We had a whole class dedicated to Cancer treatment (naturopathically, of course) in my Clinical Nutrition class a couple of weeks ago. While we learned lots of potential ways to treat cancer, most NDs opt rather to treat the person and leave the actual cancer battling to the pros (i.e. oncologists). I am pretty sure I will follow the same route. Note: Treat the whole person is one of the naturopathic philosophies.
But what actually does treating the person rather than the cancer mean?
- Support the patient, immunologically. Boost the patient's immune system by supplementing vitamin D, adaptogenic herbs, zinc, ensuring adequate sleep and sleep hygiene, limiting immune decreasing substances (sugar, excess caffeine, etc), probiotics, etc.
- Support the patient, emotionally. Counseling, counseling, counseling! This is something that patients don't get enough of from the medical community (most likely because doctors and nurses don't have enough time). So the burden lies on the family, making the entire cancer treatment process extremely taxing emotionally for everyone involved. NDs can be a source of comfort to those undergoing treatment. Breath work, visualizations, and meditation may be helpful.
- Support the patient, physically. Ensure adequate calories! This is the number one goal while a patient undergoes treatment because the body needs to be strong and as healthy as possible to combat the sickening effects of treatment. The drugs are going to make patients weak, so we don't want them to feel even more weak from not eating. Even though patients are going to be nausea, vomiting, and have no desire to eat, they must to keep their body strong and well fed! As such, smoothies to the rescue! Smoothies are excellent ways to administer calories, especially when patients have no desire to eat. Pack as many fruits (especially berries) and greens into the smoothie for antioxidants and protective flavinoids, add tablespoons of olive and fish oil to boost calories and healthy fats, and some bananas and honey for sweetness.