Integrative Whole Person Oncology Care in the UK

Zollman, C., Walther, A., Seers, H., Jolliffe, R. and Polley, M.J. 2017. Integrative Whole Person Oncology Care in the UK. JNCI Monographs. 2017 (52), p. lgx002. doi:10.1093/jncimonographs/lgx002

TitleIntegrative Whole Person Oncology Care in the UK
AuthorsZollman, C., Walther, A., Seers, H., Jolliffe, R. and Polley, M.J.
Abstract

The term ‘whole person cancer care’ - an approach that addresses the needs of the person as well as treating the disease - is more widely understood in the UK than its synonym ‘integrative oncology”. The National Health Service (NHS), provides free access to care for all, which makes it harder to prioritise NHS funding of whole person medicine, where interventions may be multi-modal and lacking in cost-effectiveness data. Despite this, around 30% of cancer patients are known to use some form of complementary or alternative medicine (CAM). This is virtually never medically led, and usually without the support or even the knowledge of their oncology teams, with the exception of one or two large cancer centres. UK oncology services are, however, starting to be influenced from three sides; firstly, by well-developed and more holistic palliative care services; secondly, by directives from central government via the sustainable healthcare agenda; and thirdly, by increasing pressure from patient-led groups and cancer charities. CAM remains unlikely to be provided through the NHS, but nutrition, physical activity, mindfulness, and stress management are already becoming a core part of the NHS ‘Living With and Beyond Cancer’ agenda. This supports cancer survivors into stratified pathways of care, based on individual, self-reported holistic needs and risk assessments, which are shared between healthcare professionals and patients. Health and Wellbeing events are being built into cancer care pathways, designed to activate patients into self-management and support positive lifestyle change. Those with greater needs can be directed towards appropriate external providers, where many examples of innovative practice exist. These changes in policy and vision for the NHS present an opportunity for Integrative Oncology to develop further and to reach populations who would, in many other countries, remain underserved or hard-to-reach by whole person approaches.

Article numberlgx002
JournalJNCI Monographs
Journal citation2017 (52), p. lgx002
ISSN1052-6773
Year2017
PublisherOxford University Press
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)doi:10.1093/jncimonographs/lgx002
Publication dates
Published13 Nov 2017

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