While oncologist and researchers have done their very best through the years, this disease unfortunately continues to baffle and outsmart the brightest minds on the planet. Fortunately, when we delve into ways to support the whole individual, we can see that there is often more that can be done to try to improve quality and quantity of life.
Hippocrates said, “let food be thy medicine” and like many other disease’s cancer is no exception to this provision. Certain cancers have upregulated insulin receptors called IGF-1, which allows them to grow more rapidly with the ingestion of carbohydrates, sugars and even fruits. It’s important to know that diet does impact your risk of getting cancer and often affects survival rates for those that have cancer. Studies also indicate that eating on a certain time schedule around chemotherapy has a positive impact on outcomes. By simply modifying the time in which we eat around treatment we may be able to increase the chance that chemotherapy is effective.
Vitamins, supplements and herbs can impact the immune system and sometimes cancer itself. Many nutrients have also been shown in research to enhance quality of life by reducing the side effects of conventional treatment. Caution must be taken however because many herbs, vitamins and supplements can interfere with conventional treatment such as chemotherapy and radiation. It is important to know what is safe to take and what must be avoided for any individual dealing with cancer.
The importance of a healthy mind and a good support system is also an overlooked but essential part of cancer care. Studies show individuals suffering from depression are not only more likely to get cancer, but also more likely to die from the disease if they get it. The brain is an underutilized tool in medicine yet something we probably have completely underestimated. Several studies have shown that meditation, prayer and guided imagery can improve quality of life, enhance disease free survival times and even reduce the risk of getting cancer. Mental and spiritual health should be optimized because we need every advantage possible in treating this disease.
Specialized testing can also help us in determining specific strategies to support an individual. Circulating tumor cells (CTC’s) can give us an earlier indication of the presence of disease as well as allow us to monitor treatments in place. R.G.C.C testing can help us determine the specific qualities of a cancer so that we can choose the most optimal treatment strategy. Hormone metabolite testing can help us determine if an individual might be more susceptible to getting a cancer such as breast cancer. Enhanced urine testing can help us determine if a person with prostate cancer is likely safe to continue in active surveillance or if more aggressive treatment should be employed sooner. Fortunately, many testing tools now exist to help us monitor and assess patients’ dealing with cancer.
Ultimately, I see our team at Pure North as experts in whole-person-health for any individual going through cancer or any individual wanting to reduce the risk of developing cancer. We are passionate about personalized care and passionate about getting results.
Dr. Nina Lewis-Larsson, Naturopathic Doctor