Comforting Cancer Care: May 29, 2014

“You can say it's a combination of art and science,” Bee Lan Lim says as she performs acupuncture on a patient at the Regional Cancer Center.

Acupuncture is Bee Lan Lim’s passion.

“Feeling relaxed is the side effect of acupuncture,” Lim says.

Used as a therapy, she is aiming her technique at cancer patients and others with life-threatening illnesses.

“I treat what I see; what is being presented to me. So when I treat somebody with back pain, the treatment in someone is not very different from somebody who doesn't have cancer and has back pain,” says Lim.

From overall pain issues and neuropathy to stress, anxiety and fatigue, people fighting cancer feel the weight of disease all over their body. By connecting with Lee Memorial Health System’s palliative care team, many are finding relief.

“In medicine there are two pathways and oftentimes aggressive care and curative care is very appropriate,” says nurse practitioner Lolita Melhado. She is part of the palliative care team with Lee Memorial Health System. “We find the population of people are aging they’re also living longer with chronic conditions and so palliative care really allows that person, when they get towards the end of that journey, to be able to make choices that are centered around comfort and quality of life.

This marks a shift in medicine - caring for the person as a whole. It means widening the scope of treatment to things that impact well-being.  Now there’s a willingness to include a wide mix of services that focus on healing: mind, body and spirit.

“Alternative medicine or complimentary medicine like traditional china medicine, even things like therapeutic massage- they all have a role in helping us get better,” says Lim.

A point she never loses sight of.