CTOAM’s Cancer Expert Explores the Connection Between Meditation and Cancer…

“When I was going through treatment, I started meditating every day. I’d never done that before but Alex suggested it and some other friends of mine did, too. It definitely helped. That was years ago…as I started to feel better and my life went back to normal, I stopped. Life just got busy. And yeah, I’d like to get back into it…it was really beneficial.”

– Annette

That’s what one of our patients, Annette, shared with me when we talked a few months ago about how she was feeling being in long-term remission, and reflecting on her journey with cancer and CTOAM.

We helped Annette go from stage IV to long-term remission with our Precision Oncology Program. (Neat fact: Annette was one of the very first melanoma patients in Canada to get immunotherapy, 6 years ago – thanks to CTOAM!)

And, in addition to getting comprehensive genetic testing through us…

And going on the newest targeted therapies that our cancer expert, Alex Rolland, had found for her…

Annette also made a lot of lifestyle changes during her treatment. 

She changed her diet, starting lifting weights every day, and added meditation to her mornings. She’s a great example of the power of taking positive, evidence-based actions to help beat cancer.

Meditation Can Mean Many Things…

And when it comes to meditation, here’s the key thing to remember:

Meditation comes in ALL sorts of forms 🙌

There are many types of meditation other than the standard sitting-on-a-cushion-watching-your-thoughts type – that’s just one of many…

There are dancing meditations, walking meditations, creative meditations, and more!

You don’t need to do the traditional sitting meditation if that doesn’t resonate with you.

Perhaps you’re more into taking a mindful walk and noticing the nature around you, the crunchy sound of snow beneath your feet and the way the sun glistens on dewy grass…

For other folks, it could be spending time on a hobby like watercolor painting or journaling.

Gentle yoga is another good idea. Or even just taking an extra few minutes to slowly sip your morning beverage.

Whatever helps you to pause for a moment and give yourself a chance to just be.  

As for me, I prefer moving meditations like 5 Rhythms (a type of authentic movement practice), and being mindful of my steps when I walk with my dogs in the forest, stopping to observe a leaf falling to the ground, or listening to the gentle burble of a stream flowing past. This is very grounding and centring for me, personally. 

So, the trick?

Find what works for YOU. Whatever brings you a sense of calm. 

Which brings me around to the “why” of it all…

How Meditation Relates to Cancer Care

What, exactly, does meditation and mindfulness have to do with cancer care?

When you take care of your mental health, it can help lead you to make better choices throughout your day – like what you eat, how much sleep you get, and which people you choose to interact with…

It can also help you to respond to the bigger decisions you need to make – like whether to get a second opinion, which treatment to try, or if you should change doctors…

Our cancer expert, Alex Rolland, made a short video explaining more on the science behind meditation and cancer care:

Watch here ⬇️

While there’s no hard evidence showing that meditation actually prevents cancer, there are associative studies that show it helps in people being treated, adds benefit to health and helps people make healthier choices about their overall self-care. 

And that’s a pretty big deal! 

Especially since meditation – whatever form you choose – is:

🔹 Totally free
🔹 Doable anywhere and anytime
🔹 Something you can do alone or with other people…

Creating tiny pockets of calm during chaotic times (cancer, pandemic, the list goes on…) can have a positive impact on how you feel overall and the choices you make.

It might sound unimportant – especially in the face of a big thing like cancer – but, believe me, it can make a really big difference in the big picture. 

Published by on February 10, 2021
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