Cancer is the number one killer of Canadians. Nearly everyone has a family member or friend who has been affected by cancer. In this article, we will discuss the latest and greatest in naturopathic remedies for cancer care.
Cancer is not a single disease, but a group of diseases that share a couple of common characteristics. Our own cells become mutated, start growing out of control and eventually invade neighboring tissues. Each type of cancer can be quite different so a thorough understanding of each cancer is necessary. When choosing a doctor to help you, make sure they are well trained in cancer care. It is a very complex field and advanced cancers do not allow time for half-measures.
Naturopathic cancer care is based on an integrative care model. These naturopathic treatments support standard medical treatments, such as chemotherapy, radiation and surgery. Our preferred approach is to work in conjunction with the conventional medical model; however, we will work with patients who do not want conventional therapies.
You need to ask two basic questions when considering complementary therapies:
- Do naturopathic remedies have any evidence?
- Are naturopathic remedies effective?
The answer to both questions is unequivocal: yes, some.
Naturopathic remedies for cancer care do have evidence:
Mistletoe lectin injection therapy and melatonin both have one of the highest levels of evidence possible – called a meta-analysis, which looks at all of the best research and draws a conclusion – showing they support chemotherapy and radiation therapy by both reducing their adverse effects and improving survival outcomes and quality of life.
Melatonin is the only anti-oxidant proven safe and helpful in conjunction with radiation therapy. Melatonin has added benefit in hormonal cancers such as prostate and breast cancers.
Mistletoe lectins have been scientifically proven for over 95 years and yet too few Canadians know about them or use them. Mistletoe therapy has been used safely for decades by medical doctors in Germany. Their mistletoe is a prescription drug and around 60% of cancer patients are prescribed by their doctor.
Other natural remedies with high levels of evidence for cancer are astragalus and reishi mushrooms.
Astragalus is a herb found in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) formulas that have been proven in dozens of large university and hospital-based random control trials (RCTs) to double response rates to chemotherapy and reduce adverse effects by one third to one half.
Reishi mushroom is the best-studied medicinal mushrooms. Medicinal mushroom extracts support chemo and radiation therapy. Reishi boosts the immune function and directly helps turn off some types of cancer.
Cancer is a merciless disease and kills far too many wonderful people too young. We have seen our cancer patients improve their quality of life, live longer, and even a few liver cancer-free. The comment we hear most often from patients is, “I wish I had known about these naturopathic treatments sooner.” Dedicated Naturopathic Doctors with a special focus on oncology (cancer) will do our best to help any patient who comes to us.
Diet is foundational
Here are the nutritional foundations to follow if you have been diagnosed or are recovering from cancer treatment:
- Eat a low glycemic index diet = foods that turn to sugar slowly in your body
- Whole foods = one ingredient only. Feel free to combine as many as these whole foods together and make sure to add some tasty spices
- More fruits & vegetables – preferably organic & local to reduce pesticide & herbicide exposure, rich in antioxidants and nutrients that help prevent & even treat cancer
- no refined sugars or flours
- reduced meat intake especially red meat; instead favour local seafood and poultry with its skin removed, occasional red meat must be organic and grass-fed, or wild
Off-label uses of prescription drugs
Two prescription drugs are proving promising as cancer therapies.
Low Dose Naltrexone (LDN) – preliminary evidence shows a 60% response rate; very safe and inexpensive; we prescribe it to most cancer patients.
Metformin – primary use is in diabetes to lower blood sugar; it seems to work through other mechanisms of action to treat cancer as well.
Naturopathic Doctors with prescriptive rights can prescribe these.
So what’s next?
If you or someone you love has cancer or wishes to prevent cancer, then come in to see an ND with a special focus on integrative cancer care such as Dr. Patrick. He will create a customized health plan for your particular needs and to fit your budget.