Cancer Care
44 Case Studies
59 Member Stories
3657 Research

Combining naturopathic and traditional medicine supports the pursuit of best possible outcomes for patients. NDs aim to improve quality of life, manage side effects, assist with healing, prevent recurrence, and give instructions for a healthy lifestyle.

What is cancer care?

Naturopathy is an integrative system of healing that revolves around stimulating and supporting the body's own ability to heal itself. Naturopathic medicine is known to take a holistic approach towards healing, meaning that it focuses on the entire body as a whole, rather than on just the illness. 

Naturopathic cancer treatment can help with reducing chemotherapy side effects, weight management, immune health, and anti-cancer therapies. The side-effects of chemotherapy may have a very negative influence on your wellbeing. Frequent side-effects like nausea, diarrhea, nerve damage, and cognitive impairment can be treated simultaneously by a Naturopathic Doctor. Maintaining weight and reducing cancer-induced weight loss improves outcomes in most cancer types, which can be achieved through diet, supplementation, and especially prescribed nutrients.

Naturopathic Doctors offer a complementary approach to cancer care, with significant evidence supporting therapies that reduce the side effects of chemotherapy, increase the impact of chemotherapy, and enhance quality and length of life.

This form of medicine is about supporting immune function, getting barriers from the way, offering the body what it needs to return to homeostasis, have regular cell communication, have a disease-free equilibrium.

Naturopathic support may be helpful for many side effects, including digestive issues, swallowing, sleep disturbances, and fatigue. The body is continually trying to correct itself, and naturopathic medicine works within this principle. Nutrition, acupuncture, botanical herbs - they could jointly make a massive difference to a patient's results, as well as their day to day experience with cancer.

Patients using Naturopathic cancer treatments consistently fare better, stay healthier longer, tolerate chemotherapy better. And, whatever some oncologists might say, there's the evidence behind those therapies. Even though such alternative therapies cannot cure cancer, they can, nevertheless, provide relief in dealing with the signs and symptoms of cancer. Furthermore, naturopathy can be holistic care for cancer patients. Let us take a look at some of these naturopathic cancer treatments and how effective they are in cancer care. 


See: Turmeric Curcumin Health Benefits & Side Effects

Naturopathic medicine view of cancer care

Naturopathic Doctors (NDs) trained in integrative cancer care can play an essential role in the support of individuals diagnosed with cancer through survivorship. They offer evidence-informed advice on safe and efficient use of natural and supportive therapies when combined with traditional therapy.

Combining naturopathic and traditional medicine supports the pursuit of best possible outcomes for patients. They aim to improve quality of life, manage side effects, assist with speed healing, prevent recurrence, and supply instructions for a healthy lifestyle. NDs offer support for side effects, common symptoms and chronic conditions patients experience during cancer therapy.

- Cancer treatment side effects: Fatigue, Pain, Mucositis, Nausea and Vomiting, Diarrhea or Constipation, Dermatitis, Peripheral Neuropathy.

- Common chronic conditions: Allergies, Stress, Autoimmune Conditions, Depression, Diabetes, Fatigue, Hypertension, Hyperlipidemia, Insomnia, Osteoarthritis,

- Pre-Postmenopausal Symptoms, Reflux Esophagitis.

This approach advocates for an integrative model of care, and is dedicated to advancing the science and application of naturopathic medicine within the discipline of standard cancer care and treatment.

Naturopathic Therapies in cancer treatment are beneficial for a variety of reasons:

· May be useful in minimizing the unwanted effects of conventional therapy. This is especially helpful in situations where side effects have the required dose or frequency of treatment to be decreased. We may have the ability to support you and maintain your therapy on track.

· Might be used to support your immune system whenever appropriate.

· May contain therapies or lifestyle changes that interfere with the growth or slow down the spread of cancer within the body.

· May make cancer more vulnerable to traditional treatments.

· May provide a noticeable improvement in the quality of life.

