Whole-Person Cancer Treatment for the 21st Century

Updated: Sep 7


Hands Holding Cancer Sign

By Stephany Porter, ND, FABNO

Few things are more frightening than a diagnosis of cancer, a disease that affects the whole person—body, mind and spirit.


While traditional treatments rightly place their focus on eradicating the cancer, they often ignore other important aspects of health and healing.


But naturopathic doctors who specialize in naturopathic oncology (like me) place their focus on healing the whole person, not just getting rid of the cancer.


Applying the art and science of naturopathic medicine to the field of cancer care, we work alongside your team of oncology physicians and nurses. We are more than happy to collaborate with your cancer care team, complementing your traditional care—not replacing it.


Trained in both modern and natural medicine, naturopathic oncology doctors will design a treatment plan to protect organs at risk, decrease side effects and increase the efficacy of the conventional therapies.


Here’s a sampling of strategies that can help restore the mind, body and spirit as you live through cancer treatment and beyond.


Botanical medicines. Also known as herbs, botanical medicines can help the body heal from many ailments and are an integral part of modern medicine. Many pharmaceuticals originated from herbs. For example, aspirin is from an ingredient found in the white willow bark, and Taxol, a powerful chemotherapeutic, originated from an ingredient found in the pacific yew tree.


Naturopathic doctors use plant-based medicines to fortify the body and decrease side effects. For example, ginger, fennel and mint can relieve nausea. Green tea contains powerful cancer-fighting compounds. And Chinese herbs, such as astragalus, can boost the immune system.


Therapeutic Nutrition. Naturopathic doctors believe that good nutrition is a foundation of good health. Studies show that people with cancer who maintain proper nutrition can fight off secondary infection, recover more quickly and tolerate conventional therapy better.


Depending on your needs, a naturopathic doctor might supplement your diet with high-protein shakes as well as vitamins, minerals and other nutrients.  Through therapeutic nutrition, you will eat foods designed to boost your immune system and strengthen your body.


Homeopathic Medicine. Developed in Germany in the late 19th century, homeopathic medicine in the field of oncology can treat the side effects of cancer by stimulating the body’s natural healing mechanisms. Through miniscule doses of natural plant and mineral substances, homeopathic medicine can shore up your immune system and work to heal the underlying causes of symptoms.


Counseling and stress management. Few things are as stressful as cancer. Treatments, tests and doctor’s appointments can tire and exhaust anyone, let alone someone living with cancer. But we know that mental attitudes and emotional states play an important role in promoting healing. A naturopathic doctor will counsel you about the importance of lifestyle, exercise and stress management, particularly as you go through treatment and beyond.


Answer your questions. When you have cancer, friends and family want to help. They often offer suggestions about products and advise you to give them a try. But not all products are benign or helpful, particularly as you go through treatments. Your naturopathic oncology doctor can help you negotiate through the confusing marketplace so you can find remedies that are the most beneficial.


Cancer treatment in the 21st century should take an integrative approach that addresses the whole person. Consider working with a naturopathic doctor trained in cancer care. This professional can focus on you—a person with a mind, body and spirit—not just the disease. Call our office today to schedule a consultation.


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