Dr. Rob Rutledge gave a talk sponsored by BCAK, on the Body-Mind-Spirit Connection in April 27, 2017 at the Invista center in Kingston.
Dr. Rutledge is a Radiation Oncologist and Associate Professor in the Faculty of Medicine at Dalhousie University in Halifax, specializing in breast, prostate, and pediatric cancers. In addition to his “official”, or day job, he generously gives lots of his personal time as a passionate speaker, providing his valuable insight gained from helping people dealing with life-threatening diseases. He has been delivering weekend retreats showing participants the way to heal body, mind, and spirit. He is also co-founder of the Healing and Cancer Foundation that freely offers educational videos, documentaries and web-casting seminars, while his book The Healing Circle captures the teachings and inspirational stories from the weekend retreats.
Dr Rutledge stressed the importance of knowledge and understanding of one’s situation in the journey towards empowerment. This is the very important first step that removes a big part of unnecessary stress. He talked of a friend who was just diagnosed with breast cancer but thought “some women survive this cancer, why not me?”. If you do not know, you fear the worst of the worst…
He also talked about the importance of advocacy in the medical system. For this he lauded the role of organizations such as the Canadian Cancer Society and others that tirelessly strive for the best for Canadian patients. I would like to add the importance of the Wait Time Alliance, an organization started by our own Dr. Chris Simpson, head of cardiology at Kingston General Hospital. This is a coalition of medical societies of Canada that advocate for a reduction in the wait times for medical treatment. In 2008 they produced a report that showed that the waste of money because of the delays in treatment for just four procedures (not including cancer) was conservatively estimated to be 14.8 billion a year! Well, if the cancer has spread, it is so much more expensive to treat.
Dr Rutledge went on on the importance of exercise in breast cancer. He cited published work that showed a 40% reduction in breast cancer risk in women who exercise. Thirty minutes a day of moderate exercise can make all the difference! Equally important is the diet. Avoid sugar and processed foods, high fat, red meat. Yes to greens, fish, chicken. I would like to add, to eat organic as much as possible, to avoid the pesticides, especially glyphosate herbicides that were recently proclaimed by the World Health Organisation as carcinogens. Take vitamin D supplements, especially in winter. Must avoid gaining weight and get lots of sleep. For this, having a routine is helpful. Avoid coffee and chocolate, dim the lights in the evening and avoid computer screens. Keep the room cool and dark and read a book. He also admitted that napping for 10-15 min before 5 pm helps recover the strength, and on this I personally agree. Finally, he offered advice to friends of people with cancer: Take away from them worries like cooking, childcare or shopping as much as possible. These small things may not seem to amount to much, but to someone with the cancer to worry about can make a huge difference.
Many thanks to Dr. Rutledge from the audience who participated with great interest and asked questions. BCAK would also like to thank the exhibitors.