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Why every cancer patient should also have a functional and Integrative doctor on board.

Today we know the number one risk for nearly all cancers is poor lifestyle and nutrition.
Today we know that the number one risk for nearly all cancers is poor lifestyle and nutrition. While most cancer is preventable the million dollar question therefore is does this actually mean you can also reverse cancer and prevent it from growing with the same approach? Looking through the science and practice of medicine this does appear to be the case as we enter a new realm of Integrative Cancer therapy.

  1. Many studies show cancer-killing potential and prevention is feasible via the use of specific nutraceuticals and antioxidants, for example, EGCG, which is catechin polyphenol (antioxidant) in green tea, Curcumin from Turmeric extract, I3C or DIM (Diindolymethane) and higher doses of Ginger. The use of these have human studies showing they may halt cancer.
  2. For example, 2 grams of Curcumin extract decreased precancerous polyps in the colon, and high uptake in over cancer cells inhibited their proliferation. Multiple cases of patients who have taken advantage of such an anti-inflammatory lifestyle and supplementation end up having a higher chance of beating cancer, more prolonged survival, and improved quality of life.*

    *Mansouri K, Rasoulpoor S, Daneshkhah A, et al. Clinical effects of curcumin in enhancing cancer therapy: A systematic review. BMC Cancer. 2020;20(1):791. Published 2020 Aug 24. doi:10.1186/s12885-020-07256-8
  3. Patients who develop cancers often have a cause that can be addressed if paying close attention. For example, a Lymphoma known as anaplastic large cell lymphoma (ALCL), a nasty and aggressive form of cancer not responsive to chemotherapy, typically goes into remission only once breast implants are removed. 

    This shows the paradigm of necessitating treatment in all cancer subjects may not be necessary; rather, uncovering the toxic causes and removing them. Cancers can be traced back to environmental toxins and heavy metals in many instances where detoxification from them can be part of the best treatments. For example, blood cancers like Leukemia is known to be related to benzene exposure.

    These products are found in plastics, resins, nylon, and synthetic fibers. According to the CDC, benzene is also used to make some types of lubricants, rubbers, dyes, detergents, drugs, and pesticides. Testing these and addressing their removal may be critical to a healthy recovery.
  4. Medical nutrition has been documented to help cancer patients, from best-selling books to full-on physician specialties dedicated to healing people from within. Starting with the microbiome, we can reduce gastrointestinal inflammation, which feeds cancer (think blood sugar feeds cancer growth).

    Most diseases we learn often start in the gut due to the toxins and processed foods causing harmful organisms to grow and inflammation to migrate into the blood circulation, wreaking havoc. The liver also may be sub-optimally functioning from a poor diet.

    For example, it is responsible for breaking down toxins like the hormones in our body. Imagine how many hormone-related cancers may be aided by efficiently removing hormone metabolites that should generally be excreted through a functional liver.

    The liver is also responsible for some of the essential antioxidants. Glutathione, for example, is a tri-peptide made in the liver that helps fight off harmful effects of environmental toxins, mold, and heavy metals and ensures we excrete byproducts of our metabolism. We now have ways of measuring this today and diets/detoxification protocols that can increase liver efficiency, indirectly removing cancer ‘triggers.’

What can be done?

Find physicians trained in not only disease management, but can target the root cause of them as step 1. Many cancers cannot be detected through current screening paradigms. These physicians will monitor levels of inflammation, organ system function, and decide on early testing which may catch cancer earlier when much more can be done.

This may be a tremendous complement to our current guidelines that primary care physicians use for age appropriate screening. This may also lower cancer spread and inflammation through optimizing nutrition.

Boost the body's immune system. This is probably the most forgotten aspect of cancer therapy. Not solely going after cancer with harsh medications and their side effects but stimulating the bodies own intelligent immune system to better recognize and kill it from within. This may often be the difference in survival and recovery we need while also giving chemo the best chances of being effective along if warranted.

Lastly, incredible new therapies such as LDN and IV antioxidants like Alpha Lipoic Acid, Ascorbate and others are rapidly growing in research as effective and safe ways of targeting cancer growth. These have been shown effective in several smaller trials ranging across different types of cancer by promoting a toxic environment for them to thrive in and lowering inflammation which causes them to spread while removing damaged cells. Each year we are making fantastic strides in improving cancer outcomes, this aspect must not go unnoticed and soon may be the standard of care should integrative oncology be accepted everywhere.

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