What is new in the oncology rehab and integrative medicine world...
CRA monthly news & updates
Study Finds Possible Future Drug Treatment for Lymphedema.
(Tian,  Rockson, Jiang et al)

Scientists have discovered that a naturally occurring inflammatory substance known as LTB4 is elevated in those with lymphedema. LTB4 at elevated levels causes tissue inflammation and impaired lymphatic function.

Research in mice demonstrated using drugs that target LTB4 induced lymphatic repair and reversed the disease processes.

Based on results of this most recent study, the drug Bestatin, (which is not approved for use in the United States) was found to work well as an LTB4 inhibitor.

Bestatin is being tested in a clinical trial that started in May 2016, known as ULTRA, as a treatment for lymphedema.

Agnes Discussing Research on:
Acupuncture and Hot Flashes
Acupuncture As an Integrative Approach for the Treatment of Hot Flashes in Women With Breast Cancer: A Prospective Multicenter Randomized Controlled Trial (AcCliMaT)  

One thing I love about going to conferences is getting to meet the researchers behind publishing high quality data on acupuncture. At this years Society in Acupuncture Research Conference, a recent paper was presented on hot flashes in women with breast cancer. What I truly appreciate about this article, is the focus on integrative approaches. The authors compared acupuncture plus enhanced self-care, vs enhanced self care alone. In my opinion, this is the most clinically relevant approach to data collection. Not only looking at one modality, but real world applications. Most breast cancer patients seek out integrative medicine as they search for relief from annoying hot flashes, night sweats, flushed face, sweaty palms/feet; to name a few. 

The authors gathered 190 women with breast cancer, of those 105 used self care and 85 used self care plus acupuncture. The self care was supplied as a brochure, and has recommendations on diet, exercise and psychological support.
The Study's Self Care Advice
Authors: (Lesi, Razzini, Musti et. al., 2016)


  • A diet based on vegetables and fresh fruit reduces many symptoms of estrogen deficiency.  In particular, the consumption of vegetables belonging to the cabbage family, such as cabbage, turnip, radish, broccoli, cauliflower, and arugula, is a valuable aid in preventing cancer.

  • Reduce your intake of red meat, especially sheep and cattle (no more than 300 g per week); white meat and fish are recommended. It is useful to eat fish at least twice a week, and clinical evidence suggests a fish in take of about 35g per day.

  • Consider increasing the consumption of fiber and antioxidant elements, because they can decrease the absorption of lipids and exogenous cholesterol. Those who are not used to these foods must introduce them gradually to allow time for the intestine to adapt, remembering to chew well and eat slowly.

  • Limit your intake of salt to no more than 5 g per day, and limit intake of foods preserved in salt. Choose instead to use sea salt, and enrich food with herbs.

  • Consider minimizing your sugar intake, increasing fiber and complex carbohydrates and dividing calorie intake throughout the day. It is strongly advised to avoid fizzy drinks and sweets as well as the consumption of white sugar, fructose, and chocolate.

  • Moderate alcohol consumption may be associated with the appearance of insomnia and hot flashes, especially when consumed before bedtime, so it is advisable to reduce or avoid consumption of alcohol.

  • The use of caffeine-containing beverages can facilitate the onset of hot flashes and insomnia, especially when taken before bed; therefore, it is advisable to reduce your intake of coffee.  
Authors: (Lesi, Razzini, Musti et. al., 2016)


  • Physical activity has therapeutic value only if done methodically and with constant frequency (at least twice per week). 

Psychological support: 

  • Stress has a negative impact on quality of life, especially in postmenopausal women, and can cause a variety of symptoms that worsen in some pathologic conditions. For this reason, you must also consider the following opportunities: • Psychological support from psychologists or psycho-oncologists, self-help groups, or leisure activities. 

  • General advice for coping with hot flashes: • Wear cotton and other natural fibers and avoid synthetic fibers • Dress in layers 
Both groups were followed for 12 weeks, the acupuncture group received 10 treatments in addition to following the self care guidelines.  If you love graphs as much as I do, here’s what the results showed (see graph above).

The acupuncture plus self care group showed a significantly reduced hot flash score.  This trend continued for 3 and 6 month follow up visits.  I was impressed that the authors didn’t end the study after the 12 weeks.  I haven’t read much acupuncture research that includes long term results (a changing trend).  While there are quite a few well regarded articles demonstrating the efficacy of acupuncture in treating hot flashes, again what inspired me was the inclusive nature of this trial.  As an evidence based acupuncturist, I use research to guide my treatment plans.  But as your practitioner, I combine as many tools as possible to help you get through your cancer journey.  Indeed, CRA exists because we all share the same philosophy of truly integrating your care. 

I look forward to seeing you in the clinic,

We Are a Proud Sponsor of Art Bra Austin
Art Bra Austin is a fully costumed, professionally produced runway show and auction to raise funds to support local women affected by breast cancer through the Breast Cancer Resource Center.

