For a lot of people going through cancer, meditation and relaxation are key to coping with the emotional strain of the disease. Cameron Mathison, 50, who starred as Ryan Lavery on the soap opera “All My Children” for many years, is one of them, using meditation as he recovers from surgery for kidney cancer.
Actual data on the benefits of integrative medicine is often hard to pinpoint. In the case of meditation, there is a good deal of high quality scientific research demonstrating the benefits of meditation for people with cancer.Read More
When it comes to meditation, a lot of survivors tell us that they’re incorporating mindfulness into their cancer recovery experiences. Shannon Masur, who took on colon cancer and Lynch Syndrome, says she had never meditated before she was diagnosed. “I thought it would be such a challenge,” she says. “But it really wasn’t because [my guide] has taught me how to … when a thought comes in, to feel it, feel the fear, but let it go after a few seconds.”
Colon cancer and Lynch syndrome survivor Shannon Masur on the importance of meditation during cancer
Getting negative thoughts and energy out of your mind can make a real difference during a cancer journey.
According to the American Society of Clinical Oncology, there is data showing that meditation creates “reductions in psychological distress in patients with lung cancer, improves mood and general well-being in patients across several cancer diagnoses, as well as enhances psychological functioning and mindfulness in partners of cancer patients.”
Dr. Brian Berman, director of the Center for Integrative Medicine at University of Maryland, leads a guided mediation for the SurvivorNet community
In this video, Dr. Brian Berman, takes us through a guided meditation. Ideally, Dr. Berman recommends using this relaxation technique once or twice a day or for 10 to 15 minutes a day in order to really begin experiencing the benefits that come from meditation.
Cameron Mathison and meditation during cancer
Mathison first announced he had kidney cancer on The Hallmark Network, and then revealed the diagnosis on Instagram less than a month ago. From there, he and his doctors have moved quickly into treatment, and Mathison reported that he had a “partial nephrectomy,” which means that doctors removed part of his kidney in order to treat his disease. After his surgery, Mathison says he’s been using meditation to get through his recovery.
“A healing weekend of meditation and relaxation [prayer emoji] Meditation completely changed my life 13 years ago [grateful emoji] So grateful to be able to use it as a valuable tool to help me through this challenging time. #compassion #thinkaboutothers #healing #meditation,” he wrote alongside three photos of him relaxing and staying centered and calm — one of him lying in a hammock, one of him sitting upright in meditation, and one of him on a deck. All of them them seem to find Mathison amidst a lot of trees and nature.
And supporters were excited to relay their stories about going through cancers and some of the difficulties that came their way, “I am also a 10 year renal cell carcinoma survivor and was lucky enough to keep 2/3rds of my kidney,” wrote one survivor, who identified a lot with Mathison’s experience, “I have been watching and praying for you sense we found out about your cancer. I have watched your recovery and in complete awe how quickly you have recovered. You are so full of joy and love.”
Others focused on the importance of nature, and how it can help you feel grounded and safe, “I’m sending you healing vibes and peace Cameron,”Your being out in nature is the best thing you can do….always stay connected to the earth….ground yourself everyday to the earth. [prayer emoji].”
While some connected to him by talking about their own experiences meditating, “I just began to learn meditation to cope with my anxiety. Baby steps for me… May the calming of meditation help to complete your recovery. Sending prayers. [prayer emoji].”
Mathison’s cancer journey
After initially announcing his diagnosis on TV, Mathison wrote an emotional Instagram post to let his followers know what was happening with his health.
“I have a health situation that I want to share with you all [prayer emoji]. There are many reasons I love social media, staying connected with you all, sharing fun experiences… well this time I’m asking for your help,” he wrote int he post alongside a photo of him with his wife, Vanessa, and two children, Leila and Lucas.
In a more recent post, Mathison wrote,”Unbelievably grateful to be back home after a successful partial nephrectomy surgery. It was an eventful 4 days in the hospital, and doing well at home now. @inderbirgillmd is a miracle worker, and my whole family is indebted to him and everyone at @keckmedofusc [prayer emojis],” alongside a photo of himself holding a photograph framed with poster and signed with lots of loving wishes, and surrounded by gifts, flowers and comforting objects.
