Cancer Support and Risk Evaluation
What role does integrative medicine (IM) play in cancer treatment?
The field of oncology (cancer treatment) is fairly new but has exploded in recent years and become more and more specialized. A patient may need a surgical oncologist to remove a tumor, a radiation oncologist for radiation therapy and a medical oncologist to provide chemotherapy, hormone therapy and targeted cancer therapy (drugs that block cancer spread). Some oncologists now specialize in treating only certain types of cancer, such as colorectal or pancreatic. This increasing specialization benefits patients in that they get care from physicians who are experts in their specific disease, but in the process, the specialist may tend to see only the tumor and not the patient. Integrative oncology looks at the whole patient, body, mind and spirit.
Think of cancer as a weed. Modern western oncology is focused on destroying the weed while integrative oncology concentrates on the soil the weed grows in and on making the soil as inhospitable as possible to the growth and spread of the weed.
We also recognize that many cancer patients are people who have been highly functional and in control of their lives. A cancer diagnosis takes away that control and puts them at the mercy of doctors. In our practice, We try to return to the patient some sense of control by giving them things they can do to take their lives back into their own hands. At the same time I'm also trying to decrease ongoing inflammation in the body, which is at the root of many chronic diseases, and to enlist the body's innate immunity to fight against the cancer as well as decreasing stress and increasing hope.
Are there dietary changes that can help patients fight cancer?
The one thing we know for sure about diet is that obesity increases the risk of a number of different types of cancer. With hormonally driven cancers (such as breast cancer) obese patients have a worse prognosis than those with a healthy body mass index. So it is important for some patients to improve their nutritional status and decrease their weight. The most useful strategy is to eat a plant-based diet focusing on a wide variety of colored fruits and vegetables. Cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli, cauliflower and cabbage contain a cancer-preventing compound so potent that is being investigated as a chemotherapy agent. Berries are rich in beneficial phytonutrients and antioxidants. Overall, a diet that emphasizes fruits and vegetables, whole grains, nuts, cold water fish that provide omega-3 fatty acids (fish eaters have a reduced risk of cancer) is the best nutritional strategy.
At the same time, we recommend decreasing your intake of animal fats in general and red meat and dairy products in particular to control cancer-promoting inflammation in the body. Refined sugar and carbohydrates are not beneficial for individuals living with cancer because of their effect on insulin production and insulin-like growth factors, which promote inflammation and are also associated with cancer cell division.
We know the fact that organic fruits and vegetables are expensive, but they are the best choices for cancer patients, not just because they're grown without pesticides and other agricultural chemicals but because plants grown outdoors organically need to protect themselves from other plants, predators (insects, birds and animals) and the sun. Organically grown plants do this by producing more intense protective chemicals, known as phytonutrients, which are beneficial to us.
Seasoning food with ginger, garlic, onions, turmeric, drinking green tea, all of which have anti-inflammatory effects. If you drink alcohol, stick to red wine. Excessive alcohol consumption is a cancer risk, men who drink alcohol should limit themselves to a maximum of two drinks daily and women to a maximum of one. For women at risk for breast cancer, one drink a week is safest.
What about IM strategies to counter the side effects of conventional cancer treatment?
See a integrative medicine family practitioner that believes that cancer patients treated concurrently with nutrition support, IV Vitamin Therapy, Acupuncture for Chemo induced nausea, vomiting. For pain management we use state of the art technology, Prolozone. are fair better off. In fact, the National Institutes of Health had a consensus conference on acupuncture in 2007 and found that it was useful in treating side effects of chemotherapy, including chemotherapy associated nausea and vomiting. I think it may also be useful for increasing energy, decreasing dry mouth and relieving hormonally induced hot flashes. Integrative Medicine is all about supporting good.
Cancer is a scary diagnosis for any patient. We encourage patients to learn more about their cancer risks but once diagnosed.
We can offer a supportive role and provide:
- Nutrition Support
- IV Vitamin Therapy
- Acupuncture for Chemo induced nausea, vomiting, pain (referral)
- Pain Managment - Prolozone & Pulsed Electro-Magnetic Thearpy
- Chemo/Radiation Support (referral)
- Consults (Oncology) (referral)
Cancer Risk & Support Resources: Learn more about integrative treatment and prevention.
We can help with prevention of the above conditions & the anti-aging process by providing the following:
- Supplements - with the right amounts of vitamins, minerals and amino acids.
- Nutrition & Meal Planning - Nutrition is key to optimal wellness. Proper nutrition and good health should not be separated.
- Prevention, Anti-Aging, and Wellness -
Go beyond cholesterol, blood pressure, mammograms, and learn more about your true health risk.
- Wellness - Integrative Assessments & Treatments, wellness enhancements, lifestyle transformations, are all areas we can help.
- Integrative Testing - Learn your genetic risk by having gene testing performed and learn about your family history.
Cancer support groups are meetings for people with cancer and those touched by the disease. They can have many benefits. Even though a lot of people receive support from friends and family, the number one reason they join a support group is to be with others with similar cancer experiences. Some research shows that joining a support group improves both quality of life and survival.