Woman In Doctor'S Office FrowningDr. Paisley seeks to enhance survival and quality of life for those living with cancer through naturopathic oncology and its integration into cancer care.

Naturopathic oncology, as defined by the Oncology Association of Naturopathic Physicians, is the application of the art and science of naturopathic medicine in the field of cancer care and treatment.  Naturopathic oncology is a vital component of a comprehensive, whole-person approach to cancer care that spans from prevention through treatment and into survivorship.

The Role of Naturopathic Medicine in Oncology Services

An integrative approach to cancer care is at the leading edge of what patients are seeking and incorporating with and without guidance of a specialized provider. The NIH reports that complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) use by oncology patients is at 80% and 50% are under reporting to their oncology team. One of the major concerns about CAM use is the lack of data substantiating it’s benefit to patients, but current literature is reflecting a trend towards good safety profiles and efficacy of complementary management, particularly in the area of side effect management. Pre-clinical is very strong and clinical data is gaining traction in a conventional setting. Dr. Paisley strives to work with you and your care team to direct you towards integrative therapies that are individualized and have shown clinical efficacy.

The literature suggests that an integrated approach to cancer care:

  • Improves patient satisfaction
  • Reduces procedure complications
  • Reduces dose-limiting side effects
  • Improves patient tolerance
  • Improves patient compliance

Dr. Paisley is excited about the increase in data demonstrating the potential to optimize outcomes and reduce recurrence with integrative treatment, particularly in the areas of breast, prostate and pancreatic cancers. She relies on the naturopathic medicine core principles, they are adapted to co-management with conventional therapies (surgery, chemotherapy, radiation) to reduce symptoms and improve quality of life so that families feel empowered and find opportunities to play!

Goals in an oncology setting are multi-fold.

  • Support and direct the use of herbs and supplements
  • Educate about source, quality, contamination and standardization of ingredients of supplements
  • Educate providers and patients on herb-drug-therapeutic interaction
  • Advocate for natural therapies in conjunction with conventional management
  • Help treat dose-limiting side effects of conventional treatment and preserve quality of life
  • Help prevent long-term side effects of conventional treatments
  • Ensure that chosen therapies are appropriate safe, evidenced-based and cost effective

Leading edge features of integrative oncology are the potential to reduce dose-limiting side effects such as cardiotoxicity, CINV and CIPN from conventional management – increasing the number of patients that are able to complete the desired treatment. In addition, Dr. Paisley works to optimize surgical outcomes and potentially reduce infection rates post op with appropriate pre-loading and post-surgical immunonutrition.

  • Nutritional Therapy
  • Counseling
  • Botanical Medicine
  • IV Nutrient Therapy
  • Mind-Body Medicine
  • Homeopathy

Doctor checking on child's earGreat strides have been made in pediatric oncology; currently there is upwards of an 80% 5-year survival rate for children with cancer. However, many types of cancer such as gliomas and sarcomas are still very difficult to treat leaving a window of opportunity for supportive therapies that strengthen the body’s natural ability to fight cancer and enhance the effects of conventional therapies. In addition, cancer treatments pose significant risk for both short and long term side effects. The need for therapies that support these children, while increasing tolerance and efficacy of conventional therapies is undeniable. In naturopathic medicine, we have the ability to do just that.

Naturopathic Pediatric Oncology

  • An evidence-based approach to reducing symptoms and improving quality of life with non-pharmacologic therapies in conjunction with conventional cancer care.
  • Work to harness the innate ability to identify and remove cancer cells
  • Help patients complete treatments in a timely manor and maintain some health throughout their treatments
  • Work to reduce the risk for recurrence and optimize life long health
  • Educate about the safety and appropriate use of supplements and other natural therapies. (Many products are mislabeled and formulated with harmful chemicals)
  • Serve as an advocate for patients and families through an overwhelming process and work to reduce stress.

It is well known that cancer survivors are at a significant risk for chronic diseases, one study found that 96% of adult survivors of childhood cancers by age 45 are likely to develop a chronic health condition. The natruopathic philosophies of preventative and treat the whole person are essential for families looking to improve the quality of life and reduce the long-term risk for these children.

What to Expect

Dr. Rose Paisley, ND will collect you medical history and help you to navigate the diagnosis and conventional therapies that are being recommend. She will discuss your current and long-term goals and implement evidence based innovative integrative therapies appropriate for the situation at hand. Ideally, this is an evoloving relationship where doctor, patient and caregivers work together to make changes that inspire and empower health for the whole family. The experience of cancer is unique, a situation that induces tremendous fear and unsurmontable strength, both of which are life changing and deserve undivided attention.

