Tuesday, June 7, 2011

A Cancer Spa?

You hear those dreaded words, “You have cancer.” Your life changes dramatically. You spend endless hours and days undergoing more tests, consulting surgeons, radiologists, and oncologists. Most clinical environments are truly depressing, and for some reason, many doctors, nurses and other medical staff do not realize that your time is precious. I remember taking a woman for a consultation. She commented to me that the office was cold (not temperature-wise, but the previous office we visited was freezing.) She told me this cold, barren office was scary and that she would not return, no matter how great the doctor was. Well, after she spoke with the doctor, she knew she wanted him to be her surgeon. But what if that office had been pleasant, or even spa-like? What if she were treated like a person instead of just a patient? Would that have been too much to ask? And wouldn’t it be wonderful if complementary therapies were given alongside conventional treatments? In the long-term, complementary therapies have the power to reduce chronic stress and depression, lessen the collateral damage done by chemotherapy, and may even improve the prognosis and extend the lives of cancer patients. In the short-term, complementary therapies can have a profound impact on the quality of life during treatment. Yet, too many conventional doctors do not support the use of complementary therapies, and of those who do, rarely are these treatments offered during treatment.

Well, thankfully that is all beginning to change. I had the pleasure of meeting Dr. Eva Dubin, founder of the Dubin Breast Center at Mt Sinai in New York City. Dr. Dubin created the DBC to provide women with exactly this type of care. The center resembles a spa more than it does a cancer center. One can look out over Central Park through the huge windows, and the wood planked walls, pleasant music and relaxing environment are serene. It is a comprehensive facility; consultations, mammograms (including state-of- the- art Tomosynthesis), sonograms, biopsies, radiology and chemotherapy are all in the same place, no schlepping all over town. Additionally, they make every effort to respect the time of their patients. But what is really exciting is the holistic approach the center takes towards the treatment of cancer. The staff incorporates such modalities such as massage, yoga, and hypnosis, and offers healthy snacks to patients in the waiting areas as well as in the chemo suite. Cancer treatments are grueling, but wouldn’t it be more pleasant if you could receive a massage, hypnosis or do yoga during treatments? Thank you Dr. Dubin, for giving me a tour of the facility, for introducing me to some amazing doctors, and for sharing your vision of cancer care in the future, and for making it part of the present.

To learn more about the Dr. Dubin and the Dubin Breast Center, please visit: http://www.dubinbreastcenter.org

To learn more about DBC as well as another fabulous facility, the Jordan Valley Breast Care Center, please view the following blog written by my friend Tami Boehmer:

To learn about free or low cost Integrative and Nutritional Approaches to Cancer Care in the New York Area, please visit:

Elyn Jacobs

Elyn Jacobs is President of Elyn Jacobs Consulting, Inc. and a breast cancer survivor. She empowers women diagnosed with cancer to navigate the process of treatment and care, and she educates about how to prevent recurrence and new cancers. She is passionate about helping others get past their cancer and into a cancer-free life.


  1. Hi Ellen,

    Great post! I wish there were many more of these adjunct treatment facilities. Your writing is something I admire a great deal. So clean and clear.

    Thank you for keeping my blog post "up." It's been nice to have the opportunity to highlight it on Facebook and through a group started by Anita Moorjani.


  2. You have posted fine about Spa and holistic treatment .I liked it and I am finding similar more post arround the world online source .I have found some important helpful post at holistic spa Los Angeles blog .Which was really nice but your post also helpful so please keep it up .


If this blog was helpful to you, please let me know, thanks!