For the past 2 years, I’ve attended two excellent conferences from the Society for Integrative Oncology (SIO). This nonprofit, multidisciplinary organization is made up of professionals dedicated to studying and facilitating cancer treatment and the recovery process through the use of integrated complementary therapeutic options. These options include natural and botanical products, nutrition, acupuncture, massage, mind-body therapies, and other complementary modalities. The mission of SIO is to educate oncology professionals, patients, caregivers, and others about the clinical benefits, toxicities, scientific validity, and limitations of state-of-the-art integrative therapies. SIO provides a forum for presentation, discussion, and peer review of evidence-based research. They advocate for responsible public policy and the highest standards of practice in integrative medicine through appropriate training and the certification of health care professionals.

This year’s 7th International Conference of the Society for Integrative Oncology will be held November 11-13, 2010, at the New York Academy of Medicine in New York City. The theme is “Integrative Oncology: Informing the Debate in Practice, Research and Public Policy.” According to Heather Greenlee, PhD, the conference will address the challenges facing integrative oncology in the new era of health care reform while encouraging professionals to meet patients’ current needs for evidence-based integrative oncology interventions. The program is intended for physicians, nurses, social workers, psychologists, naturopaths, psychiatrists, palliative care specialists, acupuncturists, massage therapists, music therapists, TCM practitioners, traditional health care practitioners, exercise and lifestyle coaches, herbalists, pharmacists, scientists, public health professionals, patient advocates, administrators, and others interested in integrative oncology. Greenlee states, “In general, SIO wants oncology nurses to know that the conference is a great resource for nurses to find out about the latest evidence-based research findings and to network with others in their field with similar interests.” Continuing Education credit will be awarded. The conference has been submitted to the Oncology Nursing Society for approval to award contact hours. ONS is accredited as an approver of continuing education nursing credits.

Among the great speakers will be Volker Diehl, MD, a world-renowned hematologist from the University of Cologne, who will discuss his work in integrative oncology in Germany. Harvey Fineberg, MD, president of the Institute of Medicine, will speak on cancer care for the whole patient. Julia Rowland, PhD, director of the National Cancer Institute’s Office of Cancer Survivorship, will speak about integrative oncology and cancer survivorship research. Dr. Jeffrey Meyerhardt from the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute will discuss new research in energy balance and cancer survival. Moderated panel sessions will cover vitamin D supplementation, comparative effectiveness research, reimbursement, and health policy. International models will be presented, and mind-body therapies, symptom management, developing hospital-based integrative oncology guidelines, integrative tumor boards, patient advocacy, and oral and poster sessions will be available.

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Donald Abrams, MD, SIO’s current president, said “The Society for Integrative Oncology, with it annual conference, provides the ideal forum for practitioners and investigators to share the latest updates in the field, optimizing care for people living with and beyond cancer.” To get more information and details on the Society of Integrative Oncology and their conference, please download their online brochure. I look forward to seeing you at the SIO conference in November.

Linda McDonald lives in Sarasota, Florida. You can e-mail her with your thoughts and ideas at [email protected].