April is Cancer awareness month, and we have a couple of cancer-related events coming up – a free public talk on safe alternative cancer care, as well as a live event with environmental medicine expert Dr. Walter Crinnion at the Gayety Theatre in Collingwood.
I thought I’d share one of our recent newspaper articles on safely navigating the confusing waters of cancer care.
Speaking Up About Your Alternative Cancer Care
By Lia Sonnenburg, ND & Tara Gignac, ND
Nearly one half of cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy or radiation treatment are also using some type of complementary or alternative treatment as well.
It’s not a surprising statistic. A cancer diagnosis can be a frightening experience, and the journey through care can be no less harrowing. An option that provides help, hope and a sense of control can be a welcome option.
What you might find more surprising, though, is that the majority of those patients—some 75%—don’t tell their oncologist about their other care.
Why Patients Don’t Tell
Many patients report that their oncologist’s default response to alternatives is, “No.” It’s discouraging for patients, but it’s not unreasonable. Oncologists aren’t trained in how alternative treatments work or how they might interact or interfere with conventional care. The safe answer is to manage that risk by confining care to what they know best.
But patients want to default to yes. People want to do everything they can to heal and survive. So they take the supplement from the friend of a friend, and they don’t tell their oncologist because they don’t want to be told no.
Who To Tell
Many alternative cancer therapies are supported by great research, both inside and outside of conventional settings. Others are not. And some can be harmful to conventional treatment protocols. Knowing the difference takes more than a Google search. Going it alone is not a safe option.
Consider sharing both with your oncologist, and with a health care professional familiar with alternatives to make sure you get the best care possible.
If you or someone you know is confused by their care, or overwhelmed by their choices, you can attend our free session on March 30th at the clinic, or call 705-444-5331 to book a complimentary 15-minute appointment with a Collingwood naturopath. We’ll be happy to answer all your questions.