Some naturopathic therapies can have a negative interaction with some traditional treatments or medications. That's why it is essential to comprehend when not to use a particular naturopathic treatment, or when to correct it to have the intended effect.


See: Ovarian Cancer Sample Diet Plan Menu for a Day

Naturopathy treatment options for cancer symptoms

Naturopathic cancer care focuses on using integrative therapies and remedies for dealing with the side effects of cancer treatment. 

Herbs and supplements are said to help in alleviating side effects from cancer treatment. However, one needs to be careful about which herbs and supplements to take as many of these can interfere with your treatment. For example, St. John's wort, which is commonly used in the treatment of depression. Many people who have cancer tend to use St. John’s wort to get relief from the symptoms of depression and anxiety that follows a diagnosis of cancer. However, St. John’s wort can lead to certain anticancer medications to stop working as they should.[1]

Furthermore, antioxidant supplements such as vitamin C, vitamin E, selenium, and beta-carotene, are all known to interfere with how well your radiation therapy and chemotherapy works.[2] 

This is why it is only recommended to take naturopathic cancer treatment that is approved by your doctor. 

Here are some options that are safe and also smart to take while you undergo cancer treatment.

1. Ginger:

Ginger is helpful in naturopathic cancer care as it helps patients manage their nausea and vomiting that stems from chemotherapy. However, ginger can also thin out your blood, so do not take any ginger before surgery.[3] 

2. Zinc:

Zinc is another supplement that helps in cancer. It helps in preventing taste changes, which is a common side effect of chemotherapy, radiation, and certain pain medications as well.[4 ]

3. Astragalus:

Astragalus root has been used in traditional Chinese medicine for thousands of years to activate the body's immune system. Astragalus helps provide relief from the side effects of chemotherapy, including nausea and vomiting, especially if you are suffering from colorectal cancer. However, astragalus also stops some medications from working as they should. A study published in the Immunopharmacology journal in 1990 found that Astragalus extract injected in mice who were immunosuppressed due to radiation therapy and in normal mice led to an enhancement in the antibody response of the immunosuppressed mice.[5]

4. Glutamine:

Glutamine helps reduce the severity of two significant side effects from cancer treatment - that of peripheral neuropathy and mouth sores and soreness.[6] Peripheral neuropathy causes weakness, pain, or numbness in the hands and feet. However, more research is still required to firmly establish this.

5. Ginkgo Biloba: There have been many studies that have researched the benefits of Ginkgo Biloba in cancer. This native plant belonging to Asia is known to have many health benefits, including helping in memory disorders such as Alzheimer's disease. It also helps in boosting blood flow throughout the body. Ginkgo biloba is used as a dietary supplement by cancer patients of colorectal cancer. Early research has shown that using Ginkgo Biloba leaf extract intravenously in combination with other anticancer drugs can benefit people who have advanced colorectal cancer.[7] Another study [8] has also demonstrated that using ginkgo leaf extract for a period of six months can lower the risk of developing ovarian cancer in women. Ginkgo biloba can also help in pancreatic cancer when used together with other anticancer drugs to slow down the progression of cancer in some patients.[9]

6. American Ginseng: Another herb that is especially for cancer fatigue natural treatment is American ginseng. Many studies [10] have found that American ginseng can help you get relief from the crushing fatigue that is often associated with cancer and cancer treatments. American ginseng is also used to boost your immune system, so it is a good idea to include it as part of your naturopathy holistic approach to cancer care.


See: Yoga Nidra and Meditation benefits for cancer patients

Tai Chi and Qi Gong for Cancer Care

Tai chi and qi gong are also two movement-based exercises that are known to have healing properties. Both these naturopathy techniques originated in China and are believed to play a significant role in helping with cancer care. Both of these movement-based practices aim to move and balance the natural energies present within your body. They both also place a strong focus on meditation and breathing. 

Both these practices are known to help decrease the levels of stress, reduce pain, and also help improve a patient's mental health and mobility that may get affected due to cancer or cancer treatment. Many cancer patients also find that qi gong and tai chi are helpful during cancer treatment as they help decrease the side effects of chemotherapy or radiation therapy. 

