Dr. Terry J. Styles on Integrative Medicine, Part I

integrative medicine

As promised, an interview with Dr. Styles!

I had the privilege of sitting down with Dr. Terry Styles a few days ago and chatting about her take on complementary/integrative medicine and its role in cancer treatment.

Terry Styles, M.D., is the Medical Director of Radiation Oncology at MNAP Medical Solutions and in addition to being a wonderful doctor, she also has some impressive narrative skills. I barely had to ask a question to get an eloquent answer that really covered all the bases. So here is the first of (fingers crossed) many installments from the office of Dr. Styles.

Me: How did you get into complementary or integrative medicine?

Dr. Styles: I have had a long interest in complementary and integrative medicine that came out of a family – grandmother and aunts – that did a lot of “natural type” of healing. So when I finished school and decided what I was going to do, I knew that I was going to be a healer of some kind, but I debated: should I go to school to become a naturopath or a chiropractor? In the end I chose to go to traditional medical school and get M.D. training, and it was a while before I could bring the two of them together. And I really feel that there is a long history of different types of healing traditions that have some benefit. They haven’t been around doing acupuncture in China for two thousand years because it doesn’t work. They use it because it does work and it’s really about how we can bring it together and get the best of both worlds.

integrative medicineAbout eight years ago, when I was working at the University of Pennsylvania, I had the opportunity to go train in integrative medicine at the University of Arizona, so I did a two year fellowship there with one of the loudest proponents of integrative medicine, Dr. Andrew Weil. That was when I started to look very critically at the data about different types of non-traditional healing methods and really try to synthesize how that can be used with our current medical system. I spent two years doing that and then started an Integrative Oncology Program at Penn. I worked with some of the people there who had been doing a lot of research on acupuncture, Reiki,  and all different types of diet methods.

This is where the doctor got paged and we had to stop. We did continue a little later and I will tell you all about it in our next installment on how Dr. Styles creates that synergy of traditional and integrative medicine to help cancer patients get the most out of their treatment and get back to life.

Alisa Flom

Patient Relations Coordinator

Care. Comfort. Convenience. For our patients. For our doctors.