Mission Hope Cancer Center
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Mark Your Calendar for Upcoming Events!

Being Your Own Best Advocate

“Navigating Emotional Reactivity” is the theme of our July 17 Women’s Cancer Support Group, with Tom Steffora, MA, LMFT, leading the discussion at 4:00 p.m.

Then join us on August 7 for a Sharing/Caring session.

Register to attend by calling 805.219.HOPE (4673).

Receiving a cancer diagnosis is an overwhelming experience that comes with many challenges. Patients and family members are confronted with medical, emotional, social and financial problems that make navigating the complex health care system seem nearly impossible. While there are many tools and support programs to help patients during their difficult cancer journey, the most important tool to have is the knowledge necessary to be your own advocate. It is important to be involved in your own health care. Advocating for yourself will allow you to gain a sense of control that so many feel they have lost, once diagnosed. Self-advocacy builds confidence and ultimately leads to better treatment adherence and health outcomes.

Being Your Best Advocate

The list of ways to advocate for yourself are almost endless. However, there are a few that top the list. Included among these are understanding how your insurance works, communicating effectively with your health care team, involving a friend or family member in your care, identifying your needs and always knowing the next step.

In addition to these, it is also important to know how to research your illness. We all are guilty of spending nights reading “Dr. Google,” but the truth is that where we get our information can impact our decisions about our health in both positive and negative ways. Patients should be familiar with which sources are reliable and which are not. Retrieving information from an unreliable source can lead to patients making ill-informed decisions about their treatment and overall care plan.

Being assertive and speaking up for yourself can be intimidating and may be easier for some than others. But being a self-advocate does not mean you have to wave a banner around or take part in a formal protest to get your point across. By simply communicating clearly with your health care team and understanding your treatment and diagnosis, you have already become your own best advocate. Having support from friends, family or other cancer survivors can also help give you the confidence to state your needs clearly.

Mission Hope offers a support group for women who have been diagnosed with cancer. This group focuses on empowering women and encouraging them to support each other throughout all stages of their cancer journey. This includes helping one another thrive at advocating for themselves. As the women in the group bond and develop trust, they are able to communicate openly and honestly with one another. This is a great way to learn and practice skills that will allow one to speak openly and honestly with their health care team.

If you are a woman who has been diagnosed with cancer and want to learn the skills necessary to be your own advocate, join us at Mission Hope. The facilitator, Kim Neace, Oncology Nurse Navigator, will discuss and teach specific tools to help women gain the ability to participate in their care and promote optimal health outcomes.

Soothing Sounds of Twilight

Music for the Body, Mind and Spirit
Soothing Sounds of Twilight
with guitarist Terrie Miley, July 27 • 6:00 p.m.

Music has been used in medicine for thousands of years. Ancient Greek philosophers believed music could heal both the body and the soul, and Native Americans used singing and chanting as part of their healing rituals. Music therapy as we know it began after World War I, when music was used to help treat veterans suffering from “shell shock.” The patients showed such positive responses to music that doctors and nurses urged the hospitals to hire their own musicians. As a result, music therapy was born in 1944 at Michigan State University. A recent study featured in the journal, Medical Science Monitor, demonstrated that engaging in and listening to recreational music was more relaxing than quiet reading.

It is well known that listening to music affects a person’s emotions. Music therapists use this information while treating cancer patients or other patients with serious illnesses. The power of music can improve healing and enhance quality of life. In adults, it has been shown to improve memory, help them express their feelings and even promote physical rehabilitation. In children, music can encourage social interaction and cooperation. For both adults and children, music can help manage stress and pain.

Clinical studies have shown that music therapy has physical effects as well. It can reduce high blood pressure, lower a rapid heart rate, improve depression and anxiety and help with insomnia. Studies have also shown that after listening to music, there can be an increase in brain waves, improved blood circulation to the brain and a reduction in stress hormones secreted. Music therapy has also been shown to help alleviate some of the treatment-related side effects such as nausea and fatigue due to chemotherapy. No previous musical experience or ability is needed for a patient to benefit. No particular kind of music is considered the most therapeutic, and the patient’s preference and needs determine the type of music that is appropriate. Upbeat or funny music has been shown to have a positive effect on blood pressure, which can drop drastically as a side effect of immunotherapy. Relaxing music can help ease a patient’s stress. Music therapy has also been shown to help with loss of cognitive function that affects some patients during and after their treatment.

