The new Pluta Integrative Oncology & Wellness Center will help patients incorporate complementary therapies and lifestyle modifications into their cancer treatment plans to address side effects such as fatigue, insomnia, anxiety, stress, pain and nausea.
Side effects of cancer treatment affect almost every patient. They can not only disrupt daily life, but can also interfere with patients’ ability to complete their treatments.
Complementary, or integrative, therapies can be used safely alongside — not in place of — conventional treatments as a strategy to help manage these side effects. While complementary therapies such as yoga, meditation, and acupuncture have been used by cancer patients for many years, it is only in the last decade that they have been accepted as part of oncology centers.
The Integrative Oncology & Wellness Center is one of the only programs of its kind in upstate New York. The center is open to all UR Medicine Wilmot Cancer Institute patients beginning in October, and it based on the second floor of Wilmot’s Pluta Cancer Center, 125 Red Creek Drive, Henrietta. It is a collaboration of Wilmot Cancer Institute and the Pluta Cancer Center Foundation.
Integrative Oncology Coordinator Judy Zeeman-Golden, LCSW, will help manage the program and guide patients through the processes.
“Going through cancer treatment often means giving up control of so many parts of your life,” Zeeman-Golden said. “The therapies and programs offered at the Integrative Oncology Center can be a way for patients to regain some of that control and take action to feel better physically and emotionally.”
The center will feature evidence-based therapies and practices offered in individual sessions or in group settings. Individual therapies such as massage and acupuncture are available to patients in active treatment. The group activities such as art therapy, yoga and meditation are open to those in treatment, as well as those who have completed their treatment. Wilmot will also offer the Recharge, Revive, Relax, Nutrition, Exercise and Wellness (ReNEW) program for patients and survivors at the center.
All of the providers and instructors are credentialed and specially trained to work with cancer patients, and the center will work closely with community partners including Gilda’s Club Rochester and the YMCA of Greater Rochester to provide services.
“Our goal is to help people live well with and beyond their cancer,” said Marilyn Ling, M.D., a radiation oncologist with a special interest in integrative oncology. “Side effects of cancer treatment not only make a difficult experience even harder, they can interfere with a patient’s ability to complete treatment. Integrative oncology allows people to manage symptoms that can really disrupt their lives, without adding more medication, so that they can get the most out of their cancer care.”
“The services available through the Pluta Integrative Oncology & Wellness Center have been shown through rigorous research to be safe and effective in addressing symptoms and side effects of cancer treatment,” said Alissa Huston, M.D., a medical oncologist who also has a special interest in integrative oncology. “These evidence-based practices will help ensure our patients’ safety and the quality of care they receive, and we are excited to collaborate with local organizations to bring them to our community.”
Patients from any Wilmot Cancer Institute location can use the Integrative Oncology center’s services. To register for services, they can call (585) 486-0630.
Initial individual therapies and all group sessions are provided at no cost, thanks to generous donor gifts to the Pluta Cancer Center Foundation, which also helped to secure $1.35 million to construct the Integrative Oncology Center.
“Fifteen years ago, in this very same lobby, we cut the ribbon to the Pluta Cancer Center,” said Ron Pluta, chair of the Pluta Cancer Center Foundation board of directors. “Today, we are cutting a new ribbon, celebrating the collaboration between the Wilmot Cancer Institute and the Pluta Cancer Center Foundation and leading the next generation of cancer patient care. With this Integrative Oncology & Wellness Center, we join the elite group of cancer centers offering the highest quality care to meet all our patient needs.”
“We have faith as we open the doors to the Pluta Integrative Oncology & Wellness Center that our dynamic partnership with Wilmot — focusing on the four modalities of Movement, Nutrition, Mindfulness and Touch — will help alleviate the symptoms and side effects of cancer treatment, improve quality of life and improve outcomes for all Wilmot patients,” said Jamie L. Bishop, executive director of the Pluta Cancer Center Foundation.
“We are incredibly grateful to be working with the Pluta Cancer Center Foundation to ensure that patients in our region have access to these important services,” said Jonathan W. Friedberg, M.D., M.M.Sc., director of Wilmot Cancer Institute. “Wilmot has a long history of research in symptom management and survivorship, and we continue to make important contributions to improving therapies and managing side effects. With the Foundation, we can help ensure that patients across our region not only receive the highest-quality cancer care, but also the support they need as they find their way into survivorship.”
UR Medicine’s Wilmot Cancer Institute is the Finger Lakes region’s leader for cancer care and research. As a component of Strong Memorial Hospital, Wilmot Cancer Institute provides specialty cancer care services at the University of Rochester Medical Center and a network of locations throughout the region. The Institute also includes a team of 100 scientists who investigate many aspects of cancer, with an emphasis on how best to provide precision cancer care. To learn more, visit wilmot.urmc.edu.
The Pluta Cancer Center Foundation supports the patients and team of the Pluta Cancer Center, established in 1975 at the Genesee Hospital by a grant from the Pluta family and now part of UR Medicine’s Wilmot Cancer Institute. The Foundation provides the funds necessary to relieve the financial burdens that many cancer patients and their families face; expands and enhances the integrative oncology services; and invests in the professional development of the caregivers at the front lines of patient care. For more information, visit plutacancerfoundation.org.