Welcome to August and the depths of summer for many of us. I can’t resist sharing a couple of shots of my kids cooling off in our beautiful lakes - it’s glorious to be in the water when temperatures reach well over 35°C (close to 100°F), and we are not used to such heat!
In Canada, typically not much happens in August, unless you are unfortunate enough to be writing a grant application, which is my lot this year. On the other hand, I am happy to have the opportunity to continue researching ways to support people living with cancer, whose struggles unfortunately won’t wait out the summer holidays.
In less than three months, we will be meeting in sunny Scottsdale, AZ, for the 19th International SIO Conference, and I hope you can join us there. Abstract acceptance letters have been sent out, and congratulations to all who will present posters, workshops and oral abstract at The Scott Resort, October 20-22, 2022. We’ve also just closed our late-breaking poster submissions, and those results will be sent out by August 31st. We have added a health and safety section to the conference website and will update this page as we continue to monitor levels of community spread of the omicron subvariants.
Scholarship applications are still being accepted until August 31 and are available both for in-person and online attendance. To apply, please click here, and don’t forget to upload your CV/resume. Scholarship awardees are reimbursed post-conference (up to $1,500 for US residents and up to $2,000 for international) based on receipts submitted. Conference scholarships are part of SIO’s continued effort to make our annual international meetings accessible to as many attendees as possible, so don’t miss out!
On the first evening of the conference, after the poster reception, we will present a two-part event titled, “Tribute to Barrie Cassileth, PhD” (Part 1) followed immediately by Part 2, “SIO Past & Present.” This is our opportunity to honor the life and work of SIO’s founding president, the late Dr. Cassileth, a pioneer of the field of integrative oncology. Then we will offer a sneak preview of The History of SIO booklet we’ve been working on and share perspectives on SIO’s mission and progress as our 2023 20th Anniversary Celebration approaches. This hybrid event will take place at The Scott Resort, Thursday, October 20th, from 7-8:30 PM Mountain Standard Time.
Special Interest Group News
One of the ways SIO is able to advance our mission across the many disciplines of integrative oncology is through the work of our special interest groups, or SIGs, as we call them. I want to remind our members that joining a SIG is one of the many benefits of being an SIO member. Currently, SIO has five active SIGs: Acupuncture, Nursing, Pediatric Integrative Oncology, Program Management and Development, and Yoga. The creation of a SIG is a process overseen by the Committee, Task Force and SIG Development Task Force, and involves submitting an Application for Creation of SIO Special Interest Group to the Board of Trustees. According to the SIO Standard Operating Procedures, a SIG “is designed to facilitate members’ sharing studies, information, and activities within the particular interest areas of the groups. The purpose and activity of such SIGs must be consistent with the mission of SIO.”
Last month we shared that the Pediatric SIG is welcoming new members, and this month, I’d like to announce a call for SIG creation applications. There is already interest in creating SIGs for the topics below, so reply via email as indicated or share with colleagues who may wish to join SIO in order to participate in a special interest group.
The Patient Advocate Committee (PAC) is working on an application for a Patient Advocate SIG. As a committee, PAC has a limited number of membership slots, and as the number of patient advocates within SIO grows, the SIG can provide a place to make connections within SIO and engage in projects that align with SIO’s mission and annual goals. PAC remains committed to fulfilling the SIO Health Equity Mission Statement, and welcomes all cancer advocates who are interested in or work in the field of evidence-informed integrative oncology. If you are interested in joining this SIG, please email PAC Co-chair Jodi MacLeod at email@example.com.
We are also seeking interested SIO members to form a new SIG for Molecular Integrative Oncology, based on the popularity of the YouTube recording of the October 2021 webinar, “Practical Understanding of the Hallmarks of Cancer and Molecular Integrative Oncology (MIO)”, presented by Will La Valley, MD. This MIO SIG is for SIO members interested in discussing and learning about molecular interactions, pathways, networks, and targets relevant in cancer and exploring the evidence-base demonstrating research on natural products and re-purposed pharmaceuticals in cancer molecular biology. The MIO SIG is open to all SIO members and will meet at least 2-3 times per year (more often if member interest warrants) via videoconferencing. If interested, please email Dr La Valley at jwl@LaValleyMDProtocols.com.
