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The Mayo Clinic now offering integrated therapies for cancer patients

A year ago, Jennifer Deaderick and her significant other, Phil, were on an excursion through Costa Rica when she found a mass in her right breast.

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- A new program at The Mayo Clinic Jacksonville is helping patients integrate different treatment plans. This is in addition to their normal chemotherapy and radiation. The goal is to help reduce the risk of cancer coming back and give the patients a way to live a healthier life.

A year ago, Jennifer Deaderick and her significant other, Phil, were on an excursion through Costa Rica when she found a mass in her right breast. She thought it was just damaged from her backpack. It was breast cancer.

She had a double mastectomy in April, chemotherapy in June, and did six weeks of radiation in December into January. But, the program allowed her to comfortably integrate other forms of treatment like acupuncture and massage therapy.

"We want them to be able to use natural supplements that can possibly enhance their therapy, but be certain they're not using supplements that could interfere with their overall treatment," said Dr. Dawn Mussallem, Mayo Clinic's Director of Integrated Medicine and Health.

She's a cancer survivor herself. A recent study measured the quality of life in patients and when they incorporated other types of treatment, they saw improvement with fatigue, decreased cancer-associated pain, and improved energy. And for Jennifer, she could do yoga, and have the confidence that it was okay to incorporate other healing methods with her treatment.

"I think it's allowed me to live and to travel and to continue to do the things that make me feel like me and make me feel not like a patient for even just a small period of time. It's the difference between just being a cancer patient and continuing to be Jen," Deaderick said.

The program started in the Jacoby Center for Breast Health and is now being offered to all oncology patients at The Mayo Clinic.