Integrated and Integrative Cancer Care is the emerging new model in cancer which places the patient at the center of the medical oncology model involving them in the decision making process on the best tools and approaches available if this is an area which is important to the patient. The focus is not only on the tumor, cancer, cancerous or haematological process within the body but also focuses on the mind, spirit, immune system, inflammatory state, and the general health of the rest of the body. This approach respects that illness, specifically cancer, can be multi-factorial with multiple causes or factors in which the goal of integrated cancer care is to address these whenever possible. While treatment approaches such as surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation may be integral in your care, there is also an important emphasis on diet, nutrition, physical activity, mental-welling being, select natural health medicines, along with the diverse treatment options that exist in other healthcare modalities that include but are not limited to naturopathic medicine, traditional Chinese medicine, and massage therapy just to name a few.
The goal is to empower people, enhance quality of life, and improve survival. This model can be safely incorporated at any stage of a cancer treatment program ( i.e. before, during, or after)
There is a growing body of evidence that both survival and quality of life can be enhanced by this approach. For example, patients with stage IV lung cancer who incorporated herbs & vitamins along with either chemotherapy or radiation managed to live 14 times longer at 2 and 5 years as compared to those who did not (figure A & B). A similar trend was also demonstrated in colon cancer. In metastatic breast cancer, survival was approximately double using an integrated cancer care model as compared to the standard population. Other examples involving such areas as yoga and acupuncture have helped with fatigue, anxiety, and hot flashes. The lists are growing and rapidly especially during the last 5 years.
Lung cancer stage IV survival, showing all possible treatment combinations using natural health products (PAM+V) with and without Chemotherapy
Unfortunately, not all of the more conventional oncology community is open to this model of cancer care which is why there may be levels of confusion a person with cancer may feel when consulting their oncology team for advice in this area and especially during treatment(s).
It is important, whenever possible, that experts in this area of integrated cancer care should be consulted for a clear and concise opinion on how to best integrate any of the above approaches. Moreover, we have observed that it can be equally important that a person has confidence with their oncology team. At LEMMO Integrated Cancer Care Inc., we have been providing a high level of such care since 2004.
To learn more about the role of naturopathic medicine in integrated cancer care, please see the below video.