Cancer Care Using Integrative Therapies

Cancer Care Using Integrative Therapies as Adjunctive Treatments
TCVM or Traditional Chinese Veterinary Medicine, Naturopathic and Ayurvedic Medicine observes the whole patient as being one of organ systems “talking” to each other via neuro-humoral (some call it spiritual or auric field) responses. When deficiencies or over activity is observed that particular organ system is worked upon to “balance it” using foods, herbs, and body work therapy tonify or invigorate that system, or to relieve and remove blockages so that the inner force (read: lymph, blood, vascular or muscle tension) can work more efficiently. This form of medicine focuses on building the body from a deficient state to a more vital force. This is somewhat dissimilar to Western Medicine, where the focus is on the ‘war with cancer” or finding the cancer and cutting, burning or destroying that part of the body.
It is very promising that the future of medicine will encorporate both systems, enabling a more powerful form of medicine to emerge.
When viewing the animal that has developed a cancer, a wholistic therapist observes which systems are “weak” and focus the therapies to strengthen that part, encouraging a stronger “whole” to develop. From a scientific nutritional analysis point of view blood analysis for biochemistry, electrolytes and biopsies including hair analysis for heavy metals and toxins can be performed. In TCVM terms systems are organised for mathematical clarity using a 5 (five) element procedure. This does require further study, just as one would first study basic arithmetic before enrolling in a calculus subject in order to understand mathematical equations. A basic understanding can be described in several minutes, however, it may take a lifetime to perfect these skills! This should not discourage one from incorporating some of the principles of health care that can and should achieve good results.
This is the “art” behind the science of integrative medicine.
Years of study can delve into the science, and the internet is a highway tool to discover the wealth of PhD students allocating global time into researching WHY the basic rule of health care: clean living, exercise, and good food works best.

Naturopathic Medicine is an Integrative Choice


Because it works, aims to build and restore function of the body, is based on Wholesome medical theory, and is generally without negative side effects delivered by qualified people in their respective fields.  Treating and restoring health using Integrative modalities may be the answer for patients to turn the corner back to health for many chronic health conditions.

Respect for these healthcare workers is appropriate, as there are often no other answers for many chronic, degenerative and hopeless cases presented to holistic practitioners.

Naturopaths, Acupuncturists, Remedial Massage therapists, Nutritionists, Chiropractors, Herbalists and Natural Healers have usually undergone extensive training in their chosen field. Check with the registration authorities and relevant certifying associations, such as ANTA (Australian Natural Therapists Association) who ensure their practitioners undergo regular Continuing Education and are registered Professional Practitioners. Phone your local certifying Colleges to find out which body are the current registration bodies.

Please ask your doctor or primary physician for a referral to an Integrative Practitioner if you seek quality Complementary Care. We can, and recommend working with your General Practitioner. This is appropriate, and if they say “I don’t believe in them” perhaps consider changing Doctors, because it is NOT about their belief, it is about  YOUR body, YOUR life.  What I have found is that many doctors (GP’s) seek alternate care when they are finally faced with life and death decisions personally, because at that cross roads they realise that they do not have all the answers. This is even after years of their criticizing Alternative Health Care providers!  Some even go so far as studying acupuncture after they personally have experienced its benefits.

It is unfortunate that some standard Western Medical Doctors really have no clue when it comes to natural medicine– they do not understand what these modalities are, or how helpful they can be. It is actually somewhat embarrassing  to read their uneducated reviews that ridicule these professional fields, as they display such ignorance apparent when they confuse spelling, terminology and definitions of holistic therapies.  The most common mistake I read in my histories received from other medical professionals is “this patient is receiving homeopathy from their primary practitioner”.  Obviously their interpretation is Holistic= don’t understand=must be homeopathy=this is water and doesn’t work!  No folks, read a Wikipedia definition at least! Homeopathy is not the same as Holistic Medicine; Homeopathy is a particular branch of Holistic Medicine, and unless you have studied 4 years of Homeopathic Medicine you are not qualified to make any statement about this form of Medicine.

This is perhaps why the term Integrative therapies is a more acceptable term than Holistic, you think standard practitioners might understand that? Well, we are seeing a positive answer to this–sometimes. My guess is that eventually most practices that are “Medical” will eventually have several “Alternative” or “Complementary” Therapists on board.  We live in hope.

Complementary and Holistic Medicine is occasionally on the receiving end of verbal abuse by a small group of Skeptics . This is unfortunate as the public may be persuaded by this group of essentially naive and uneducated (at least in the modalities that they are choosing to ridicule) vociferous few.  Their standard catch cry is that there is “No Evidence”. This is a lie.

We all agree with   EBM (Evidence Based Medicine) studies. It is, however, incorrect to state that Holistic Therapies are without EBM studies.  Scientific “discussions” centre on the fact that they ignore  levels  of EBM already in place with most of the Complementary Therapies. Case studies, literature reviews and even double blind placebo control studies exist. It is easy to set up this straw man and fool the public, if the public doesn’t know how to refute this basic fact.  One needs to know how to research and look, and where to go for this information. Pub Med Entrez is a great source. Google that and put in specifics in their search engine.
Herbal medicine, for instance, has data supporting Essiac in its entire formula (via PubMed  Oct 2005 a prostatic cancer patient was cured)*and the  individual components of eg Burdock root (Arctigenin etc) have many scientific articles reviewed on this and its antiinflammatory, anticarcinogenic effects.

Acupuncture articles cited in a pubmed entrez review numbered over 5,000.

The Skeptics choose to ignore this. Their bias in reviewing the articles is sincere but inaccurate. For instance the review of the article on acupuncture and placebo for Rx osteoarthritis –reached an  incorrect conclusion, that there was no difference between the sham and acupuncture group.  This was interpreted  that acupuncture did not work. In fact the article
showed that the myofascial relief was significant in both cases and that there is no such thing as placebo acupuncture!  Sticking a needle in an area that is NOT  a specific recognized acupuncture point might just mean that this is a new acupuncture point.

In Veterinary medicine we have many EBM’s of the lower levels, eg case histories etc. and we
are constantly given chronic cases for which traditional western medicine has no answers. We can also cite many level 2 (other species–eg humans!). This is not even to mention the double
standards that are imposed on our specialities, when most of the medicine practiced in a vet clinic using so called allopathy is really of a low level of EBM indeed. Some drug therapies commonly used in Veterinary practices have not had decent clinical trials at all! Vetmedin, for instance, known to kill people, came to us after clinical trials of only 6 dogs.  It has, over the years, been shown to be very useful in the longer term management of cardiac disease.

In conclusion I think its time we all worked together on publishing more about Holistic Modalities and that standard Western Practitioners embrace Holistic methods by referring to qualified practitioners as part of their Integrative Medicine.

*Can J Urol. 2005 Oct;12(5):2841-2.

Remission of hormone-refractory prostate cancer attributed to Essiac.


Division of Urology, The Princess Margaret Hospital, University of Toronto, Toronto, Ontario, Canada.


Essiac is a popular complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) that is utilized by many cancer patients in North America. Much anecdotal reporting exists about its cancer-fighting qualities, but so far no clinical trials have been preformed to validate those claims. We describe here the case of a 64-year-old man whose hormone-refractory prostate cancer responded well to Essiac tea.