Come, relax, listen and enjoy Terrie Miley, on Thursday evening, July 27 at 6:00 p.m., while she plays her guitar and sings in an interactive music program on this summer evening. Terrie has been a professional musician for over 30 years, providing music in classrooms, churches, restaurants and, most recently, in hospitals and medical facilities. Having used music initially for self-expression, she found her own voice and a way to reach out and communicate with the world, leading ultimately to her own healing. She now recognizes the power of music to heal and uses it therapeutically as she sits with others who share their life stories. Her joy and passion now is to use music as medicine for the body, mind and spirit. This is the first in a series of twilight musical programs at the Mission Hope Cancer Center Conference Room. The next one, on August 17, will feature harpist Toni Destro.

Space is limited, so please call 219.HOPE for a reservation.

Self Care Through Meditation

Join us at our Women’s Cancer Support Group on August 21, 4:00 p.m., to hear Lisa Jay discuss “Self Care through Meditation.” Reservations are required. Please call Mission Hope Cancer Center to register: 805.219.HOPE (4673).

Self Care Through Meditation

A cancer diagnosis signals a need for care on many levels. For optimal health and wellbeing, patients need to address not only the disease, but also its underlying imbalances and any unhealthy habits of body or mind that affect well-being. Relaxation techniques and other mind-body practices can help calm your mind and sharpen your ability to focus. These techniques offer creative ways to reduce stress caused by cancer and to maintain inner peace. Studies done by the National Institute of Health show that relaxation techniques can be helpful for cancer patients because they calm chemo-induced nausea, improve coping skills, reduce pain, and ease anxiety and depression associated with chronic illness.

Lisa Jay has been helping people transform their lives for over 24 years through body work, energy healing, sound healing and yoga. She is a certified massage practitioner, integrative energy therapist, yoga instructor and Conscious Financial Planner. She has been intuitive and sensitive to energy (empathic) since she was a child, and has always felt a deep connection with nature and animals (thus, she also practices Animal Communication and has a Bachelor of Science degree in Animal Science). She combines techniques such as massage, theta healing, access consciousness, reiki, healing touch, sound healing, aromatherapy, yoga and intuition to help people transform stuck and negative patterns and beliefs, clear past traumas and stagnant energy, and balance the energy field and energy centers within and around the body. Lisa also helps people clear their fears and blocks around money and abundance, educates them about safe, practical options to grow their money, and helps them take the steps to reach financial freedom. She offers free financial planning sessions, where she can teach you about living benefits, help you reach your money goals, protect yourself and your family, and plan for the future or the unexpected. Her nurturing, intuitive approach helps bring people back in touch with their body, mind and spirit, and helps them heal and empower themselves on all levels.

Join us at our women’s support group where guest speaker Lisa Jay will discuss and teach self-love through self-care practices. Start to maintain inner peace and overall well-being as she takes you through a guided meditation to ground and clear, and bring in love and light!

Spirituality and Your Health

Dr. Monica RoccoAugust 23, 2017
By Monica Rocco, MD, FACS
Mission Hope Cancer Center, Conference Center
1325 East Church Street, Santa Maria

Spirituality is the way you find meaning, hope, comfort and inner peace—I call it finding your ‘Zen.’ Some people find spirituality through prayer or ‘religion,’ but many others find it through music, yoga, art, nature, meditation or even exercise.

It is clear that the body, mind and spirit are connected and the health of any one of these elements seems to affect the others. Some research shows that things such as positive beliefs, comfort and strength gained from religion, meditation and prayer can contribute in healing. This can be so important for cancer patients because not only is the diagnosis stressful, but often the treatments can take a toll on one’s body. Improving your spiritual health may not cure the disease, but will often make you feel better, help you cope with the cancer and lessen the stress of the cancer treatments.

Most doctors are still uncomfortable discussing spirituality with patients, but I feel it should be part of the routine initial history intake and is just as important as what medications the patient takes or the patient’s family history. It gives me great insight as to how a patient will handle stress, if I know the way they find their inner peace. If your doctor does not address this with you, you should be able to discuss your spirituality or beliefs openly with him or her and how it affects your health.

I personally find peace and strength in prayer and always offer this to my patients at their initial consultation. I find the word ‘pray’ crosses all boundaries and all religions and therefore does not offend any particular religion and is a safe way to offer my comfort to patients. In my 25 years of practicing medicine, I have only had two patients who told me they didn’t believe in prayer. Patients tell me all the time how much they appreciate that I pray for them and that they know a higher power is working through me.

If you want to try to improve your spiritual health, then identify things that give you a sense of inner peace and take the worry and stress out of your life. Then do those things on a regular basis, whether it be meditating before you receive your chemotherapy or listening to music while you undergo an X-ray procedure. Stress is immunosuppressive and very bad for cancer patients, so it is important to try to eliminate or decrease it as much as possible. Set aside time every day to do the things that help you, such as praying, meditating, singing, taking nature walks, reading, doing yoga or exercising.

Please call to RSVP at (805) 219-HOPE (4673).