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The Voice of Canadians With Breast Cancer

Education

Our Voices Blog

Questions and Experts Session Guide: A Naturopathic Doctor Answers Questions about Complementary Therapies

A breast cancer diagnosis comes with so many questions and there never seems to be enough time at appointments to have some of these questions answered. To help address this, we developed a "Q&E: Questions and Experts" series. In this series, a variety of experts spend the entire virtual session answering pre-submitted and live questions from participants. Watching the videos on-demand might be a little difficult to get through. So, we’ve created this guide to help you get right to the questions and answers that matter the most to you.

In today’s post, we provide the questions that were sent in and asked during the live session of our Questions and Experts session held in September 2021. In this session, Dr. Dugald Seely, ND, a Naturopathic Doctor, answered questions about complementary therapies. In the parentheses, you’ll find the timestamp of where to find the question in the on-demand video.

Prescription Medicine and Supplements

  1. Are naturopathic doctors in Ontario able to prescribe medications? (00:03:11)
  2. Do naturopathic doctors coordinate with the oncologist when they are prescribing drugs? (00:04:31)
  3. What medications do naturopathic doctors suggest for breast cancer patients whose sleep has been compromised by drugs like Tamoxifen? (00:09:29)
  4. As a naturopathic doctor, would you recommend Metformin in the prevention of cancer recurrence? (00:20:12)
  5. With the complexity with each type of breast cancer, how can patients be sure that supplements given to by a Naturopathic Doctor are adequate and compatible with the regular medications given by oncologists? (00:24:24)
  6. Do you know if Metformin is being prescribed by Naturopathic Doctors in British Columbia? (00:32:08)

Accessing Naturopathic Doctors and Starting Complementary Therapy

  1. What can a patient do if their oncologist refuses all options for complementary medicine or is not willing to have those conversations? How can a patient navigate that? (00:06:29)
  2. How can a patient go about finding a Naturopathic Doctor who has an expertise in oncology? (00:12:53)
  3. Can you speak to the role of therapeutic touch and whether that's in your practice or something that a Naturopathic Doctor may refer to? Also, how can patients go about accessing that? (01:14:18)
  4. How long would you wait after chemotherapy to do a deep detox? (01:19:42)
  5. At what point do you think that complementary therapy and integrative medicine should be included in the care of someone with cancer? Is this something that breast cancer patients should wait for until they're done their treatments, prior to starting some of those treatments, or during those treatments? (01:20:16)

Side Effect Management

  1. What medications do Naturopathic Doctors suggest for breast cancer patients whose sleep has been compromised by drugs like Tamoxifen? (00:09:29)
  2. What type of natural resources are available to reduce the side effects of radiation during and after treatment? (00:22:28)
  3. What would you recommend for treating radiation fibrosis? (00:28:09)
  4. What would you recommend for people suffering from lymphedema following breast cancer treatments, particularly node dissection and radiation? (00:32:41)
  5. How do you differentiate side effects when you're doing combination therapy? If someone gets a side effect, how do you know if it's the mistletoe injections or the side effect of the drug? (00:40:50)
  6. Are there certain side effects that mistletoe injections are more effective at managing or are they help at managing all the side effects from chemotherapy? (00:44:32)
  7. This patient is in a clinical trial where she may or may not be receiving an immunotherapy along with the standard of care. Because of this, her healthcare team is very reluctant for her to take any nonpharmacological or natural therapies for symptom reduction for the chemotherapy. Are there any safe options that this patient could use, in the event that she is receiving immunotherapy? Her biggest symptom is neuropathy. (01:02:58)
  8. This question comes from a person who is using CBD oil for neuropathy pain and for “heat ups” but is finding that she's using more CBD oil than she would like to use. She can manage the neuropathy with activity and rest but is unable to regulate the temperature raises without the CBD oil. What can you recommend for temperature regulation? (01:05:38)

Nutrition

  1. Can you speak about food myths and facts regarding foods to avoid or eat more of for someone diagnosed with ER-positive and PR-positive breast cancer? (00:46:40)
  2. For those of us who are not disciplined and need direction, sort of like somebody who wants to go to a dietician that provides them with what to eat for either weight loss or whatever you're going there for, do Naturopathic Doctors provide such recommendations or plans? (01:00:40)
  3. What are your thoughts on replacement bars, meals, and drinks? (01:10:42)

On Different Types of Complementary Therapies

Mistletoe Injections

  1. This patient recently started mistletoe injections and is a stage IV metastatic breast cancer patient. How does she summarize the benefits of mistletoe injections in terms of quality of life and communicate that to her oncologist? (00:37:27)
  2. Do you consider skin testing for allergies before dosing patients with mistletoe? (00:43:07)
  3. Are targeted therapies safe to use with mistletoe injections? So, for example, CDK 46 inhibitors, would those be safe to use with mistletoe injections? (00:43:51)
  4. Are there certain side effects that mistletoe injections are more effective at managing or are they help at managing all the side effects from chemotherapy? (00:44:32)

CBD Oil

  1. This question comes from a person who is using CBD oil for neuropathy pain and for “heat ups” but is finding that she's using more CBD oil than she would like to use. She can manage the neuropathy with activity and rest but is unable to regulate the temperature raises without the CBD oil. What can you recommend for temperature regulation? (01:05:38)
  2. Are there any interactions with tamoxifen and CBD oil that you're aware of? (01:15:1)

Detoxing

  1. Could you provide information or speak about specific research articles outlining the benefit of a detoxification protocol post-explant? Also, what is the recommended length for a detox based on how long someone has had an implant in? (01:16:09)
  2. How long would you wait after chemotherapy to do a deep detox? (01:19:42)
  3. Is it ok to detox for heavy metals during radiation or should a patient wait until after treatments? (1:24:55)

Other

  1. Is there a standardized approach to care that is followed by Naturopathic Doctors? (00:18:24)
  2. Can you elaborate on the benefits of hyperbaric oxygen therapy to post-radiation cancer patients? (00:29:19)
  3. Are there natural ways to improve immunity that don’t interfere with targeted therapies, immunotherapies, and chemotherapy? (01:07:27)
  4. Can you speak to the role of therapeutic touch and whether that's in your practice or something that a Naturopathic Doctor may refer to? Also, how can patients go about accessing that? (01:14:18)
  5. Is there a role for purely alternative medicine in the treatment of breast cancer? (01:21:47)

Photo by Craig Garner on Unsplash