Naturopathic Cancer Care
At Naturopathic Foundations Clinic we recognize the emotional and physical impact of a cancer diagnosis. We address all aspects of health and work with you to develop an individualized treatment plan to achieve the results you desire. Our approach is as follows:
Every person is unique with their own family support network, life history, dietary habits, social and environmental triggers. The first visit with one of our naturopathic doctors is about 1½ to 2 hours. During this intake we will determine your health goals – are you looking at preventing cancer, decreasing the risks associated with reoccurrence or metastases, or treating an existing cancer.
Identification of Factors Contributing to Cancer
Treating and preventing cancer involves identifying the factors that adversely impact health, including dietary or lifestyle factors, heavy metals or toxic chemicals, unresolved stress or trauma, or other external factors. A primary goal of the naturopathic intake is to determine the factors that have contributed to cancer and to provide you with the tools to correct any imbalances. To assist in identifying factors that may be impacting your health or contributing to cancer, your Naturopathic Doctor may suggest specific laboratory tests including:
- Food intolerance testing
- Heavy metal burden
- Environmental pollutants
- Metabolic profile
- Cancer screening tests, such as FirstMarkOnc® or specialized blood tests
Support the Healing Ability of the Body
The body has an innate intelligence and will heal when given the proper substances and support. When cure is not possible, maintenance of current state of health is supported by providing the necessary elements including:
Dietary Modifications: Proper nutrition wards off weight loss, decreases fatigue and increases stamina. It also ensures a diet rich in vitamins and minerals to assist the function of all cells and to support the immune system. Different types of cancer can be “fed” by the food that you eat. We work with you to ensure that your diet is supporting health versus encouraging disease.
Movement: Adequate movement is important as it increases the oxygen concentration in the blood, thus making it difficult for cancer cells to survive.
Sleep: The body heals primarily when you sleep. Ensuring adequate, deep restful sleep is an integral part of any treatment plan.
Mind body medicine: Meditation, mindfulness and guided visualizations are taught to help alleviate stress and to teach tools to support innate healing.
Infra-red saunas are an excellent tool for detoxifying and cleansing your body. Saunas assist in the elimination of chemicals which may be harmful to your body and which may be promoting cancer growth. It helps fight off infections, relieve sore muscles (often a side effect of chemo), and reduces stress.
Treatments to Directly Address the Cancer
There are many different naturopathic treatments that are proven to be effective in the treatment of cancer. The specific treatments depend on your health status and the type and staging of cancer itself. Some examples of treatments include:
Herbal medicine: Herbs have been shown to alter immunity, and improve the body’s mechanism of monitoring and killing abnormal and cancerous cells. It is used as an adjunct to cancer therapy (whether it be chemo or natural means), as it reduces nausea and vomiting, aids in appetite, and boosts immunity thus preventing a recurrence. It can also decrease the need for a number of the drugs that are often prescribed to address the side-effects of chemotherapy and radiation therapy.
IV Therapies: Intravenous therapies such as IV Vitamin C are effective in directly killing the cancer cells, it also impedes metastasis and improves the ability of white blood cells in killing cancer cells thus boosting your immune system.
Nutritional Supplementation: There are specific supplements that support the body’s ability to health, provide needed nutrients and that decrease the risks of metastasis. Choosing the correct supplements depends on your current health status, the type and staging of any cancer, and the treatments that you are currently undergoing. It is important to work with your naturopathic doctor to determine what supplements are best for you.
Other Therapies: Naturopathic doctors use a number of other therapies to augment a cancer treatment program including: homeopathic remedies, acupuncture, hydrotherapy etc.
Cancer treatment can be very taxing physically and mentally, both for the person who is diagnosed with cancer and for those that are supporting them. Ongoing support is necessary to ensure the restoration of health. For some that support is needed to rebuild a person’s strength and immune status; for others it is about addressing the mental and emotional impact that has occurred. For many it is about learning how to live a more healthy life and recognizing what changes they need to make.
Dr. Tina Konstantinou, ND, FABNO (pending) is the Cancer Care Program Coordinator at Naturopathic Foundations Health Clinic. She is board certified in IV Therapies and has completed her certification for the Fellow of the American Board of Naturopathic Oncologists(FABNO). Click here to learn more about Dr. Konstantinou.
Research the supports the naturopathic approach to cancer care
A recent paper published in JAMA 2007 on patients with stage III disease showed that those who ate more fruits and vegetables, lean meats such as fish and chicken had better outcomes with radiation and chemotherapy than those who ate the Standard North American diet consisting of meat, fat, refined grains, and dessert.
A study from JAMA 2005 on breast cancer, found that physical activity or simple walking 3 to 5 hours per week at a moderate pace helped to strongly decrease the relative risks of dying by almost 50%. Even more benefit was seen in women with hormone sensitive forms (i.e. estrogen positive). Moreover, the results were even more impressive in those with advanced cases (i.e. stage III). The above two examples shed light on how very simple interventions may strongly impact cancer. For those wanting to use varying degrees of integration (i.e. select natural health products, vaccines, intravenous therapies, etc.), there is also some interesting research in those areas as well.
Articles / Resources
Cancer Thrivers website: www.cancerthrivers.net