A cancer diagnosis can be devastating to the entire family, and getting safe naturopathic support can make a world of difference. Integrative medicine can improve quality of life not just for the patient, but for their caregivers and family too.
Cancer is a group of diseases that happen when cell growth becomes uncontrolled, usually after some sort of DNA damage. One cell begins to replicate out of control, and develops into a tumor. The most common types of cancer in adults are lung, breast, and colon cancers, but any cell in your body has the potential to become cancerous. Uncontrolled growth of you blood cells is called leukemia or lymphoma, and cancer that spreads to different parts of the body is known as metastasis.
Early detection is one of the best indicators for successful remission and recovery. Different cancer types respond with different degrees of success to surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation treatment. All of these are designed to remove or kill cancer cells. This usually ends up in uncomfortable side effects like weight loss, hair loss, nausea and vomiting, pain, and much more. It’s no fun for anyone.
With that in mind, if you think you think you might have cancer, it’s important to get a referral to an oncologist who can diagnose the stage and severity of the disease. Take action fast! Oncologists are in charge during cancer treatments, and they use things that will improve your chances of survival. Naturopathic doctors generally work in a collaborative and/or supportive role during cancer treatments. We all pull together for what counts- your health!
Naturopathic doctors all get basic training in oncology and cancer support. Some NDs have extra training and have the letters FABNO (Fellow of the American Board of Naturopathic Oncology) behind their names. This is a special designation from the Oncology Association of Naturopathic Physicians that certifies special skills in the area of cancer treatment and support.
There are many herbs and supplements that can reduce chemo side effects. This can make a huge difference in quality of life, both for the cancer patient and for their support network. Reduced nausea, reduced pain, increased energy and appetite, and better mood can all be results of naturopathic support.
There are also specific treatments available that can help direct chemotherapy or radiation to tumor cells. Local or regional hyperthermia treatments use heat to help kill tumors. Cancer cells have a lower ability to tolerate heat, and hyperthermia treatments help selectively kill them. Mistletoe injections are another approach that increases the effectiveness of chemo or radiation, while reducing the side effects.
Antioxidant therapy is an important part of any naturopathic approach to cancer support. Whether via supplements or IV therapy, high doses of antioxidants can help your body beat any current cancer, and prevent future relapse. Anti-inflammatory diets, where specific foods are avoided can help, and acupuncture can be an excellent tool to promote relaxation and decrease pain.