NORFOLK, Va. (WAVY) — Cancer doesn’t just affect a person’s body, it can also affect your mind and spirit. Hampton Roads now has its first integrated treatment clinic using things like acupuncture to move the needle toward whole-body healing.
Scott Knorowski has been surviving cancer for 25 years. First, Hodgkin’s Lymphoma in his 20s, then breast cancer in 2017, and now it has returned as stage 4 cancer in his bones.
“I could not literally bend down. I’d bend down and have so much pain that it would hurt. Sometimes I’d fall and pain, I’d cringe, fall in a ball; it hurt so bad,” Knorowski told 10 On Your Side.
A nurse at the Sentara Brock Cancer Center suggested he try acupuncture, however Knorowski was skeptical.
“I’m, like, acupuncture? What’s that going to do? I mean, I heard of it, but does it work ?”
Turns out, for Knorowski, it does.
“I came here at my worst time and I walked out, like, yea I was doin’ a dance!”
Dr. Lara Bonner-Millar, co-medical director for Sentara’s Carrillo Kern Center for Integrative Therapies, is a proponent. “It really just helps providers, not just help provide better care for patients, but helps patients to feel better supported in dealing with their treatments,” she told WAVY.
Emerging evidence from clinical trials shows acupuncture helps with chemotherapy induced nausea, dry mouth from radiation and pain from other cancer treatments.
Knorowski can’t stop singing its praises.
“Oh, my God! What a difference she’s made; the scars, this side was painful, it’s gone.”
He no longer needs a wheelchair and is branching out to try other alternative treatments at the Carrillo Kern Center for Integrated Therapies which include massage, reiki, art therapy and pet therapy. All services are offered to patients their families and caregivers.
“There are often psychosocial and other needs that caregivers may have as well as they’re trying to support their loved one through their cancer journey ,” Dr. Bonner-Millar said.
Many services are free but not all.
Acupuncture for example was not covered by Scott’s insurance so it cost him about $100 per session. He hopes insurance will one day cover it, especially for those who cannot afford it. For him, it’s worth the out-of-pocket cost.