When It Comes to Cancer, Think Integrative
What does the word "integrative" mean, and what does it mean for you and your cancer treatment?
A good integrative cancer physician has trained in how to intelligently combine the approaches of modern oncology with the well-researched and published literature on how alternative cancer medicine can help you if you need to be doing regular oncology therapies.
Who is an integrative cancer physician? They are most likely naturopathic physicians or integrative medical doctors who are trained in oncology. Though m any, many people today go online to find out about how to use alternative medicine to help heal their cancers or minimize side effects of modern oncology therapies (and there's nothing wrong with doing this), there is no substitute for a trained, experienced physician who can help you determine which therapies can actually help (and not harm) you, and which are financially worthwhile.
How can integrative cancer medicine help you? Let me give you a few examples:
1. Every cancer differs, as does every person with a cancer diagnosis. Some cancers have specific mutations in their DNA that enable them to evade being killed by whatever treatment is being utilized. Specific herbs and nutrients can help compensate for these mutations, and therefore help you to have a better outcome from your cancer therapy.
2. If you are suffering from side effects of chemotherapy, such as peripheral neuropathy (numbness in your hands and feet), there are very good herbs and nutrients that can help alleviate or even prevent these uncomfortable symptoms that can make daily life difficult. Ask your integrative cancer physician about these.
3. Cancers can often make the blood too thick so they can hide from our white blood cells and evade being destroyed. It is similar to the game of hide-and-seek that some of you may have played as a child: if you grew up on farm, you may have hid in a haystack to avoid being found by your friends. In this analogy, you are the cancer, trying to not be found by your white blood cells. There are very good herbs and nutrients that can help with this problem, such as gingko biloba and the nutrient bromelain, both of which are inexpensive and can often be purchased from good health food stores. Again, best to review this with your integrative cancer physician.
4. Underlying most cancers, as well as most chronic conditions today, is inflammation. An integrative cancer physician will often order blood tests for you, like C reactive protein and Sed rate, to see if you have chronic inflammation that can impair getting better. Specific herbs--some of which have been used since ancient times--like turmeric, curcumin, and boswellia or frankincense, can help you to lower the inflammation that is always present in people who have cancer.
For example, curcumin's multiple immune-regulating benefits and anti-inflammatory characteristics are well-proven. This constituent of the pungent, yellow spice offers preventive properties and has been studied in the management of numerous cancers. Some of its actions include (but are not limited to) the following:
the inhibition of certain genes that trigger cancer the prevention of metastases and angiogenesis (the capacity of cancer cells to make new blood vessels and spread) the stimulation of apoptosis ( cell death) in malignant cells the enhancement of chemotherapy and radiation without potentiating toxic side effects
These herbs will not interfere with most oncology therapies (although there is some controversy about this), so it's best to check with your integrative cancer physician about these approaches.
5. If your bone marrow is being affected by chemotherapy such that your white blood cell count is too low to continue treatment, and requiring an injection of a drug to raise your white blood cell count, there are herbs that you can take daily that will help prevent this or treat this side-effect. These will not in any way interfere with your therapy.
6. IV Vitamin C has been well-researched in a number of well known national cancer centers, and has been found to be helpful in improving outcomes for people who are undergoing chemotherapy.
These are just some of the ways that an integrative approach can enhance and support modern oncology therapies