Naturopathic medicine can play an important role in the successful treatment of breast cancer.
Breast cancer can occur in either men or women, but it is far more common in women. It is a process of abnormal breast cell growth in which cells divide more rapidly than healthy cells do, causing an accumulation of cells which form a tumor. The tumor may then spread (metastasize) through your breast, to your lymph nodes or other parts of your body.
The cause of breast cancer is not clear, but it is believed that it is due to a complex combination of your genetic makeup and your environment.
Complications of breast cancer include spread (metastasis) of cancer to other tissues of your body.
Seek professional healthcare if you find a lump, or other changes in your breast tissue, even if a recent mammogram is normal.
Symptoms of Breast Cancer
Possible symptoms of breast cancer include:
- Breast lump or thickening that feels different from the surrounding tissue
- Change in the size or shape of a breast
- Redness, pitting or dimpling of the skin over your breast (giving the appearance of the skin of an orange)
- Changes to the skin over the breast, such as dimpling
- Bloody discharge from the nipple
- Nipple inversion
- Peeling or flaking of the skin of the nipple
Treatment of Breast Cancer at Toronto Centre for Naturopathic Medicine
At Toronto Centre for Naturopathic Medicine, the goal of breast cancer treatment is recovery from breast cancer with minimal discomfort from medication side-effects, and prevention of cancer recurrence.
Naturopathic treatment of any chronic health concern must be recognized as a process that involves:
- Identifying specific treatment goals
- Development by your naturopathic doctor, of a thorough understanding of all factors affecting your health, including physical, psychological, emotional and lifestyle factors
- Development of a comprehensive treatment plan
- Implementation and maintenance of that plan through periodic monitoring and adjustment
At Toronto Centre for Naturopathic Medicine, a typical approach to treating breast cancer may be to:
- Identify and address underlying factors in your lifestyle (e.g., poor diet, radiation exposure, use of post-menopausal hormone therapy, alcohol intake) or general health (e.g., obesity) that may that may be contributing to your breast cancer progression
- Support your body’s own ability to combat cancer by supporting immune system activity using botanical (herbal) medicines
- Manage discomfort associated with tumours or conventional medication side-effects through the use of acupuncture
- Prevent cancer recurrence by maintaining optimal health and continued immune system support using nutritional counseling, nutritional supplements and botanical (herbal) medicines
Where appropriate, a number of therapeutic options are available, to be used alone, or more often in a complementary fashion, including:
- Nutritional counseling
- Nutritional supplements
- Metabolic detoxification protocols
- Botanical (herbal) medicines
- Bowen Therapy
- Exercise prescription
- Relaxation (meditation) training
- Lifestyle medicine and counseling
- Registered massage therapy
Treatments provided by naturopathic doctors and registered massage therapists are covered by most extended healthcare plans.
Breast cancer [Internet]. Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research; [cited 2010 Jan 30]. Available from: http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/breast-cancer/DS00328.