  • Diet/Exercise
  • Nutritional Supplementation
  • Botanical Medicine
  • Homeopathy
  • Counseling
  • Hydrotherapy
  • IV Therapy
  • Physical Medicine/Craniosacral
  • Pharmacology

At Bambu Clinic, we offer IV therapy as an adjunct to conventional cancer care.  While many IV nutrient therapy cocktails are being offered in the health care setting on a clinical trial basis for cancer patients, IV high dose vitamin C is the IV nutrient therapy with the longest history of clinical use and, therefore, the most clinical research to support its use.

In the setting of cancer, there is an increasing body of evidence suggesting patients receiving IV vitamin C have improved quality of life during and after conventional treatment and this therapy, applied correctly, may also slow progression of malignancies. Below is a summary of the research adapted from the National Cancer Institute.

Have any clinical trials of high-dose vitamin C (7 grams and up) been conducted?

Several studies of high-dose vitamin C in patients with cancer have been done in recent years, including the following:

  • Intravenous (IV) vitamin C was studied in patients with breast cancer who were treated with adjuvant chemotherapy and radiation therapy. The study found that patients who received IV vitamin C had better quality of life and fewer side effects than those who did not.
  • A study of IV vitamin C and high doses of vitamin C taken by mouth was done in patients with cancer that could not be cured. Vitamin C was shown to be a safe and effective therapy to improve quality of life in these patients, including physical, mental, and emotional functions, symptoms of fatigue, nausea and vomiting, pain, and appetite loss.
  • Vitamin C has been shown to be safe when given to healthy volunteers and cancer patients at doses up to 1.5 g/kg, while screening out patients with certain risk factors who should avoid vitamin C. Studies have also shown that Vitamin C levels in the blood are higher when taken by IV than when taken by mouth, and last for more than 4 hours.

Studies of vitamin C combined with other drugs

Studies of vitamin C combined with other drugs have shown mixed results:

  • In a small study of 14 patients with advanced pancreatic cancer, IV vitamin C was given along with chemotherapy and treatment with targeted radiotherapy. Patients had very few adverse effects from the vitamin C treatment. The nine patients who completed the treatment had stable disease as shown by imaging studies.
  • In another small study of 9 patients with advanced pancreatic cancer, patients were given chemotherapy 1x/week for 3 weeks along with IV vitamin C twice per week for 4 weeks. These patients’ disease did not progress for a period of months. The combined treatment was well tolerated and no serious side effects were reported.
  • In a 2014 study of 27 patients with advanced ovarian cancer, treatment with chemotherapy alone was compared to chemotherapy along with IV vitamin C. Patients who received IV vitamin C along with chemotherapy had fewer serious side effects from the chemotherapy.
  • Patients with AML, metastatic colorectal or metastatic melanoma treated with IV vitamin C combined with other drugs had serious side effects and their disease got worse.

Currently more studies of combining high-dose IV vitamin C with other drugs are in progress.

Have any side effects or risks been reported from high-dose vitamin C?

Intravenous high-dose ascorbic acid has caused very few side effects in clinical trials. However, high-dose vitamin C may be harmful in patients with certain risk factors.

  • In patients with a history if kidney stones or kidney disease, side effects have been reported after IV ascorbic acid treatment. Patients with a tendency to develop kidney stones should not be treated with high-dose vitamin C.
  • Case reports have shown that patients with G6PD deficiency should not be given high doses of vitamin C, due to the risk of hemolysis (red blood cell destruction). Always determine G6PD status prior to IV vitamin C at doses greater than 10g/IV.
  • Since vitamin C may make iron more easily absorbed and used by the body, high doses of the vitamin are not recommended for patients with hemochromatosis (a condition in which the body takes up and stores more iron than it needs).

Have any drug interactions been reported from combining high-dose IV vitamin C with anticancer drugs?

High-dose vitamin C, when combined with some anticancer drugs, may cause them to be less effective. So far, these effects have been seen only in some laboratory and animal studies. No clinical trials have been done to further research these drug interactions in humans.

  • Combining vitamin C with an anticancer drug called bortezomib has been studied in cells studies. Several studies showed that vitamin C given by mouth made bortezomib less effective, including in multiple myeloma cells. A study in mice transplanted with human prostate cancer cells, however, did not show that giving the mice different doses of vitamin C by mouth made bortezomib therapy less effective.
  • An oxidized form of vitamin C called dehydroascorbic acid has been studied in cell cultures and in animals with tumors. Several studies have found that high doses of dehydroascorbic acid can interfere with the anticancer effects of several chemotherapy drugs. Dehydroascorbic acid is found in only small amounts in dietary supplements and in fresh foods.
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