When Your Oncologist Says “No”

A cancer diagnosis can be overwhelming. On top of the stress and worry is a near-endless supply of internet advice, and tips from well-meaning friends and family. Almost everyone seems to have a story about how the chemo killed Joe’s sister’s, brother, or how some natural product saved the day.

A large percentage of patients explore alternatives, doing their best to sort through the stories, rumours, and research. When they feel they’ve found a solution, however, they check with their oncologist only to be told “no” because the treatment doesn’t work, or worse yet, it will interfere with their current treatment.

Sometimes the oncologist is right. There are many ineffective approaches, and many other powerful ones that will indeed interfere with conventional tools.

But sometimes the oncologist is wrong, too.

This isn’t for lack of knowledge, mind you, but lack of specialized knowledge. Oncologists know their tools and how they work; they don’t necessarily know the research around alternative and complementary approaches. That makes it far easier to say, “Don’t do anything,” than to dig through the evidence. They are simply erring on the side of being cautious.

There are two problems with this, and they’re big ones:

  1. The patient decides to engage in “alternative medicine” for cancer treatment without telling their oncologist. If they are getting their advice solely from Dr. Google or their neighbour’s cousin, it really could be interfering with their conventional therapy. Cowboy cancer care is risky.
  2. The patient doesn’t engage and misses the real benefit of complementary therapies which, when applied properly, can increase quality of life, decrease side-effects, increase the efficacy of conventional care plans and/or prolong life in conjunction with conventional care plans.

What to do?

The Ottawa Integrative Cancer Centre, or OICC, is a not-for-profit regional centre of the Canadian College of Naturopathic Medicine. It’s a registered charity providing education and research in naturopathic and complementary medicine since 1978.

They have put together research monographs for some of the best studied complementary cancer treatments. These are easy to read and are in patient-centered and doctor-centered formats. Patients can do their own reading, but they can also share research with oncologists who simply won’t have the time to go digging for it.

Knowledge is power. As our patients who are dealing with cancer know, the more information that they have to feel strong and centered in the treatment plan they choose, the better their outcomes can be.

StoneTree Clinic is happy to have Dr. Ehab Mohammed, ND on our team. Dr. Ehab brings with him over 20 years as an oncologist and researcher at the University of Cairo. In his new career as a naturopathic doctor here in Canada, he employs the best evidence to use complementary therapies in conjunction with conventional care plans to maximize treatment efficacy while minimizing treatment side-effects. You can book a free appointment to have all your questions answered here.

 

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