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Published on May 20, 2016

Cancer care for the soulCancer care for the soul

Sarah Swain

Sarah Swain

The fourth annual Cape Cod Women’s Music Festival kicks off tomorrow to bring together some of the Cape’s favorite musicians for a great cause – easing trauma for cancer victims. The festival is the brainchild of Sarah Swain, whose band Sarah Swain & The Oh Boys gets crowds dancing wherever they play.

The Festival raises funds for the Cape Wellness Collaborative, a nonprofit founded by Swain that provides integrative therapies like reiki, meditation, massage and nutritional counseling free of charge to local people facing cancer.

Swain created the Cape Cod Women’s Music Festival in 2012 after losing her mother to ovarian cancer. She wanted to make a difference in the lives of cancer patients in the community and brought her own talents to the cause.

In addition to Sarah Swain & The Oh Boys, this year’s concert features a host of talented local female musicians, including The Parkington Sisters, The Ticks, Zoë Lewis, The Rip It Ups, Clã da Bossa Nova, a number of female singer/songwriters, and Cape Cod African Dance and Drum. It will be a night of positive vibes to improve patients’ lives.

Cape Cod Healthcare Director of Cancer Services, Tara Lock and Cape Cod Hospital oncologist Jennifer Crook, MD and breast and general surgeon Kathryn Dalton, MD are pleased to have the Cape Wellness Collaborative resources to help patients cope with cancer, said Lock.

All three will be at the festival to talk with people and let them know that Cape Cod Healthcare physicians now refer cancer patients to these services.

Treating Body and Mind

“What’s so exciting about this is that doctors are trained to treat the patient with medicine, surgery, radiation, but that doesn’t touch the emotional issues,” Lock said. “The fear that comes along with a cancer diagnosis can be debilitating and doesn’t always get addressed in the clinical setting. That’s not our forte. We treat their physical body. That said, we know that a patients emotional well-being plays a large part in their cancer journey and that extends well beyond their treatment. Their lives are forever changed and finding a new normal is part of the process. This is where the Collaborative steps in to offer support.”

The services provided by the Cape Wellness Collaborative help patients relax, in effect, treating the emotional effects of the disease.

This aspect of treatment has become so important that the National Institutes of Health has established the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH) as a lead agency for scientific research on healthcare systems, practices and products that are not considered conventional medicine.

According to the NCCIH website, “Cancer patients who receive integrative therapies while in the hospital have less pain and anxiety.” Their research has also found that massage therapy may lead to short-term improvements in pain and mood in patients with advanced cancer, and that yoga may relieve persistent fatigue some breast cancer patients experience.

The Cape Wellness Collaborative makes these therapies available to patients facing cancer on Cape Cod and the Islands. All the practitioners are vetted by the Collaborative to ensure they understand the specific needs of cancer patients.

“The best part is that all the therapists have some sort of oncology training,” Lock said. “To have this part of the healing process available to patients in our community is a great new service.”