No one ever wants to hear their doctor say the dreaded three words.
“You have cancer.”
But as frightening as it may be, remember that cancer treatments have come a long way.
There are many healthcare professionals who will help you work through the diagnoses, treatment, and aftercare, including your naturopathic doctor.
In addition to chemotherapy and radiation, there are a number of options for naturopathic cancer care which can help reduce the side effects of medical treatment and help to manage pain.
Keep reading to learn more about the role of a naturopathic doctor in cancer treatment.
Can A Naturopathic Doctor Cure Cancer?
Let’s be very clear: at the present time there is no known cure for cancer.
Not through naturopathy.
Not through Western healthcare.
Not anywhere else.
If anyone tries to tell you they can cure your cancer, this is a major red flag. Most regulatory bodies in the healthcare world expressly forbid anyone from claiming they can cure cancer.
As a result, anyone who does claim they can cure your cancer is either not licensed to practice medicine, or they won’t be licensed for much longer.
If someone is claiming to be a naturopathic doctor who can cure your cancer, they are lying as well as breaking the law, and you should report them to the College of Naturopaths of Ontario.
Can Naturopathic Cancer Treatment Replace Medical Treatment?
Okay, so you can’t cure cancer, but can you use naturopathic medicine to replace chemo or radiation?
Again, the answer is a very clear no.
As unpleasant as it may be, your doctor will recommend radiation or chemotherapy, and there is no getting around these treatments, as they are currently the only known way to kill the cancerous cells.
How Can Naturopathic Medicine Help With Cancer Treatment?
So by now you might be asking what a naturopath can do to help you through your cancer treatment.
Naturopathic doctors are recognized by the Canadian Cancer Society as playing a role in supporting the body’s ability to heal itself.
Treatments may include dietary modifications, nutritional counselling, and herbal or vitamin supplements.
Let’s take a look at some specific ways which naturopathic medicine can support cancer treatments.
1. Reducing The Side Effects Of Chemotherapy & Radiation Therapy
Chemotherapy and radiation are not pleasant treatments to go through.
A commonly known side effect of chemotherapy is hair loss, because it is meant to kill rapidly growing cancer cells, but damages healthy cells which grow quickly as well, such as those in the roots of your hair.
This attack on healthy cells can also cause side effects such as nausea and diarrhea, nerve damage, cognitive impairment, fatigue, and weight fluctuation.
This is one reason to consider treatment from a naturopathic doctor, alongside treatments from your medical oncologist.
Supplementation of nutrients such as omega 3 oil, ginger, and glutamine can aid in reducing side effects from harsh treatments.
2. Reducing Pain And Nausea
There is no question, going through cancer treatments can be very painful.
Use of naturopathic treatments such as acupuncture can help to reduce pain, and improve the quality of sleep in late-stage cancer patients.
3. Managing Your Weight
Often times, cancer treatments bring with them weight loss.
Cancer-induced weight loss even has a name: cachexia.
A naturopathic doctor can help you to maintain a healthy weight while undergoing cancer treatments.
4. Maintaining Your Immune System
Chemotherapy treatment causes a reduction in your white blood cell count, which weakens your immune system.
Treatment with intravenous vitamin C (IVC) can help to improve immune markers, and may also improve the effect of chemotherapeutic drugs.
Additionally, IV vitamin C treatment has been shown to help reduce side effects in chemotherapy and radiation patients.
Most patients can receive this treatment 1-2 times per week, based on their chemotherapy treatments and stage of cancer.
5. Recovering From Surgery
For some cancer cases, the doctor may perform surgery in order to remove tumors from the patient’s body.
Recovering from surgery is tough on the body, and adding cancer to the equation means your body is in a more weakened state than usual.
Naturopathic treatments can be used to help to support the body in healing after surgery and can support your body’s ability to recover more quickly.
Prior to surgery, building up reserves of nutrients, as well as removing things such as natural blood thinners which could impede recovery times is important.
The thought of going through surgery may be anxiety-inducing for some people, and there are also naturopathic solutions for helping ease anxiety.
Post-surgery the focus will be on building up nutrients, and supporting collagen formation which will help your body to recover quicker.
6. Staying Healthy During Remission
Naturopathic medicine is designed to help the body heal itself.
It takes into account the whole person, rather than just the illness or disease.
Supplements, special diets, or fasting can help to support the body once the cancer treatment is done, and reduce risk of a recurrence.
Book An Appointment At The Mindful Healing Clinic
Have you, or someone you love been diagnosed with cancer?
Are you worried about the toll that chemotherapy or radiation therapy take on the body – and perhaps are looking for some support to help make things easier?
The Mindful Healing Clinic can help.
Contact us today, we can work with you and your oncologist to create a naturopathic plan to support your cancer treatments.
Until next time,
Dr. Maria Cavallazzi is a medical doctor from Colombia where she practiced as a family physician for 8 years until she moved to Canada 16 years ago and became a naturopathic doctor in Mississauga.