different religion. I asked them questions about spirituality and how it plays a roll in their fight against Cancer. After meeting with each interviewee, I reflected on each conversation and it was interesting to see that although each person practices a different religion, they all turn to their faith to stay hopeful and maintain strength as they’re going through traditional treatment. Each person stated that Cancer doesn’t only effect the body physically but it also takes an emotional toll. Therefore, spirituality is a great supplemental treatment because it helps patients maintain the strength needed to keep on powering through their treatment.

Whenever I schedule an interview with someone, I get so excited to hear their story. Being able to incorporate their experience to be a part our research feels like such an honor. This journey of exploring the perceived impacts of supplemental treatments for Cancer patients has allowed me to develop even stronger problem solving, organizational and communication skills which are important professional and life skills to have. I could proudly say that the research I’ve done thus far has given me a whole new perspective on life and I am forever grateful for this opportunity. I’m eager to dive even deeper into the research for our topic. My overall goal is to learn as much as I can so that I could share my knowledge and make a positive impact on the lives of many.

Blog Post 1: The Perceived Impact of Supplemental Treatments on Cancer Patients

Individuals in today’s society know of at least one person who is currently battling Cancer or someone who has lost their life to the horrific disease. Mia and I took a course called “Mindfulness and Cultural Intelligence” and throughout the semester, we discovered that we both had a mutual interest in the topic of Cancer. When we first started talking about Cancer, we both brought up different types of supplemental treatments that our loved ones used to help them fight their battle. After class one day, we had a conversation with Dr. Maxam and realized that we have all been touched by Cancer in some way, and we were so heartwarmed to see that this was a passion that we all shared. From this first conversation, we sparked many others, and we decided to conduct a study that focuses on ways complementary treatments could affect the lives of Cancer patients while they go through traditional treatments like chemotherapy and radiation. Through these ideas, we chose the title “The Perceived Impact of Supplemental Treatments on Cancer Patients.”

In our study we will be examining six major impacts that Cancer has had on the lives of many individuals across the globe.  These six impacts will be our subtopics and they consist of support systems, spirituality, diet, mindfulness/yoga, exercise, and milestones/positive thinking. We will be interviewing various Cancer survivors to learn about how they fought their battles. We will also be interviewing professionals, such as yoga instructors, who help Cancer patients power through the side effects of traditional treatments like medications. In addition to the interviews, we are also going to do an extensive amount of research using various scholarly sources in credible databases for each subtopic. Through academic projects we have done in the past, we discovered that social media is a great tool to bring instant awareness to a larger audience of people. Therefore, we will be posting various blogs and newsletters containing the research we have gathered for each subtopic onto a Facebook page that we will be creating. 

I’m currently studying Public Accounting at Pace University. Although Cancer has nothing to do with my major, it has had a major impact on my life. I lost my grandfather to Esophagus Cancer when I was an infant, and now my grandmother is currently battling Thyroid Cancer. Through this study I am eager to learn more about the disease and discover different ways that Cancer patients could recover this monstrous disease through various holistic approaches.