The cancer process starts long before the formation of a tumour or diagnosed disease. Complementary alternative care can be appropriate from prevention through to late stage illness. At Integrative you are treated as an individual. Your health concerns and choices are important to us and we are here to take care of both your cancer and you as a whole person.
When you ask for our support during your cancer care we understand that you’re inviting us to be part of your health team. After receiving a cancer diagnosis it’s easy to feel like you lose all control. Chemotherapy, radiation, surgery…. the list goes on in terms of treatments to try and how best to cope. Often times overshadowing is a layer of anxiety and fear. We’re here to remind you that you have choices and those choices need to be right for you.
Integrative is unique because we are more than just a group of practitioners with different modalities of therapy–instead we communicate between our different treatments and are eager to work alongside your conventional providers. It is in your best interest for all members of your health team to understand what treatments you are receiving and how those treatments are interacting. People approach us with a variety of goals concerning their cancer care–some want to use naturopathic medicine supportively to assist in general quality of life and tolerance of conventional treatments like chemotherapy and radiation, while others seek alternative anticancer methods and are focused on targeted tumour reduction. Wherever you fall on this spectrum we are happy to meet you where you’re at. Our naturopathic doctors will create a personalized plan that best fits your needs.
Health Benefits can include:
- Increased overall energy and quality of life
- Decreased chemotherapy side effects like nausea, numbness in the hands and feet (peripheral neuropathy), fatigue and mouth sores
- Improved treatment tolerance and maintenance of healthy blood counts
- Synergistic effects of specific natural cancer treatments with conventional therapy
- Decreased weight loss and poor appetite
- Improved nutrition and dietary guidance
- Decreased stress
- Enhanced mental emotional support
- Decreased cancer and tumour burden
- Maintenance of remission
- Minimized risk factors for cancer recurrence and advancement
- Cancer prevention for people with significant family or medical history
“Naturopathic medicine and conventional care have different roles but work alongside each other to improve cancer outcomes.”Dr. Alex M. Chan, N.D.
Integrative Cancer Program Outline
Your initial appointment will be with one of our naturopathic doctors who will take a thorough health history and perform any needed physical exams. It is best if you can provide your medical records before your initial visit but if this isn’t possible please bring them with you so they can be included in your assessment. Following your initial assessment we perform a series of in-house tests that will provide more information about your current body function. We may request additional lab work or medical releases at this time. Generally your naturopathic doctor will wait until the first follow-up to provide detailed treatment recommendations as this allows for all tests to be comprehensively reviewed.
Follow up and Program Plan
The first follow-up is where you’ll receive the details of your in-house testing and treatment plan.
Our program may include the following treatment services:
- Naturopathic management (involved in all cases)
- Nutritional supplements
- Specialized laboratory testing
- Intravenous therapy both with and without Insulin Potentiation Therapy (IPT)
- Vitamin C (Ascorbic Acid)
- ALA-Alpha-Lipoic Acid
- Major Autohemotherapy
- Nutritional counselling
- Customized acupuncture
Depending on your situation your, naturopathic doctor will appropriately guide your treatment. You will return at regular intervals to monitor your treatment response and update us on any progress and case developments.
Specialized Cancer Care at Integrative
Integrative Laboratory Testing
In our Integrative Lab we offer unique functional testing that will provide your naturopathic doctor with information on whether your body is setting you up for body breakdown or repair. We also have access to leading edge testing that can determine your particular cancer’s chemosensitivity and the natural agents that will be most effective during treatment. Throughout your cancer treatment we will monitor your progress with tumour markers and other objective tests.
Intravenous Therapy and Cancer
Intravenous therapy delivers specific vitamins and minerals directly into the bloodstream, bypassing absorption through the gastrointestinal tract or filtration through the liver. In cancer patients this means that a higher and more effective dose of a desired substance can be delivered directly into the body for nutritive or anticancer purposes. Specific substances can be used to fight cancer alone or in conjunction with conventional cancer treatments. As well, complete multi-nutrient formulas can be given to prevent muscle wasting and weight loss associated with cancer progression.
Insulin Potentiation Therapy (IPT)
Cancer cells are known to possess an increased number of insulin receptors and insulin-like growth factor-1 (IGF-1) receptors than normal tissues in the body. IGF-1 has been reported to be the most potent growth-promoting substance for uncontrolled cell division in many cancers as it mediates messages about growth in the tumour, while insulin regulates and provides the fuel for this growth.
Insulin administered intravenously in larger and more concentrated doses than are normally found in the body directly targets the highly active insulin receptors on cancer cells. The selective targeting action of insulin increases cancer cell membrane permeability and susceptibility to anticancer agents, enhancing the effectiveness of the agent on cancer cells. This technique has largely been studied and combined with chemotherapy agents as it reduces the required amount of chemo and spares healthy cells from potential dose-related side effects. These studies are showing up to a 10x increased survival rate across stage 4 cancers in comparison to standard treatment alone.
In addition to potentiating chemotherapy drugs, insulin can be used to potentiate a wide range of natural anti-cancer agents like curcumin, artesunate, mistletoe, germanium, high dose vitamin C, DCA, poly-MVA, etc. At Integrative we are among the first Naturopathic Doctors providing IPT in conjunction with natural agents to our patients. Please note, we do not offer IPT with chemotherapy at Integrative but do have colleagues that we can refer to if this is required.
Nutrition and Cancer
Nutrition is fundamental in cancer care because the food choices we make can directly impact the cancer cells. Foods that are high in sugar, toxin rich and inflammatory can cause more cell damage and feed the cancer process, whereas foods that contain antioxidants and increased vitamins/minerals can be anti-tumour. We recognize that cancer treatment side effects often include decreased appetite and nausea/vomiting and are committed to suggesting proper nutrition that is sustainable. Our Integrative nutritionist will work with you to determine your current diet and create a plan that is healthful and achievable.
Acupuncture and Cancer
During cancer treatment and the cancer process your body’s vital energy or qi can become extremely depleted. Acupuncture is an excellent way to combat fatigue and other cancer side effects, and can also be used to promote anti-tumour action. Your naturopathic doctor may refer you to our Doctor of Traditional Chinese Medicine for a cancer specific point prescription. At Integrative our clinic facilities allow you to receive acupuncture alongside your IV treatments if desired.