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Naturopathic Integrative Oncology!

Reviewed by
Dr. Pritam Mohapatra 92% (1378 ratings)
Post Doctoral Research (Ph.D.) (A.M) (Oncology), PGCert.- Integrative Oncology For Physicians (MSKCC, N.Y, USA), Doctor of Natural Medicine (N.D/ N.M.D), PGDip.- Clinical Counseling, PGDip.- Oncology & Haematology (A.M), Cert.- Ayurveda (I), CME Cert. - Clinically Relevant Herb-Drug Interactions (Cine-Med Inc. USA), PGCert.- Homeopathic Oncology (CCHO), PGCert.- Advanced Homeopathic Oncology (PGCCHO), Cert.- Immunotherapy Guidelines (NSCLC), Cert.- Advances in Cancer Immunotherapy, Cert.- Cancer Nutrition, PGCert.- Advanced Strategic Management Programme (APSM), B.E CSE
Alternative Medicine Specialist, Bhubaneswar  •  24 years experience
Naturopathic Integrative Oncology!

Facts:

  1. Cancer is the most dreaded and complicated non-communicable disease, with some getting cured and some getting a prolonged life after treatment.

  2. The conventional cancer treatment modalities especially chemotherapy, radiotherapy and surgery are believed to be costly, are known to have serious side-effects, and the disease can still relapse.

  3. There is an ever-increasing demand for traditional/ natural medicine by cancer patients.

  4. Majority of the cancer patients, worldwide, resort to complementary and alternative medicines (CAM) -

    • For reducing the side effects of conventional treatment, enhance quality of life (QOL) and improve clinical outcomes.

    • Apprehension of failure - of any single line of treatment failing to arrest/ cure the disease prompts patients/ caregivers to try out multiple approaches, at times frantically, with a hope to improve prognosis.

  5. Most of the patients do not disclose their CAM approaches to their medical oncologists.

  6. The treatment plans, in a multi-dimensional approach as mentioned above, thus are largely un-coordinated and enhances the risk of drug interactions and adverse events which can jeopardize the chances of achieving the overall treatment goals.

What is Naturopathic Integrative Oncology?

Naturopathic Integrative Oncology attempts bringing in appropriate CAM therapies that are evidence-based, safe, effective and which synergistically complement the conventional treatment modalities making the treatment as a whole all the more effective through improved/ optimized clinical outcomes (especially QOL & OS) and reduced adverse events. It helps manage symptoms, control side-effects, improve the state of physical & mental wellbeing, and speed up recovery. An integrated approach to treatment not only helps add days to the life of a patient but also helps add life to the days that a patient gets to survive.

Why Naturopathic Integrative Oncology?

  1. Cancer is a very complicated disease and its management presents with an enormous challenge. While the standard of care, by virtue of having demonstrated high clinical efficacy, have been chemotherapy, radiation and / or surgery, there still are treatment challenges owing to side effects, drug resistance, and irresponsiveness to conventional treatment of certain advanced stage cancers. It hence requires a strategic, well-researched, holistic & all encompassing/ integrated team based approach to control the same effectively. This necessitates the use of suitable CAM therapies as an adjuvant to conventional therapy.
  2. Improved clinical outcomes, especially quality of life (QOL) & overall survival (OS). It facilitates patients not only exist but also live life well.
  3. Avert adverse events/ reactions that may result owing to an oversight of the integrative oncology essentials.
  4. Cost effective treatment and increased patient satisfaction. It allows a customized/ individualized integrative treatment for each patient basis his financial status, clinical history, diagnosis, current treatment regime, spiritual belief, psychological & physical adverse effects etc all.

How (& Where) can Naturopathic Integrative Oncology Help?

  1. Integrative Palliative Support (CAM)

    • For ameliorating cancer symptoms & side effects of cancer therapies thereby improving QOL. To exemplify, anxiety, depression, cancer related pain, weakness, fatigue, nausea, vomiting, hiccups, diarrhoea, gas/ flatulence, mucositis, alopecia, constipation, anorexia, cough, sleep disturbance/ insomnia, headache, anaemia, peripheral neuropathy etc all can be managed effectively using CAM therapies.

    • Palliative support, in line with the above-mentioned, can be rendered at any point during a patient’s illness to help him feel comfortable. However, should there be any severe aggravation of existing symptoms or acute health conditions, one needs to promptly seek emergency & competent medical help, as locally available, to address the same suitably.

  2. Integrative Cancer Treatment (CAM) for patients who -

    • Consciously choose to not go for full scale conventional treatment for whatsoever reasons.

    • Have advanced and intractable malignancies where conventional therapy has not been able to effectively control the disease progression. Such patients are likely to seek CAM treatment for not only improving QOL but also add days to life as possible contextually.

CAM Modalities in Naturopathic Integrative Cancer Treatment:

  1. Diet & Nutrition/ Lifestyle
  2. Herbal/ Botanical medicine
  3. Homeopathy
  4. Dietary supplements/ Vitamins
  5. Exercise, yoga, meditation
  6. Music therapy
  7. Acupuncture
  8. Reiki/ Prayer Healing
  9. Massage/ Reflexology

Please note that it is at the discretion of the naturopathic/ integrative oncologist to decide on the appropriate CAM modalities, subject to the individual patient’s needs and as appropriate contextually.

Successful Naturopathic Integration Requirements?

For the alternative medicine (s) one decides to integrate with (the current conventional treatment regime), it is essential on the part of the practioner(s) to clearly understand the following for a successful integration -

  • Patient’s current status including his clinical history, diagnosis, treatment regime, physical/ psychological make-up, belief system, financial capability and any other explicit requirement of the patient.
  • Evidence-based clinical efficacy & safety profile.
  • Action mechanism
  • Herb drug interactions
  • Side effects
  • Long term health impact
  • Pharmacokinetics
  • Dosage & Mode of administration etc all. 
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