Integrative Oncology

What is Integrative Oncology? 

According to the NCI (National Cancer Institute) definition from November, 2017:

“Integrative Oncology is a patient-centered, evidence- informed field of cancer care that utilizes mind and body practices, natural products and/or lifestyle modifications from different traditions, alongside conventional cancer treatments. Integrative Oncology aims to optimize health, quality of life and clinical outcomes across the cancer care continuum, and to empower people to prevent cancer and to become active before, during and beyond cancer treatment”.

The Integrative Oncology approach sees the patient as a whole, and tries to treat the entire aspects of health, body and spirit. “We don’t treat cancer, we treat the patient” is a common phrase you would hear a among doctors who practice integrative oncology. Hens, each and every patient is treated individually, according to the cancer problem, background conditions and general clinical status, and in many cases, patient’s sensitivities, emotional state and belief system.

The treatments combine conventional therapies together with natural ones using different methods and protocols, adjusted to each patient. All treatments are administered by medical doctors, and in many cases oncologists with background and experience in treating patients conventionally, who are now enhancing their treatments by using natural therapies.

The general assumption towards cancer is that the body has allowed it to evolve, due to a miscommunication between the body and the immune system. Everyone has cancer cells in their body all the time. However, an intact immune system knows to detect those cells on time and evacuate them from the body, before a tumor can be generated. But if the immune system is oppressed and the body is loaded with toxins, it cannot function well, hence disease can evolve and spread. Of course, toxins are not the only reason for a deteriorated immune system – there is also stress, environmental pollution (air, water, food, radiation, chemicals etc.), unbalanced lifestyle and more.

Dr. Rodriguez, medical director and owner of IBC Hospital in Tijuana, Mexico, explains why the approach of conventional medicine cannot be considered as the only route when talking about cancer treatments:

Integrative doctors say: Cancer does not just happen one day, a tumor takes a long time to generate.  We are not generally healthy and just “get cancer” all of a sudden. We have been sick for a while, our body was out of balance, our immune system was compromised, and all of those conditions have caused the development of cancer in our body. If you think about it, this is a rather encouraging statement – If there are pre-conditions to the formation of cancer in the body, it means that eliminating these conditions would help healing from the cancer problem. This vision forms an essential part of the integrative oncology approach strategy, and its tactics of treatment protocols.

“Cancer is not only a cancer cell”, says Dr. Rodriguez. “It is a systemic disease of our immunological organs, of our physiological performance. Many things happen in the body, that together create these abnormal cells and more importantly – tolerate them.” Meaning, our body allows cancer to happen, and does not stop it from spreading. “Trying to eliminate the cancer problem by removing the tumor over surgery does not solve the problem”, he continues. “We are far from solving the problem even after removing the tumor, as in many cases, after few months or years, we might discover that the cancer has spread to different organs”. To conclude his words, cancer is a systemic disease and should be addressed as such.

Many clinics and doctors who take after this approach to cancer and cancer healing have developed different treatment protocols along the years. Here are several examples of treatments and therapies given at the different clinics worldwide.

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