The integrative medicine approach to cancer.

Soup, Vegetables, Broccoli, Leek, Pepper

The remedies and natural approaches for cancer are growing day by day thanks to the epigenetics and development of nutrigenomics.

The industry of nutraceuticals is invading the whole world, since few years ago not everyone were agree or interested to this type of natural healing as much as the field of integrative medicine and naturopathy was already developed in country as US and in some States of Europe and in Asia.

Dr. Mark Stengler, naturopath and oncologist and expert in this field has written several books on cancer and related natural remedies.

One of his books,” Outside The Box Cancer Therapies” written in cooperation with Dr. Paul Anderson, oncologist and naturopath as well, describes the main theories,  root causes and ways through cancer develops, stages and cellular growth mechanisms, and the different conventional therapies and cases analyzed and solved, more than these the variety of natural ailments, type of diet and protocols for preventing cancer and overcoming the terrible side effects that derives from chemotherapy and radiations and reducing the recurrences.

There are three major theories for the development of cancer under their definition: genetics, cells design mechanisms and metabolism.

The genetic theory is the most recognized and based on balance between the oncogenes and the genes suppressors. Despite the human genome study there are still wonders and not clear understanding and the research is continuing to expand in search of the truth and miracle therapies to defeat this terrible world’s disease of the century.

That’s why for these doctors more important is to keep under control things that can cause cancer like carcinogens; the prevention is still an important step to avoid diseases as cancer and not simply that.

The cell design theory is also called trophoblastic theory or stem cell theory. The trophoblastic theory is very similar to the modern stem cell theory, this propose that cells involved in production of placenta may receive a signal to become cancerous.

The stem cell theory suggests that some stem cells start to reproduce to support the cancer reproduction that without this support could not survive for any longer, this means that cancer cells can come out from normal stem cells.

It seems that this theory has been recently validated from publications.

The metabolic theory is the one that imply cellular energy dysfunction due to mitochondrial damage and that affects the genome and so the development of a cancer; this theory seems to have significant implications for treatment and prevention.

The doctors then analyze the different factors and triggers like for example: age, alcohol use, tobaccos, UV rays, aflatoxins, arsenic, formaldehyde, nickel compounds, indoor emissions and so on.

More reasons for the authors of this book are chronic inflammation and diet, obesity, radiations, all type of, very damaging for the DNA, immunosuppression, infectious agents.

They then discuss other important steps and parts of a cancer process and progression, they talk about the different approaches between conventional and integrative medicine, terms of cure, prognosis and remissions, and survivorship; here is where they introduce how important is for integrative medicine to focus on the quality of life of a patient.

But they also make sure to test that integrative doctors recommend the same diagnostic tests for the diagnosis of a cancer, stage and grade; in addition, the type of diagnostic tests will depend on person’s age, medical conditions, suspected type pf cancer, type of symptoms and result of other lab tests.

They also enlist the variety of diagnostic tests for cancer and outside the box methods precising that not all of these may be appropriate for everyone.

The conventional medicine is reductive for the integrative medicine with the evaluation of a case, its approach can be effective with cases of early stage of a cancer because this medicine allows to detect the problem and to destroy the growth immediately, but in cases more complex becomes necessary to look at the whole picture and causes so as the principle of natural medicine teaches, and to believe in the healing power of  the body and positive attitude of a person. The support is very important for this type of medicine to the patient.

Detoxification is a very important step for integrative doctors and especially after treatments like radiation and chemotherapy, all the waste accumulated in body are the cause of the multiple side effects, like headaches, fatigue, nausea, joint and muscle pain, and more.

The purpose is to easy and relieve the symptoms and to support the immune system; successively these doctors start to go deep down the history of a patient to figure out causes to address the right therapy and plans to follow.

They start to check imbalances in body, they test for heavy metals, for example, or they search for any type of toxins, or for hormone imbalance, they address deficiency and establish an appropriate diet, and they look at microbiome and gut health.

The most of us connected to the scientific world knows that the 70% of our immune system resides in the gut, and we all can imagine how important this functionality is for the development of a cancer, the doctors consider in regard of this the many factor that can alter the intestinal barrier and so the constitution of the microbiome and possibility of get sick or of healing. Among these factors they recognize nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, alcohol, milk intolerance, diet high in carbs and fats, SIBO, digestive enzymes deficiency, intestinal infections and inflammation, stress, nutrient deficiency.

They analyze the toxins connection which is fundamental for the process of detoxification to individualize the right antidotes and treatment for the case.

The main tools of this medicine are nutritional supplements, homeopathy, herbal therapy, clinical nutrition, counseling, chiropractor, physiotherapy and massage, intravenous and injections therapies, acupuncture and bioidentical hormones.

Stress, of course is an important factor to keep under control with cancer. Holistic methods can for sure reduce the side effects of chemo and radio therapy.

They also discuss the variety of conventional therapies included the most recent one like use of vaccines, stem cell transplants, photodynamic therapy and laser therapy, these last two can be applied only to some type of cancers.

Nutrition is critically important for Dr. Stengler and Dr. Anderson to fight cancer, and we know how important is to prevent diseases in general, the food we eat can have an impact on our genes and turn on or off important functions or bad genes and this is what epigenetics studies and what the methylation process can affect.

There is already evidence of the beneficial effects of some type of foods and healthy diet for preventing cancer and the medical community totally agrees with this.

Both these doctors generally agree with National Cancer Institute and American Cancer Society in regard of a low inflammatory diet, as the Mediterranean Diet based on fibers as legumes, fruit and vegetables, low  amount of healthy grains, seafood, low amounts of good quality proteins and lean meat, and healthy fats as omega 3 and extra vergine oil of olive, and, of course, with the avoidance of trans and saturated fats, refined sugars and processed foods, red meat and alcohol, deep fried foods, grilled or barbequed meat, and minimization of dairy products, and soda drinks.

Sugar is, as we know, the worse trigger for cancer and the doctors dedicate a whole chapter explaining the biochemical process and pathways that influence the development and connection with insulin resistance and hormonal grown factors and implications with colorectal cancer.

“The ketogenic diet also seems to be of help since research has shown that most tumor cells are unable to use ketone bodies for energy production due to changes in their mitochondria structure, this results in metabolic stress for the tumor cells and creates an anticancer effect, ketones are toxic to some cancer cells”.

This is what the doctors tests in regard of ketogenic diet and its effects on cancer.

Intermitting fasting is also essential to starve the cancer cells and to heal and detoxify the body, this is a typical step of any integrative process of healing today, but not everyone is capable to accomplish.

To be continued

Thanks for reading

Mariarosaria M.


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