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Integrative Cancer Care: Best of Two Worlds

From the Show: Naturally Savvy
Summary: Integrative cancer care is based on a model of whole-person, patient-driven medicine.
Air Date: 8/13/14
Duration: 10
Host: Andrea Donsky, RHN and Lisa Davis, MPH
Guest Bio: Yashar Khosroshahi, ND
Dr. Yashar Khosroshahi is a Naturopathic Doctor and a teacher at the Canadian College of Naturopathic Medicine. His clinical focus is in Integrative Cancer Care, Intravenous Nutrient Therapy and Mind Body approaches to healing. With his clear and comforting approach, he helps his patients feel empowered no matter where they are in their health journey. Dr. K's practice is at Align Health Centre in Newmarket, Ontario.
  • Guest Facebook Account: www.facebook.com/drknd
  • Guest Twitter Account: @DrYasharND
Integrative Cancer Care: Best of Two Worlds
Many times when people receive a cancer diagnosis, they immediately have visions of chemotherapy-ravaged bodies or rounds and rounds of radiation treatment.

But there IS a place for a more natural approach as well.

Naturopathic doctors aim to integrate standard medical diagnostics with a broad range of natural therapies. In doing this, they help promote wellness and prevention of disease.

When it comes to integrative cancer treatment, the approach is a model of care where patients are allowed to voice their health goals and desired methods of treatment; a model of whole-person, patient-driven medicine.

This type of approach is not only focused on the cancer itself (bio-chemical changes), but also on the mental/emotional/spiritual changes that come along with a diagnosis of cancer.

Cancer is a multifaceted disease. While conventional care plays an integral role, the deeper understanding of approaching the cancer through other supporting and synergistic means is just as important.

The goal of integrative care is to ensure the patient always feels empowered and to improve quality of life, decrease side effects and ultimately improve survivability.

Can integrative cancer care be used prior to a diagnosis as well as post-diagnosis?

Many integrative care physicians see patients who are pre-diagnosis, but who have a strong family history of cancer. The goal in this case, of course, is prevention.

These physicians also deal with early stage cancer patients who are just starting to go through conventional care, patients who have gone through conventional care and are dealing with side effects, and patients in remission.

Integrative care should not be thought of as "us vs. them."

True integrative medicine is the "best medicine;" that is, doing what is best for the patient. Quality of life is paramount.

What are some examples of natural approaches/therapies?

Each individual's treatment is going to vary. But a popular treatment is high-dose, intravenous vitamin C. By bypassing oral absorption and going straight to the blood, the concentration of the vitamin is so much higher. This is method allows the "cell-killing" properties of the vitamin to take place.

Other supplements, vitamins, minerals and herbal medicines may also be implemented. Depending on the level of cancer, this can be very effective.

Mental and emotional states are also linked to prognosis. If you can help patients address their mental/emotional states and give them the tools to understand the challenges, those patients can make huge strides.

What role does food play in cancer therapy and treatment?

Food is one of the biggest foundations of health, whether in pre-diagnosis, mid-diagnosis or remission. Cancer cells are so susceptible to the effects of sugar. So, understanding how to balance blood sugar and get the appropriate amount of protein, fats and carbs can help patients stay strong through treatment, and may even improve the ultimate prognosis.

Dr. Yashar Khosroshahi, also known as "Dr. K," is a Naturopathic Doctor and a teacher at the Canadian College of Naturopathic Medicine. He joins Andrea to share what integrative cancer care involves, as well as why it is so important to incorporate both conventional and natural therapies in cancer treatment.