ALBANY — When it comes to good health, art can play a role.
Creating art is one of the ways an individual can help control stress, which can have serious health implications, says Dr. Jose Tongol. Tongol is an oncologist at Phoebe Putney Memorial Hospital and is board-certified in medical oncology, hematology and internal medicine.
Art is one of the creative avenues Tongol, a true renaissance man, uses for enjoyment. An exhibition of his work, “Inspiring Wellness Through the Arts,” is on display in the Hodges Regional Sales Gallery at the Albany Museum of Art. It is scheduled to show through the end of June. Admission to the AMA and its galleries is free.
The exhibition consists of “some of my artwork, basically pencil drawings,” Tongol said. He was inspired to take up drawing after taking a drawing workshop at the AMA.
His exhibition comes at an especially appropriate time, since June is National Cancer Survivors Month. Sales of his artwork will benefit the Gloria Tongol Cancer Wellness Fund, with a portion going to the Albany Museum of Art. Tongol, whose wife is a cancer survivor, named the foundation for his mother, who died from lung cancer.
In addition to his artwork, the doctor is well known for his musical performances locally with his band the Yo-Yos. His exhibition at the AMA also includes some books he has compiled of his drawings and poetry.
Noting his brother is a photographer, Tongol said a love for the arts runs deep in his family. “I mix well” with the art community, he said.
The Gloria Tongol Cancer Wellness Fund teaches cancer survivors “how to take care of themselves,” including reducing stress through activities like artwork, yoga and meditation, the doctor said.
Abstaining from tobacco and limiting alcohol consumption are critical, but there are other important ways to reduce the risk of cancer, Tongol said.
“The best things you can do are maintain your weight, exercise, eat properly and, most importantly, control stress,” he said. “Stress causes everything. Your immunity is messed up when you’re not taking care of yourself. When you’re stressed out, your immunity falls down and then a lot of things happen with your body.”