The term integrative can be defined as “various parts or aspects being joined together.” It implies cohesiveness and completeness.
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 detoxification.
It is important to understand, however, that utilizing natural therapies for treating cancer has its limits. Many patients are tempted to decline chemotherapy and pursue natural treatments as a sole course of treatment. Unfortunately, there is not enough evidence to support the notion that cancer can be cured by these natural treatments alone. What is also known is that conventional treatments, such as chemotherapy and radiation, can make a person feel worse than the cancer itself.
The most exciting aspect of integrative naturopathic oncology is that natural therapies appear to help conventional treatments work better, while at the same time protect the patient’s body from their detrimental side effects. In other words, the combination of conventional treatments with naturopathic medicine seems to work better than using either one on its own.
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.
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 not to criticize medical oncologists – more so, it is to highlight the fact that medical oncologists are not the experts in this field. They not only lack the time to learn about such a field, but are also not compensated to spend the necessary time with patients discussing topics like diet, exercise or stress-reduction.
This is a major gap in our health care system. The gap encompasses a lack of 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.