When you're faced with a cancer diagnosis, it can feel overwhelming, and difficult to make sense of what's best for you or your loved one. There is no shortage of information and misinformation on the internet regarding "natural" cancer therapies. For those that try to avoid entering the internet rabbit hole, you'll still hear from someone who is well-meaning, but feels compelled to tell you about the "herb their aunt's niece's second cousin Susie took, and it helped cure her cancer."
The problem is, each individual is unique in terms of the cancer you face, so telling someone to take a particular herb of nutrient as if that therapy is helpful for all cancer types is misguided at best, harmful at worst.
Cancer care does not have to be either all conventional or all natural. Ideal cancer care integrates the best of both worlds. It acknowledges the benefits and risks of all therapies, and uses a combination that gives you the best outcomes and improves quality of life. Ideally, we want to support the actions of conventional therapies like chemotherapy, radiation and immunotherapies and avoid interactions that decrease their efficacy.
My goal as a naturopathic doctor and acupuncturist is to do the following:
Be a resource - I typically act as a filter for you and make sense of the information that's out there. I take the time to answer your questions about specific therapies, and whether they're appropriate for you.
Provide a comprehensive plan that includes focused nutrient therapies, herbal medicine, homeopathic medicine, and acupuncture to support mental and physical healh, and evolves with your needs, whether you are:
Receiving a first-time diagnosis
In the middle of chemotherapy and radiation
Preparing for surgery
Collaborate and communicate with your oncology team to ensure you are receiving the best care from both worlds and feel the benefit of having a team-based care. Note: I find a team-based approach to care helps patients most, and so I encourage patients to be open and transparent with their health care team about what they’re taking - medications, vitamins, herbal medicines and other supplements. While health care providers may not always agree on treatment strategies, it’s important to have open discussion about your care, making sure to take into consideration your goals, values, and current support network.
For those who have finished conventional therapies and are looking for guidance to reduce risk of recurrence and live your best life, my goal is to do the following:
Recommend conventional and functional lab testing to understand how hormones, thyroid, immune system, microbiome, environment, and nutritional levels may be impacting your health and risk of recurrence.
Help you understand how nutrition impacts your cancer risk and provide individualized food-based recommendations to support your mind and body.