We recently asked Dr. Kiana Ruch to do an AMA on cancer care through the lens of naturopathic and integrative medicine, and here’s what she had to say.
Oh, and if you didn’t catch our introductions to cancer care at MIMC–we’ve linked them below!
Q: What is the difference between integrative and palliative care?
A: Integrative care supports patient health and well being throughout their cancer journey. Some things that I’m always asking patients, are they sleeping? Are they pooping? Are they eating? How is their energy and how are they doing emotionally? Those things are all really important throughout cancer care. But sometimes, you know, cancer care can be palliative care even with integrative medicine and you’re supporting patients through end of life, making sure that their families and themselves are comfortable and well supported.
Q: What are some good IVs for cancer care?
A: Moderate doses of vitamin C, calcium gluconate and magnesium can be useful in most solid tumors helps to improve the efficacy of chemotherapy and improves fatigue related to those treatments in blood cancers, egcg can be useful as well if labs are stable. Also A L A can be really useful for treating some of the neuropathy associated with chemotherapy and getting nerves back to a healthy condition.
RELATED: Integrative Cancer Care Part One
Q: is how you treat cancer different than chemo?
A: The only way to treat cancer is by standard of care. And that means following the advice of your medical oncologist, sometimes that’s surgery, sometimes it’s chemotherapy radiation or even immunotherapy. That being said, there’s lots of good options for adjunctive care in the form of IV therapy, herbs, even homeopathic that can help to reduce some of the symptoms and make chemotherapy and other treatments work better. But again, it’s all important to collaborate with the medical oncologist to make sure we’re all on the same page.
Q: What are some cancers you cannot treat?
A: Teratoma, these are usually germ cell tumors and the only way to treat them is by surgically removing them.
Q: What are some great cancer preventative measures
A: Cleaning up the environment and identifying and eliminating toxins and endocrine disruptors that lead to cancer developing is the basis for health and cancer care. Knowing your family history can also be really important in terms of prevention. So genetic testing can help patients get earlier screenings earlier diagnosis too in cases of familial history. As far as lifestyle things you can be doing today, drink filtered water, limit your stress, avoid charred meat and make sure you’re eating a healthy diet and getting regular exercise.
Q: What might your recommend that my oncologist won’t?
A: Nutrient testing and evidence based IV therapies can be really useful to enhance the efficacy of chemotherapy. I’m also a big fan of herbs that will support your energy levels throughout treatment that aren’t going to impact hormones and hormone sensitive cancers. Another thing we use a lot is modified. Citrus pectin helps to bind to tumor cells and limits metastasis around surgeries.
Q: My dad already takes a lot of pills/medications–would you add more?
A: Not necessarily, a lot of symptoms can be managed just through diet alone. And there’s other options for delivery method than capsules or tablets. There’s things that are liquids, solid extracts that are actually contained in honey. There’s also injections available for certain treatments like viscal extract, also known as mistletoe.
RELATED: Integrative Cancer Care Part Two
Q: Will my oncologist agree with your recommendations?
A: Standard of care is extremely important. All patients should follow standard of care from their medical oncologist. If there is something we’re suggesting, I’m happy to reach out to medical oncologists and make sure we’re all in alignment with the treatment plan so that we can take the best care of the patient.
Q: When is the best time to reach out to MIMC?
A: As soon as possible, that way we can take the best care of you and make sure that your symptoms are under control during your chemotherapy or radiation.