Looking Beyond the Academic Walls for Cancer Care

At the recent Society for Integrative Oncology meeting in Cleveland, Ohio, I had the opportunity as an invited lecturer, to sit in on many informative presentations. As I listened to these investigators, who have developed clinical therapy programs combining traditional chemotherapies with dietary, lifestyle and herbal remedies, I felt a sense of shared frustration. Here, after all, were dedicated therapists using available non-toxic interventions to improve outcomes, yet the major academic centers continue to turn a blind eye to their contributions. Instead they are required to meet stringent research criteria that those within conventional therapy might be unable to meet.

I then realized that cancer patients must step outside the confines of usual and customary referral patterns and treatment programs to obtain the best outcome for themselves. I was favorably impressed by the dedication of the many investigators and feel convinced that the application of natural products, supportive measures, dietary and lifestyle modifications, and the judicious use of chemotherapeutics will indeed lead the way to a better future in oncology.

As I often say to my patients, “No one is more interested in saving your life than you.”