For most people, the greater the expense or the deeper the commitment, the more effort is spent weighing all the options available before making a decision.
Should it be any different when someone is diagnosed with breast cancer?
While you’re probably familiar with the mainstream treatment methods for breast cancer (e.g. surgery, radiation, chemotherapy or hormone therapies), would you feel comfortable knowing that there were options available to you that your doctor never brought to your attention?
Here’s where it can pay to see a board-certified naturopathic oncologist or Fellow of the American Board of Naturopathic Oncology (FABNO).
Why See a Naturopathic Oncologist?
Consulting a naturopathic oncologist before you begin conventional treatment can ensure that you have access to the full range of tools needed to navigate a breast cancer diagnosis as successfully as possible.
Cancer is a very complex condition. Two people who share a “similar” diagnosis may be very different as far as what treatments will be most effective, what complications could develop, the steps needed to facilitate recovery, their risk of recurrence and so on.
A visit with a FABNO can empower you by giving you a thorough understanding of your disease, along with your potential treatment options. You may be able to understand your condition more clearly or from a different point of view and will be able to discuss any questions or concerns you have before you have committed to any specific plan.
Making educated decisions will lead to more confidence in building a medical team and help the person with cancer feel more involved in her own care, whereas it’s easy to feel like a bystander when the patient becomes simply assigned to a team.
Additionally, while conventional treatments excel at actually killing cancer, naturopathic treatments focus on something that many conventional treatment plans don’t: providing support to maintain health while undergoing treatment.
Why Think About Support?
While the end goal of cancer treatment, in usual circumstances, is to kill the cancer, this has to be done in a living, breathing person.
Any treatment designed to kill something in the body, even something very specific, carries with it the potential to cause damage to the body on a larger scale. That’s why many highly effective cancer treatments cause side-effects – some expected and some unique to the individual.
For that reason, the other side of treatment, supporting the health of the person with cancer, may be just as important as treating the disease itself.
Naturopathic oncologists are knowledgeable about the principles and practice of oncology as a whole as well as the mechanisms of action, timing and thought processes behind conventional treatments; further, they are the most highly-trained providers on integrating the use of natural therapies to support the health of the patient.
The more the health of the patient is supported, the less likely she may require “treatment holidays” from chemotherapy, which of course may decrease the efficacy of such treatments.
If conventional therapies are not an option for the patient because of intolerance or patient choice, naturopathic oncologists may provide alternative or functional treatment options in either situation.
The best way to discover the specific options a naturopathic oncologist can bring to breast cancer care is to schedule a consultation with one; an option that is now available here in Flagstaff. As always, treatment options will vary and must be based on an individual’s circumstances.
If you or someone you know is managing a breast cancer diagnosis, wouldn’t it make sense to build the strongest, most well-rounded team possible? That team isn’t complete without a naturopathic oncologist on board. FBN
By Dan Rubin, ND, FABNO
Dan Rubin, ND, FABNO, is founding president of the Oncology Association of Naturopathic Physicians. He is the co-founder of Aspen Integrative Medical Center in Flagstaff and medical director of Naturopathic Specialists, LLC, in Scottsdale.
For additional information or to schedule an appointment with a member of the oncology team at Aspen Integrative Medical Center, LLC, visit our website at aspenmedcenter.com or call 928-213-5828. Aspen Integrative Medical Center, LLC, is located at 323 N Leroux St Suite B, Flagstaff, AZ 86001.