Supportive Cancer Care

The Diagnosis

Have you recently been given a cancer diagnosis? I’ve heard from many people about how they have felt at that moment-

Shocked, scared, afraid of the treatment, worried how this will impact both their life and their family. I often hear, the “cancer diagnosis changed my life and I found myself thinking, “Why me? How am I going to get through this?”

Yes, a diagnosis of cancer is a life awakening event. Which is why it’s so important to approach your treatment and care with the right medical team, doctors and health professionals who listen to you and see you as a whole person, and employ mindful attention to your treatment and care decisions.

The ETMS Approach to Supportive Cancer Care

I have been fortunate to be a student of Donnie Yance, founder of the Mederi Center for Natural Healing, in Ashland, Oregon, with his Eclectic Triphasic Medical System (ETMS) approach to treatment of cancer and chronic disease.

The ETMS approach strives to individualize your care and treatment.

Many physicians worldwide now believe better results can be achieved if cancer treatments are personalized, based upon specific biologic factors.  These factors occur at the cellular level and are unique to each patient. Advanced testing provides insight into specific tumor biology, risk assessment and can help you make informed treatment decisions.

ETMS delves into the landscape of the cancer, through:

  • Assessment of the “host”, the person, with cancer
  • The microenvironment of the tumor – Utilizing testing beyond the standard pathology reports, such as the CARIS, Oncotype Dx Breast Recurrence Score, Cancer Genetics, Foundation One, and Weisenthal, to provide detailed and exact information of the driving forces creating the tumor or cancer.
  • The characteristics of the tumor itself, so we know how to best target the cancer.
  • The exogenous environment- has there been exposure to toxic chemicals or environments?

These advanced tests provide detailed information for individualized treatment selection; exactly which chemotherapy drugs, and combination of drugs, are most effective at killing your cancer cells and which agents are ineffective, and should be avoided. Genomic testing, or gene testing, provides information about the unique genetic makeup of you and your cancer. Testing for specific biomarkers can provide insight into diagnosis, prognosis, and the likelihood of responding to treatment. With this information, we can help predict the probable outcome of your disease, and personalize your clinical management.

Putting Together Your ETMS Protocol

The ETMS approach utilizes the information provided through your pathology report, extensive blood work up and these advanced diagnostic tests, to create a protocol that is specific to you. Botanical medicine is the soul of this approach, for botanical compounds:

  • Provide foundational supportive care while undergoing chemotherapy
  • Minimize side effects of chemotherapy such as fatigue, anemia, weight loss and cachexia, neuropathy, depression, and anxiety
  • Calm your nervous system, and reduce your stress, as we heal in the parasympathetic mode (Stress and cancer: Mindfullness is pivotal component to improve outcomes; Healio HemOnctoday, August 24, 2015)

The Importance of Nutrition

A main component of the ETMS approach is utilizing food and nutrition to support your body through the cancer treatment. And the medicinal smoothie is one of the ways we are able to get the most nutrition into your system in a manner that first, tastes delicious so you look forward to drinking it daily, and is easy to make.

There are many different dietary options; paleo, vegan, gluten free, raw. I use the diagnostic tools Chinese Medicine provide me to help you figure out what works best for your body and mind, during this time. As a cancer diagnosis and treatment demand changes in so many areas of your life, adjusting not just what, but how you eat, becomes one of them.

Some guidelines I follow are:

  • Food, and the nutrition it provides to your cells, plays an important part in reducing risk and improving your health.
  • It’s important to have a healthy relationship with food, eat with intention and mindfulness. The concept of eating “on the run” or while working doesn’t serve your health.
  • In all cases, I emphasize whole-organic foods, for they are free of toxins and provide the most nutrients.
  • All refined, processed, commercial foods should be avoided. They provide little nutrition, and lack cancer suppressing phytonutrients
  • Ideally, the food you eat is fresh, prepared with love with the intent to nourish your body and your soul.

I think it very helpful, from the very beginning, if you realize that you are the boss of your treatment decisions. Your doctors, adjunctive health practitioners, and other members of your medical treatment team, will give you their best advice on science and studies, but it is ultimately up to you to decide what your treatment path will be.

Immediate family are, of course, directly impacted when a close family member is diagnosed with cancer. Cancer treatment and all it entails is a very time consuming and stressful undertaking.

If there are children involved, there is no one way to approach how the family will address this; it often depends on the age of the children. If necessary, I have child psychologists, as well as couple and family therapists, that I am able to refer you to for consultation, to help you decide what is best for you.

I have seen is how important support is. Often the spouse becomes the caretaker of the person undergoing treatment, in addition to working and taking care of the household and children. This is too much for one person to do, and accepting help from people who are concerned relieves some of the burden on the caretaker and allows your friends to contribute in a way that is meaningful for everyone. A google docs sheet with tasks needed, food delivery, children picked up, house cleaning, and other errands, allows people to contribute in a manner that best suits them.

Undergoing cancer treatment can demand a great deal from you and your family. While your oncologists address the tumor, I focus on your health, from recently diagnosed, during treatment, after active treatment has been concluded and for your longterm health. With science as the foundation, I work as closely to nature as possible, taking into consideration the influence of emotional and spiritual aspects of the mind and psyche.

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