He also talked about how much it means to him to have so much positive energy around him during this time, “Thank you to everyone sending prayers, positive thoughts, flowers, cards, stuffed animals, food, love[heart emoji]… and kidney beans[laughing emoji] Love you guys[loving emoji]#1.8kidneysleft #cancersucks #cancerfighter #feelingloved.”
Mathison said his surgery was performed at USC, which is a major, high volume cancer center in Los Angeles.
View this post on Instagram
Unbelievably grateful to be back home after a successful partial nephrectomy surgery. It was an eventful 4 days in the hospital, and doing well at home now. @inderbirgillmd is a miracle worker, and my whole family is indebted to him and everyone at @keckmedofusc ???????????????????????? Thank you to everyone sending prayers, positive thoughts, flowers, cards, stuffed animals, food, love????… and kidney beans???? Love you guys???? #1.8kidneysleft #cancersucks #cancerfighter #feelingloved
And his supporters commented their praise of his attitude, and sent their love his way, “You are a WARRIOR! We are here for you every step of the way [hearts] sending love and light and strength.”
“Aw how sweet is this? You’ll be back to normal in no time, Cameron. Blessings, love, speedy healing, & loads of prayers & good thoughts sent your way! Always!”
Mathison also posted a photo of himself in a hospital bed with his two kids on either side of him, holding his hands. He expressed his gratitude for their love and support, “Feeling loved and supported by my family and friends, including each and everyone of you. I’ve been very overwhelmed and so grateful for all of the supportive comments and prayers.”
And offered a few more details as to the details of his surgery, “The surgery went very well. The tumor is gone and I even got to keep 80% of my kidney[smile emoji] We are all optimistic. Keep you updated. So grateful for all of you [heart emoji].”
View this post on Instagram
Feeling loved and supported by my family and friends, including each and everyone of you. I’ve been very overwhelmed and so grateful for all of the supportive comments and prayers. The surgery went very well. The tumor is gone and I even got to keep 80% of my kidney???? We are all optimistic. Keep you updated. So grateful for all of you ❤️
Supporters responded by offering words of kindness and hope, “That is awesome news so glad to hear keep positive and hope you have a speedy recover and your not in to much discomfort [heart].”
“I’m so thankful your surgery went well. I’m continuing to pray for a speedy recovery. I’ve just started watching the Hallmark channel and love seeing you in each and everyone of the movies. God bless you!! [hearts]”
Information and treatment options for kidney cancer
Kidney cancer can develop in adults or children. There are two main types of kidney cancer that occur in adults: renal cell cancer, and transitional cell cancer, according to the National Cancer Institute.
Renal cell cancer is a disease in which malignant (cancer) cells form in tubules of the kidney. Smoking and misuse of certain pain medicines can affect the risk of renal cell cancer. Signs of renal cell cancer include blood in the urine and a lump in the abdomen. Other signs of the disease may include pain in the side that doesn’t go away, loss of appetite, weight loss for no known reason, and anemia.
Treatment for renal cell kidney cancer usually includes some combination surgery, radiation therapy, chemotherapy, immunotherapy, and targeted therapy.
For renal cell cancer, surgery is a common treatment practice. Types of surgery include:
- Partial nephrectomy, a procedure to remove the cancer within the kidney and some of the tissue around it.
- A partial nephrectomy may be done to prevent loss of kidney function when the other kidney is damaged or has already been removed.
- Simple nephrectomy, a surgical procedure to remove the kidney only.
- Radical nephrectomy, a surgical procedure to remove the kidney, the adrenal gland, surrounding tissue, and, usually, nearby lymph nodes.
Transitional cell cancer of the renal pelvis and ureter is a disease in which malignant (cancer) cells form in the renal pelvis and ureter. A personal history of bladder cancer and smoking can affect the risk of transitional cell cancer of the renal pelvis and ureter. Signs and symptoms of transitional cell cancer of the renal pelvis and ureter include blood in the urine and back pain.
Kidney and renal cell pelvic cancers make up about 4.2 percent of all new cancer cases per year in the U.S., with and estimated 73,820 in 2019. These cancers account for about 2.4 percent of deaths from cancer in the U.S. with an estimated 14,770 deaths from this cancer in 2019. The five year survival rate for kidney and renal pelvis cancer is about 74.5 percent.