What prompted you to become involved in a comprehensive Integrative Cancer practice versus a conventional “standard of care” practice?
Early on during my medical training I was carrying cancer cells from one lab to another, just a short 30 yards down the hall, to a graduate student in a second lab. He was quite impatient with me, yelling for me to move faster, because the cells died during this short walk, preventing him from doing his lab work. While racing back to get another batch of malignant cells, I found myself shaking my head, confused and troubled. How had these cancer cells, that could not survive a simple quick walk, wreak such havoc in the human body that they killed my uncle, grandfather and grandmother by the time I turned sixteen?” The contrast was instructive. Detached from their surroundings – separated from the body and their microenvironment – these cells are actually quite fragile and vulnerable. A light bulb went off in my mind as I realized that our bodies should have the ability to coddle or combat cancer, depending on the state or condition of the environment these cells reside in (our biochemical environment).
Cancer patient survival is as much about integrative and nutritional interventions, even when pertaining to advanced disease, as it is about the disease itself. Innovative approaches and individualizing treatments to each patient’s condition, biology, biochemical and molecular profile are critical to care, and this is a significant driving force in both our diagnostic and treatment methodology.
When implementing conventional therapies that have considerable toxicity it is essential to have a patient in the best shape possible to not only tolerate treatment better, but to respond more favorably as well. I am in the business of saving lives! Those of us who have clinical careers that are directed toward helping those facing a fragile future would certainly rather have our patients be in better condition when we begin treatment. There’s not a single surgeon – or at least there shouldn’t be – who wouldn’t rather have their patient more physically, nutritionally, emotionally and biologically fit, before carting them into the operating room. Why should this be any different for a cancer specialist? This is simple common sense. Patients with better performance status – a medical term for assessing a patient’s general condition – do better in every aspect. They tolerate treatments better, respond better, have better life quality and have better outcomes and survival.