The term integrative can be defined as “various parts or aspects being joined together.” It implies cohesiveness and completeness.
The goals of integrative naturopathic oncology are:
- To fight cancer and optimize the tumour killing ability of chemotherapy and radiation;
- To prevent and manage side effects from modern treatments without using drugs;
- To speed healing from modern treatments;
- To maintain the body’s immune function to help it to fight cancer;
- To teach each individual how to eat a cancer-fighting diet;
- To reduce the risk of a recurrence.
Integrative Naturopathic Oncology combines the two medical disciplines of modern oncology (which uses surgery, chemotherapy, radiation and hormone therapies) and naturopathic medicine. Naturopathic medicine involves the use of “natural” therapies to treat disease and stems from the philosophy that by removing factors that interfere with health, and restoring optimal functioning of our organ systems, our body can fight disease. Natural therapies include plant-based medicine, vitamin supplementation, hydrotherapy (using hot and cold temperatures to affect physiology), acupuncture, diet and nutrition, exercise and physical therapy, IV therapies and detoxification.
Integrative vs. Alternative
Many people are afraid to receive chemotherapy and radiation, and understandably so. This leads to people searching for alternative cures for their cancer, or alternatives to chemotherapy. Alternative treatments imply that conventional cancer therapies such as chemotherapy and radiation are ignored, and other alternative treatments are used solely to treat the cancer. Unfortunately, no such effective alternative treatment has been discovered.
Yes, there are some case reports of people using certain alternative treatments who have cured their cancer – but this is a great exception to the rule.
Integrative medicine, as explained above, is the concurrent use of both chemotherapy/radiation and complementary therapies that can control side effects. The complementary therapies have also been shown in clinical research to be safe, to not interfere with other treatments, and most importantly, they have been found to work.
The other important aspect to appreciate about integrative medicine is that the fear surrounding chemotherapy and radiation can be alleviated. Integrative naturopathic medicine allows patients with cancer to maintain a good quality of life while going through cancer treatments. Integrative naturopathic medicine is a highly important adjunct to your cancer care.
Is Integrative Naturopathic Oncology for You?
Medical oncologists, without a doubt, have a very difficult job. They are the experts in surgical procedures to take the cancer out of your body. They are the experts in delivering targeted radiation. They are the experts in deciding which course of chemotherapy is the best for your particular type of cancer.
However, more and more people are interested in complementary treatments. They wonder about what types of foods they should be eating to fight cancer, and prevent it from recurring. They question whether they need to take so many drugs during treatments. They are interested in what kinds of herbal medicines or nutritional supplements can help them fight cancer. They are desperate to have a conversation about what they can do to reduce their risk of a recurrence after their treatments are complete.
Unfortunately, more often than not, they are frustrated with the lack of information about complementary treatments provided by most cancer centres. There is either a lack of expertise and understanding, or outright dismissal of such treatments, or both.
This is a major gap in our health care system. The gap encompasses a lack of information about effective interventions that keep patients healthy during conventional treatments, and a lack of support after conventional treatments are over. Patients’ stress levels are high and often they are endlessly searching through Web sites with contradictory information. Who do you believe? How can you learn to empower yourself with the most accurate, up to date information?
A naturopathic doctor has 8 years of education, and one that focuses in oncology has endless hours upon hours of additional study and research into the best natural therapies that can fight cancer, that can minimize side effects, and help you to strengthen your body. They are the experts in the field of integrative naturopathic oncology.
If you can relate to the above statements – you find yourself not completely satisfied with mainstream medicine while at the same time are very interested in learning about complementary treatments – then book an appointment to start yourself on your individualized program.