Research from the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH) [11], has shown that practicing tai chi helps improve your mood and also the overall quality of your life. However, there are not that many studies that have been carried out that looks into the benefits of qi gong for cancer patients.

See: Health Benefits of Cupping for Cancer Side Effects

Summary

There are also many other ways of getting natural relief in cancer care. Cancer treatment is known to bring on lots of anxiety, stress, pain, nausea, and vomiting. Research over the years has found sufficient evidence to show that these naturopathic treatments for cancer care work. Furthermore, the biggest advantage of using these methods is that they are drug-free and do not have side effects of their own.  Apart from the naturopathy methods described above, many others can also help provide relief in cancer. These can include:

Massage - helps in getting relief from cancer pain, anxiety, cancer fatigue, and nausea.

Hypnosis - Helps ease anxiety, stress, physical pain, and even nausea. 

Guided imagery - A study has found that it helps improve the overall quality of life in women with breast cancer.[12 ]

Aromatherapy - Helps ease physical pain, nausea, and stress.


See: Top 7 Holistic Cancer Treatments and Therapies From A Naturopath

References

1. St John's wort | Complementary and Alternative therapy | Cancer Research UK. (2019). Retrieved 15 September 2019, from https://www.cancerresearchuk.org/about-cancer/cancer-in-general/treatment/complementary-alternative-therapies/individual-therapies/st-johns-wort

2. Yasueda, A., Urushima, H., & Ito, T. (2016). Efficacy and interaction of antioxidant supplements as adjuvant therapy in cancer treatment: a systematic review. Integrative cancer therapies, 15(1), 17-39.

3. Shukla, Y., & Singh, M. (2007). Cancer preventive properties of ginger: a brief review. Food and chemical toxicology, 45(5), 683-690.

4. Prasad, A. S., & Kucuk, O. (2002). Zinc in cancer prevention. Cancer and metastasis Reviews, 21(3-4), 291-295.

5. Zhao, K. S., Mancini, C., & Doria, G. (1990). Enhancement of the immune response in mice by Astragalus membranaceus extracts. Immunopharmacology, 20(3), 225-233.

6. Hensley, C. T., Wasti, A. T., & DeBerardinis, R. J. (2013). Glutamine and cancer: cell biology, physiology, and clinical opportunities. The Journal of clinical investigation, 123(9), 3678-3684.

7. Chen, X., & Zeng, L. (2018). Ginkgo biloba extract 761 enhances 5-fluorouracil chemosensitivity in colorectal cancer cells through regulation of high mobility group-box 3 expression. American journal of translational research, 10(6), 1773.

8. Ye, B., Aponte, M., Dai, Y., Li, L., Ho, M. C. D., Vitonis, A., ... & Cramer, D. W. (2007). Ginkgo biloba and ovarian cancer prevention: epidemiological and biological evidence. Cancer letters, 251(1), 43-52.

9. Hauns, B., Häring, B., Köhler, S., Mross, K., Robben-Bathe, P., & Unger, C. (1999). Phase II study with 5-fluorouracil and ginkgo biloba extract (GBE 761 ONC) in patients with pancreatic cancer. Arzneimittelforschung, 49(12), 1030-1034.

10. Thomas, G. B., Asher, G. N., & Mounsey, A. (2014). PURLs: Finally, a way to relieve cancer-related fatigue. The Journal of family practice, 63(5), 270.

11. Tai Chi and Qi Gong: In Depth. (2019). Retrieved 18 September 2019, from https://nccih.nih.gov/health/taichi/introduction.htm

12. Kolcaba, K., & Fox, C. (1999). The effects of guided imagery on comfort of women with early stage breast cancer undergoing radiation therapy. In Oncology Nursing Forum (Vol. 26, No. 1, pp. 67-72).

See: Acupuncture helps a Breast Cancer cope up with Side Effects

Get a Consultation
(650) 539-4545
Get more information via email