Integrative oncology—October 2010

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Last month, this column covered the upcoming annual conference of the Society for Integrative Oncology. I hope many of you have signed up for their conference at the New York Academy of Medicine, November 11-13, 2010. If you missed the information, check out last month's column in Oncology Nurse Advisor and the Society for Integrative Oncology Web site at www.integrativeonc.org. I hope to see you in New York at the conference.

This month, I want to introduce you to another great organization, The Annie Appleseed Project. I am blessed to serve on its board. The mission of the Annie Appleseed Project is to provide evidence-based information, education, advocacy, and awareness for people with cancer about complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) and other issues. Members are not doctors and do not give medical advice, but they do assist people with cancer to make more fully informed treatment decisions. This organization has a great online presence and offers a yearly conference on evidence-based CAM cancer therapies.

Many cancer patients are using complementary therapies and searching the Web for information, and the www.annieappleseedproject.org is an excellent site to point them to. The Project solicits reports from patient advocates who attend conferences, events, and meetings, so that information from the patient perspective is provided. Journals are culled for relevant studies of interest to people with cancer. These studies as well as meeting summaries, links, tips/techniques, a guide for health care practitioners, and treatment information (including mind/body therapies) are all available on the Web site, which celebrated 10 years in June 2009 and has won numerous awards. More than 90,000 users already visit www.annieappleseedproject.org each month seeking useful information on CAM.

The Annie Appleseed Project was started by Ann Fonfa after her diagnosis of breast cancer. She said, “My motivation was to find information I could use for myself as I couldn't nor was I willing to use chemotherapy. This was due to my severe multiple chemical sensitivities, which at the time were not medically understood. I started a support group to examine alternatives.” The name, The Annie Appleseed Project, was first used in 1997 to describe the vast amount of information Ms Fonfa had gathered about alternative cancer therapies. The Project became a 501©3 Florida nonprofit in 2003 and is run entirely by volunteers. Ms. Fonfa has testified in Congress and at FDA meetings. She has reviewed proposals for various scientific boards, co-chaired panels, and moderated, introduced, and been a speaker at many events.

The 4th Annual Evidence-based Complementary & Alternative Cancer Therapies Conference (CAM for Cancer) will take place at the Crowne Plaza Hotel, West Palm Beach, Florida, March 3-5, 2011. In addition to oncology professionals from all disciplines, attendees include patients, patient advocates, family, friends, and the general public. Physicians are asked to speak about their protocols and programs, but the focus remains on providing talks from many disciplines related to complementary and alternative medicine. Talks cover everything from healthy eating and exercise, to relaxation and other mind-body techniques, supplements and herbal therapies. Organic food, networking opportunities, and a warm and welcoming environment with inspirational lectures, exhibits, and workshops will be available. Come and join us. For more information on this and other events, please visit www.annieappleseedproject.org or call (561) 749-0084.


Linda McDonald lives in Sarasota, Florida. You can e-mail her with your thoughts and ideas at lindasrq@verizon.net.

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