Get tickets here
Upcoming Workshops
Writing About Emotional Experiences with
Dr. James Pennebaker 
In collaboration with the Breast Cancer Resource Center and Re:Cancer
World renowned researcher Dr. James Pennebaker presents on the topic of writing and it's impact on health and immune function.

Unexpected upheavals affect every part of our lives. Some issues, such as the diagnosis of cancer and other health issues, can be hard to talk about with others. Several studies over the last two decades have shown that putting emotions into words can promote physical and mental health. 

In this talk, Dr. James Pennebaker will talk about ways of thinking about and practicing expressive writing that improve health and immune function.

When:  June 9th 12:00-1:00 pm
Where:  Re:Cancer
55 North IH 35 Suite 235
Austin, TX 78702

Refreshments will be available starting at 11:30.

Bio—Dr. James W. Pennebaker
James W. Pennebaker is the Regents Professor of Psychology and Executive Director of a university-wide educational initiative called Project 2021 at The University of Texas at Austin. Pennebaker’s earliest work examined the psychology of physical symptoms. The symptom research ultimately led to his discovery of expressive writing which found that writing about emotional upheavals improved physical health and immune function. More recent studies have explored natural language. He finds that everyday word use is related to personality, deception, status, group dynamics, and emotional states. He is now working with his university’s senior administration to rethink 21 st century education models. Author or editor of 10 books and over 300 scientific articles, Pennebaker has received several university and international awards for his research and teaching. His most recent books are The Secret Life of Pronouns: What Our Words Say About Us (Bloomsbury, 2011) and Opening Up by Writing it Down (Guilford, 2016).

Cancer is devastating for the whole family. During this 45 minute presentation, learn how you can support the children in your life and your relationship with them in the midst of your cancer diagnosis. Walk away with tools and techniques on how to communicate about your diagnosis and the changes that are happening in your family.

(Sorry, no childcare will be available)

This event will be located at Wonders and Worries on Burnet Road.

When: June 17th 4:00-5:00 pm

Where: Wonder's and Worries (9101 Burnet Road #107)

Speaker’s Bio:

Kelly Theesfeld has worked with Wonders & Worries, a local non-profit organization that works with children to provide professional support throughout a parent’s illness, for over 5 years. Prior to coming to Austin, she was the Program Director at Angel Foundation in Minneapolis, where she specifically worked with teens who had a parent with cancer. She also conducted research on resiliency in cancer patients at the University of Minnesota School of Social Work. Kelly holds a BA in Psychology from the University of Colorado at Boulder.


How to Manage Your Financial and Medical Affairs During a Time of Crisis

Legal aspects of illness: At some point in your life either through illness or aging you may, even temporarily, be incapable of making legal, financial or medical decisions for yourself. There are ways to prepare for those situations that will save you time, money and reduce your stress.

When: August  26th 2:00-3:30 pm
Where: Cancer Rehab Austin

Presenter Bio:

Virginia Sampson has been an attorney for 35 years.  For most of her career she was a litigation attorney. She served several years as a judge. She currently practices  law in Austin helping her clients to plan and prepare for a crisis and/or the aging process. She shifted the focus of her practice to help clients preparing for or facing a crisis as a result of her experiences helping her own parents,  She prepares powers of attorney documents, Wills,Trusts, etc. and helps clients find ways to pay for long term care.  She is accredited with the Veterans Administration to handle VA claims.

It is Imperative Your Practitioner has Advanced Training in Oncology
Do you know the amount of oncology training your practitioners has?
Many practitioners state that they treat those dealing with or recovering from cancer treatment. Never be afraid to ask what type of advanced oncology training your practitioner has received. The treatment of cancer carries it's own unique set of precautions and knowledge that your therapist or acupuncturist must be aware of and skilled in. Without advanced training, a practitioner can do more harm than good. Here at CRA we pride ourselves in providing an environment with only the highest level of oncology specialized practitioners. Along with oncology certifications and training we also ensure that we stay up to date on the newest research and advancements in our field. Here are some of the most recent conferences we have attended:

  • Our PT Angela Wicker-Ramos attended the Oncology Sections Conference of the American Physical Therapy Association: with the focus on advancements in oncology rehabilitation and lymphedema treatment.

  • Our massage therapist Geri Ruane attended the Klose Lymphedema Conference: with comprehensive presentations and cutting-edge updates for certified lymphedema therapists. 

  • Our massage therapist Ashley Hiatt attended the International Symposium: Cancer Metastasis Through the Lymphovascular System: Biology & Treatment: whose conference focus was on following the journey of cancer metastasis from detection at the molecular level to genomic identification to precision treatment & survival.

  • Our acupuncturist Agnes Nowakowsky attended the oncology section of the  Society in Acupuncture Research Conference: With discussions and panels on advancements in oncology acupuncture.

Angela Speaking About Exercise During Cancer Treatment
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    We are so blessed to be in such an amazing Austin community. We appreciate your support and look forward to continuing to make a difference one patient at a time.

Cancer Rehab Austin | Phone: 512-524-0964 | Fax: 512-524-0936 
email: angela@cancerrehabaustin.com| Website: www.cancerrehabaustin.com