Cancer Care. An In Great Health eNewsletter.

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Thank you for subscribing to Cancer Care, an Avera eNewsletter that provides you with useful information about cancer care and prevention. To learn more about our services and community events, or to find a physician, visit

To your health,

The Avera staff

What Clinical Research Studies Can Do for You

Clinical research studies, also called medical research and clinical trials, determine whether new drugs or treatments are both safe and effective. Researchers do many studies on serious diseases, including cancer, and some cancer patients choose to participate. If you're thinking about being part of a study, weigh the advantages and disadvantages to decide if it's the right choice for you.

Researchers design studies to answer specific questions about new vaccines, therapies or treatments, and then they look for qualified patients to participate. One benefit to participation is that patients continue to receive high-quality care during the studies. Participating in a study can benefit others because it helps researchers learn more about a disease and its treatments. Study participants also may benefit by being one of the first people to experience positive results from a new therapy.

However, there are drawbacks to participation. New treatments may have unknown side effects, and your treatment may not be better than the current standard of care. Additionally, participants are sometimes in a control group that receives standard care instead of the study's new treatment, or you may be part of a control group that receives a placebo that has no therapeutic benefit.

Participation in clinical studies is voluntary, and only you can decide if a clinical trial is right for you. Be sure to ask a lot of questions and fully understand the study, your options, the cost and your commitment. If you are considering an Avera clinical research study, a research team member will discuss your questions or concerns before you consent to participate. That team member will address types of tests, treatments, frequency of treatments, risks, benefits and much more about the study.

If you are interested in being a part of a clinical research study, many  Avera oncology studies currently are enrolling patients. Talk to your provider to see if one might be right for you.

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What Is Integrative Medicine?

Many Avera cancer treatment centers offer some types of integrative medicine, which complements traditional medical treatment. Integrative medicine, also called holistic or complementary medicine, focuses on healing the body, mind and spirit. The therapies help people deal with side effects and give them a deeper sense of well-being instead of solely treating the disease.

Integrative medicine at your facility may include:

Therapeutic massage:  This promotes muscle relaxation, increases blood flow and releases good-for-you endorphins.

Nutrition consultation: A well-balanced diet, planned especially for cancer patients, can speed recovery, provide energy and manage side effects.

Mind-body classes:  Yoga, tai chi, pilates and meditation can have a positive effect on the body by releasing stress, strengthening muscles and improving coordination.

Aromatherapy: High-quality essential oils can calm, stimulate, restore or strengthen a patient. Aromatherapy is often used to treat anxiety, insomnia, nausea or pain.

Acupuncture:  An ancient healing therapy, acupuncture is designed to reduce pain, headaches, nausea and more by placing small needles on the body's acupuncture points.

Other types of integrative medicine include guided imagery, spiritual labyrinths, arts in healing, healing touch and more. Ask your health care provider about what therapies are available at your facility and whether it's appropriate for you.

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In Great Health online archive.

Cancer Care is one in a series of Avera eNewsletters that gives readers valuable information about health and wellness at Avera facilities. It is not intended to replace personal medical advice, which should be obtained directly from a physician.