Breast Cancer

Breast cancer is the second most common cancer among women, with over 200,000 new cases diagnosed each year in the United States, according to the American Cancer Society. The good news is that survival rates today are higher than ever, due to advances in diagnosis and treatment.

There are as many breast cancer stories as there are women with breast cancer. There is no single right way to heal, to feel better, to cope, or to change one’s life. What seems to be important is to spend some time learning about which ways of healing and feeling better work best for you at this time in your life.

One of the most important things a cancer patient can do on their own is to make lifestyle changes. Our integrative oncologist Donald Abrams, MD has compiled this list of recommended books for people with cancer to help with this.

“UCSF Gives Breast Cancer the Boot

UCSF Oncologist Laura Esserman, MD speaks on
“Advances in Prevention and Treatment of Breast Cancer

Acupuncturist Beverly Burns, LAc on
“The Use of Traditional Chinese Medicine in Breast Cancer Care”

Our Integrative Medicine Physicians specializing in cancer care are:


The Osher Center has two board-certified oncologists trained in both conventional and complementary medicine, Donald Abrams, MD and Anand Dhruva, MD, who is also an Ayurveda practitioner. You will receive a professionally guided and personally oriented set of recommendations that combines a range of therapies, providing you with a holistic approach and an integrated treatment plan. We also have an acupuncturist who specializes in cancer patients, Miria Toveg, MS, LAc.

In addition, we have seven free classes for people with cancer and their caregivers. You do not need to be a UCSF patient to attend any of these classes.


What the research shows about Integrative Medicine for breast cancer:




Guided Imagery:


  • Chinese medicinal herbs to treat the side-effects of chemotherapy in breast cancer patients.
    Chinese medicinal herbs, when used together with chemotherapy, may offer some benefit to breast cancer patients in terms of bone marrow improvement and quality of life, but the evidence is too limited to make any confident conclusions. Well designed clinical trials are required before any conclusions can be drawn about the effectiveness and safety of CHM in the management of breast cancer patients.

Massage Therapy:



  • Flax and Breast Cancer: A Systematic Review
    Current evidence suggests that flax may be associated with decreased risk of breast cancer. Flax demonstrates antiproliferative effects in breast tissue of women at risk of breast cancer and may protect against primary breast cancer. Mortality risk may also be reduced among those living with breast cancer.



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