/ Modified oct 1, 2013 4:23 p.m.

Psychological Treatment Could Help Breast Cancer Survivors

Emotional, social aspects of healing provide physicians with powerful ally; AZ Cancer Center incorporating methods.


A 2008 study showed that there is more to breast cancer treatment than medicine, according to the National Institute of Health.

Emotional and social aspects of healing can provide physicians with a powerful ally. And, the Arizona Cancer Center has taken notice.

They now offer several programs, which reach beyond traditional therapy, to promote holistic healing throughout each cancer patient's journey.

Kelli Guinn is on such journey.

"I was very surprised when I was diagnosed again," she said. "I went in for my first screening mammogram after going through cancer of my right breast (in 2010), and never thought in a million years I would have cancer in my left breast."

She received her chemotherapy at the AZCC's clinic at University of Arizona Medical Center north location. Through the cancer center, Guinn took part in an in-depth, 10-week mind and body program, appropriately called the Eye of the Hurricane.

“All of us are surrounded by trauma, the opportunity for trauma, illness, financial disaster, divorce, traumas of all kinds,” said Mark Gilbert, director of psychosocial oncology at AZCC. “And, we looked at that as being surrounded by a storm. We need to find the eye of the hurricane. To find a place in the eye even though we’re all surrounded by this, to find a place of peace and solace and how we could celebrate life despite the trauma, not being swept away by that trauma around us.”

The program helped Guinn find her way in a world redefined and reshaped by her illness.

“Forty percent of getting through cancer is training your mind to have those good thoughts that you’re more powerful than the cancer cell and you’re going to fight this,” Guinn said. “Along with the adjuvant (chemo and radiation) therapy on the side you just can’t go wrong.”

If you, or someone you know would like to participate in the Eye of the Hurricane program, you can call Lily McMillio at 626-6586.

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