World-renowned cancer facility opens integrative healing center

The Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in Boston, Massachusetts debuted the new Leonard P. Zakim Center for Integrative Therapies and Healthy Living last week,  according to an August 7 press release published by the hospital. The new facility represents Dana-Farber's "commitment to providing cutting-edge patient therapies and support for the “whole person” during and after treatment".

Increasing data has indicated that integrative therapies can help alleviate side effects of cancer therapy. The Zakim Center helps patients maintain the best possible quality of life during and after cancer treatment. Services that are offered include acupuncture, massage, meditation and mindfulness, expressive arts therapies, integrative medicine and nutrition consultations, and movement and other exercise programs.

The Zakim Center was formed in 2000 as part of the legacy of Leonard “Lenny” Zakim, who was a patient at Dana-Farber in the 1990’s. He believed that more patients should have access to integrative therapies that can positively impact one’s quality of life. This is the first time that the Zakim Center will be housed in a specially-designed facility within the Institute, making it the first comprehensive cancer center in Boston to offer such a broad selection of supportive services.

The dedicated space will allow Dana-Farber providers to meet the increasingly large patient interest in integrative services, while expanding healthy living initiatives. It features five treatment rooms for acupuncture and massage, a consultation room for integrative medicine and nutrition services, a Mind Body Studio for yoga and group movement class, and an exercise training studio. Patients using the integrative therapies offered often report reductions in cancer-related pain, less fatigue and nausea, and overall better quality of life.

“The Zakim Center was truly innovative when it was created, and it continues to be today. This dedicated new space will allow us to create an environment focused on healing and expand our services to a greater proportion of our patients,” said Jennifer Ligibel, MD, director of the Zakim Center.  “Additionally, the new center will allow us to expand our focus on healthy living. Over the last few years, mounting evidence has demonstrated that healthy nutrition and physical activity not only help patients become stronger and more resilient during therapy but are also linked to better outcomes—lower rates of cancer recurrence and mortality—in individuals with many forms of cancer.”