Written by Dr. Mark Fontes, ND – Insight Naturopathic Clinic 

After speaking with three of my patient’s oncologists over the past week, I came to the realization that – after a few pleasantries – I had started each conversation the same way and then it was time to get down to business.

One thing that is often misinterpreted by many oncologists and general practitioners is the “alternative medicine” concept that is often associated with what we do. But Naturopathic Cancer Care isn’t an either/or situation. It’s AND.

The terms “integrative”, “complimentary”, or “alternative medicine” can mean many different things to doctors and are very much open to interpretation and personal experience. Unfortunately, Naturopathic Medicine in cancer care seems to get caught up in the “alternative medicine” category. This can’t be further from the truth.

I speak to these doctors about us being a part of the patient’s healthcare team. We support patients during all aspects of conventional treatment (surgery, radiation therapy, chemotherapy, immunotherapy, etc) in order to help reduce side effects, improve quality of life outcomes (sleep, pain, stress) and improve the efficacy of treatment. Naturopathic medicine then has a significant role in aiding the body in recovering from treatment, addressing any lingering side effects and organizing a plan that will prevent recurrence in combination with what is prescribed from the patient’s oncologist.

This is then typically followed by a series of questions around research for our recommendations
– which, thankfully, there is more and more to share alongside comments from my own clinical experience.

We can then get on the same page and share the common goal of optimal patient care.

It’s not either/or. It’s and.