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All You Need to Know About Integrative Oncology

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Integrative oncology is the use of integrative or complementary therapies together with conventional medicine. The therapies work together with standard treatments such as chemotherapy, surgery, and radiation to the patient on all levels; the body, mind, and soul. Salt Lake City integrative oncology treatments can help treat side effects, relieve distress, the goals of the treatment, and the treatment results and adherence.

Conventional cancer treatments are the treatments that are widely used and have shown great success in clinical trials. Most people refer to them as the standard of care, including chemo, radiotherapy, hormonal therapy, immunotherapy, and surgery.

Complementary and alternative medicines and practices do not qualify as the standard of care, but many show excellent results in treating cancer. Medical practitioners will rarely learn about these therapies in school, and they may not know the benefits they offer. They fall into two groups including:

  • Complementary medicines are cancer therapies used alongside conventional treatments. They include acupuncture and guided imagery which helps ease nausea after chemo.
  • Alternative medicines are therapies used in place of conventional medical treatments. They include vitamin infusions that help treat cancer instead of the standard treatment.

Interactive oncology is a cancer treatment approach involving complementary therapies to support the patient’s body, mind, and spirit levels.

Which Modalities Make-Up Integrative Therapies?

Integrative oncology depends on various modalities to provide treatment. They include:

  • Mind-body therapies include mindfulness, cognitive behavioral therapy, hypnosis, yoga, music therapy, spirituality, meditation, biofeedback, and expressive therapies.
  • Biologically based practices such as herbs, vitamins, special diets, and foods.
  • Body-based practices such as chiropractic treatments, reflexology, and massage therapy.
  • Energy medicine including Tai Chi, Jin Shin Jyutsu, Reiki, and therapeutic touch.
  • Other medical delivery systems include Chinese medicine, such as acupuncture, naturopathy, and homeopathy.

A Different Approach to Cancer Treatment

Integrative oncology views the fight against cancer as a war fought on two fronts simultaneously. The first front fights against tumors where they use tools like surgery to get rid of cancer and radiation and chemotherapy to shrink your tumor or kill the cancer cells. The second front in the war against the systemic burden of cancer.

If you have a cancer tumor, it will release circulating tumor cells which contain cancer stem cells. These cancerous cells flow throughout your bloodstream. The tumor starts releasing the cells even before it can grow enough for you to detect it. Due to the nature of the cancer cells, they have immortal life, so they cannot die unless you kill them. They move throughout your body, waiting for the perfect time to develop into a tumor in a different part. Traditional oncology mostly overlooks the systemic burden, especially during the early stages of cancer, so you can get cancer again a few months after completing treatment.

Integrative oncology measures the levels of cancer stem cells to come up with an accurate diagnosis and recommend an appropriate treatment to kill these cells and alter conditions, so they do not thrive.

To summarize, integrative oncology uses integrative or complementary therapies together with conventional medicine in cancer treatment. It includes mind-body therapies, biologically based therapies, body-based therapies, and other medical delivery systems. Integrative oncology fights cancer on two fronts. They use tools like surgery, chemo, and radiotherapy to get rid of tumors on the first front and integrative oncology to kill cancer stem cells so you do not get cancer again after treatment.

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