Within SIO, there has been interest as well in building an Exercise Oncology SIG. We already have many members working in this area, and our patient advocates have made connections on social media with others who work in this field. This topic is of great interest to both clinicians and patient advocates due to the many benefits of evidence-informed exercise interventions before, during and after cancer treatment. In fact, next year, the SIO 2023 Twentieth Anniversary Conference here in Banff, Alberta, will feature an exercise oncology symposium planned by well-known exercise oncology researcher, Nicole Culos-Reed, PhD, Professor of Kinesiology here at University of Calgary. If you are interested in helping to create this SIG, please email Graham Hauck, SIO’s Senior Director of Administration, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Finally, I’d like to share this international publication titled, “What Should I Eat?”—Addressing Questions and Challenges Related to Nutrition in the Integrative Oncology Setting” by SIO members Moshe Frenkel, MD; Kenneth Sapire, MD; Judith Lacey, MD; Catherine Zollman, MD; Victor Sierpina, MD. The article is a collaborative effort of authors from four countries (US, U.K., Australia, Israel) and was written in response to the questions people with cancer have about nutrition during and after cancer treatment. As Dr. Frenkel explains, the publication “deals with questions and challenges related to nutrition in the integrative oncology setting, with a suggested algorithm about a process of integration related to patients affected by cancer that raise the issue of nutrition in integrative oncology. This process is supported by current evidence and current leading guidelines.” Read this informative article here, I really enjoyed it and found it balanced and practical.
Finally, I hope you have the opportunity to enjoy any break you get over the next month and return ready to further our mission of advancing evidence-based, comprehensive, integrative healthcare to improve the lives of people affected by cancer.
Linda E. Carlson, Ph.D., R.Psych. Enbridge Research Chair in Psychosocial Oncology
Professor, Department of Oncology, Cumming School of Medicine
Co-Editor-in-Chief, Journal of Psychosocial Oncology Research and Practice (official journal of the International Psycho-Oncology Society)
President, Society for Integrative Oncology
Improving Sexual Health Care in Oncology: Care Considerations for Female/ Transgender Cancer Patient
Watch the video recording of the July 19th webinar, Improving Sexual Health Care in Oncology: Care Considerations for Female/ Transgender Cancer Patients. Despite increasing calls to integrate sexual health into routine cancer care, the majority of women diagnosed with cancer do not receive information about how their cancer treatments will affect their sexual health. Unlike other post-treatment health concerns that improve over time (e.g., pain), without intervention sexual concerns tend to persist for women with cancer, leading to long-term sexual distress and potential negative consequences for women’s individual and relationship well-being. Further, if unaddressed, sexual problems can also compromise cancer treatment or prevention efforts. Dr. Lauren Walker (she/her), Adjunct Associate Professor @ Department of Oncology, Division of Psychosocial Oncology, Cumming School of Medicine, University of Calgary, is a sexuality researcher and holds an Adjunct Associate Professorship at the University of Calgary (Departments of Oncology and Psychology). She is also a registered clinical psychologist in Alberta, Canada, specializing in sexuality and intimate relationships. Her research aims to improve health care provider’s offerings of sexual health care to patients and her social media presence (Instagram) aims to reduce stigma associated with sexuality and mental health.
A new cycle of applications has just begun for the Gateway-SIO Integrative Research Grant Program. Applications are being accepted until Nov. 1, 2022. Please click here to apply as an SIO member.
Herb of the Month
Shen Ling Bai Zhu San
The last two decades have seen a significant increase in dietary supplement use by cancer patients. Despite the proliferation of websites that contain information about dietary supplements, finding a reliable source can be overwhelming. The Integrative Medicine Service at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center developed and maintains a free website “About Herbs” (www.mskcc.org/aboutherbs) that provides objective and unbiased information about herbs, vitamins, minerals and other dietary supplements, and unproven anticancer treatments. Each of the 290 and growing number of entries has healthcare professional and patient versions that are regularly updated with the latest research findings. The free About Herbs App, compatible with iPad, iPhone, and iPod Touch devices, can be downloaded at http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/about-herbs/id554267162?mt=8.
A traditional Chinese medicine formula, Shen Ling Bai Zhu San (SLBZS) consists of ten herbs and has a long medicinal history as a treatment for chronic diarrhea. Supplemental forms that are marketed include tablets, capsules, powders and liquid extracts.
Clinical trials have shown SLBZS to affect improvements in stool consistency, frequency, and abdominal pain in patients with diarrhea-predominant irritable bowel syndrome (D-IBS) and in those with ulcerative colitis. When compared to conventional antidiarrheal medication, SLBZS was also associated with fewer side effects and greater patient satisfaction.
Larger, methodologically robust trials are needed to solidify the current evidence base surrounding SLBZS. Studies also need to be conducted in cancer populations ... link to our monograph.
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