Several issues are arising in today’s cancer patients, highlighting the need for integrative oncology. First, many patients are undergoing the traditional route of aggressive surgery, full-dose chemotherapy, and multiple rounds of radiation and yet are still developing recurrence. As Dr. Virginia Von Schaefer states, this is often because these three methods do not target Circulating Tumor Cells and Circulating Stem Cells, which have been shed by the primary tumor into the body and are not actively dividing. Thus, they are not necessarily excised surgically and may be in areas distant from the original lesion. Due to this, integrative techniques such as Supportive Oligonucleotide Therapies (SOT) become exceptionally beneficial as they can target these microscopic dangers as well as other issues, such as covert viruses. In addition, in some cases, patients who go through the conventional treatment route and are still not cancer free are told directly by physicians that there are no other options available for treatment. However, integrative oncology can provide these patients with hope and care when traditional medicine no longer can by utilizing various therapies, such as ultraviolet blood irradiation, light treatments, and plant-based IVs.
Second, many cancer patients cannot tolerate the severe toll surgery, radiation, and full-dose chemotherapy causes on their bodies. Due to age, illness, or any other factor, many patients cannot realistically follow the conservative treatment path due to the pain and damage it causes. As a result, an alternative is needed, providing a treatment that these patients can endure so that their cancer is controlled and treated. Integrative medicine fills this need directly. From utilizing techniques such as assisted insulin-potentiated low-dose chemotherapy to the administration of phytoceuticals (plant products with active anti-tumor and immune-boosting effects) such as mistletoe, integrative oncology focuses on providing tolerable care for patients which can be maintained long-term without causing such intensive bodily strain and harm.
Furthermore, another issue that highlights the necessity of integrative oncology is the rise in cancer patients being initially diagnosed at Stage IV1. As Dr. Virginia Von Schaefer states, this increase can be attributed to changes in environmental factors and undiagnosed, untreated chronic viral infections such as Epstein-Barr Virus. From increased exposure to pesticides in food to cellular disruptions from electronics and wireless technology, the environment today makes preventing cancer development more difficult than ever. Due to this, integrative oncology’s focus on environmental factors and the root causes of tumor development becomes a much more crucial part of cancer treatment. As opposed to conventional medicine, which stays within its three-pronged approaches of surgery, radiation, and chemotherapy, integrative oncology addresses the environmental components of cancer growth and development, an approach that will become more and more necessary as carcinogenic factors in the environment continue to increase.
Looking into the future, integrative oncology holds great promise regarding novel therapeutics that can more effectively and safely treat cancer development. With the number of cancer cases growing worldwide, developing new ideas and approaches to oncology is paramount. As a result, as more patients begin searching for ways to address their condition holistically and without such adverse side effects, integrative medicine will continue to grow and develop to fill that need.
- Neuman HB, Morrogh M, Gonen M, Van Zee KJ, Morrow M, King TA. Stage IV breast cancer in the era of targeted therapy: does surgery of the primary tumor matter? Cancer. 2010 Mar 1;116(5):1226-33. doi: 10.1002/cncr.24873. PMID: 20101736; PMCID: PMC4505547.