Complementary Therapies Have A Place In Cancer Protocols
I am a Holistic Nutritionist, a certified Professional Cancer Coach, and a breast cancer survivor. I used the medical path and the alternative path to treat my breast cancer. So going toe-to-toe with the medical profession is not a road I wish to travel. But every once in a while I read an article that points my inner compass in that direction.
Recently I read an article “Yet another woman with breast cancer lured into quackery by Ty Bollinger and “holistic” medicine advocates” by David Gorski, a surgeon who publishes under the name ORAC. He takes aim at Ty Bollinger and the film series he created called "The Truth About Cancer". I am not going to speak to this aspect of his prose. Rather my issue is with his broad-brush swipe of alternative therapies painting a negative hue on their validity in cancer care. I cannot vouch for all holistic practitioners, only for those in the circle in which I practice. We look to oncologists as primary care and offer research-based adjuvant therapies to support medical treatment. Examples include acupuncture for pain management, supplements to reduce various side effects of medical treatment (e.g., glutamine to reduce the severity and duration of stomatitis), and lifestyle strategies such as meditation to mitigate the stressors of a cancer diagnosis and to positively influence cortisol and blood pressure levels.
Our goal is to work with the medical team to offer the best overall protocol for cancer patients. Gorski offers no place for complementary therapies in cancer care as noted in this excerpt:
“Irritatingly, though, both used the example of… to promote their “integrative oncology” programs—and regular readers know that both Case Western Reserve University and the Cleveland Clinic are heavily into “complementary and alternative medicine” (CAM) and “integrative” medicine and that both are very active at “integrating” quackery with conventional medicine”.