If somebody has a very significant medical condition, say, a cancer or a severe autoimmune disease, what’s the role of integrative medicine? How can IM help in the care of somebody, say, with breast cancer?
That’s a good question. Interestingly, I’ve had some family experience with that recently unfortunately. As an integrative doctor, it’s really important to make sure your patient has got the best team of specialists to support them, which is something a GP should do as well. But as an integrative doctor, of course, you do that.
Not only would you be supporting the patient through the actual diagnosis and the conventional medical treatment, which is important, then you would be assisting them with their recovery from the treatment – the radiotherapy, the chemotherapy. That could involve helping them with nutritional supplementation, diet, choice of diet that will help them clear estrogen if it’s breast cancer with an emphasis on food family, cruciferous vegetables, mind/body. I mean, it’s a lot. It depends on the patient, which particular aspects I would choose as well.
There was an article recently where they were talking about how complementary medicine practitioners didn’t always talk to specialists in end-stage cancer care. It sounds like integrative medicine could play a role in literally integrating a group of doctors together to ensure, a person can have treatment for terminal cancers, but they can also have wellbeing at the same time.