I believe that we are at a crossroads in oncology and our approach to cancer, where a total paradigm shift in philosophy, strategy, science, and medicine is needed to replace the prevailing “War on Cancer.” This war, declared by Congress in 1971, has yielded little real benefit, despite four decades of effort by conventional medicine and more than $100 billion tax dollars.
In the treatment of cancer, our main objectives must be to support, sustain, and preserve life, while avoiding any treatment that may cause great suffering. Courage, humility and love must replace control, fear, and self-interest. In the cautionary words of Dwight McKee, M.D., an oncologist who is committed to integrative medicine:
“As the attempts of modern medicine became progressively more intense, severe, and destructive following the military model of a “war on cancer,” people have become progressively more afraid not only of the potential of the disease itself, but of its treatment in causing great suffering.”
Over the past one hundred years, “making war” on cancer by cutting, burning, or bombing the cancer was often undertaken without reason, credible research, and most of all, without foresight as to the consequences of this destructive approach. This “war” also represented an abandonment of traditional/classical healing systems that are centered in nurturing the human spirit and enhancing vitality, which are the foundation of true health. By ignoring the most basic concepts of health and wellbeing, modern conventional medicine has developed a mechanistic approach that treats human beings as machines—essentially, nothing more than a collection of body parts.
In my almost three decades of work as a clinician, I have witnessed hundreds of people devastated by cancer treatments prescribed by conventional modern medicine. I know that there is a better way, and it is my mission in life to help as many people as possible find this better way. My work is to press forward, to pray, to defy fears, to seek and learn all that I can, and to continually refine and apply the wisdom and knowledge acquired in this healing quest. My approach is rooted in natural medicine and love. It does not throw out the old (classical medicine), but takes the innovations and tools of modern medicine and carefully fits them into a healing protocol, when it serves the interest of promoting a healthy and longer life.
Over the past decade, I have made many important discoveries and innovations in the emerging field of integrative oncology, which have lead to the creation of the unique healing model I call the ETMS (Eclectic Triphasic Medical System). This healing model is not a single paradigm shift, but rather a collection of paradigm shifts, involving everything from advances in the mechanistic and translational understanding of tumor biology to the importance of biobehavioral influences (the host and external environment).
In the ETMS approach, several diagnostic “lenses” are applied, and comprehensive multi-layer protocols are developed using the five toolboxes of Botanical Medicine, Nutritional Medicine, Dietary Medicine, Lifestyle Medicine, and where appropriate, guidance in regard to Pharmaceutical Medicine. Two succinct quotes from the great Eclectic Physician John Scudder reflect my approach to botanical medicine, which is foundational to the ETMS method—it is a harmonious blending of the old and new, as well as the Western, Eastern, Southern and Northern traditions of herbal medicine:
“He or she cannot claim to have done his or her whole duty, unless he or she has been “Eclectic” in fact, choosing from all sources that which to him or her seems best.”
“With the old and the new before him, the student should be able to make his or her study of therapeutics thorough, and his or her materia medica assurance of the successful practice.”
For each individual, all of the clues need to be gathered and the various pieces put into place to consistently and significantly improve patient quality-of-life, survival and treatment response, with the goal of inhibiting cancer reoccurrence and reducing the likelihood of it developing in the first place. I believe this approach can dramatically reduce healthcare costs in our country, which will otherwise for certain bankrupt us not only financially, but also emotionally and spiritually.
4 Replies to “A Model for Integrative Oncology”
I totally agree with you. As a parent I lived the frustrating scenario that you describe with my son who passed away recently. It has to be a paradigm change that supports a better approach to the life with cancer. We are in the hands of the conventional doctors for practical reasons; insurance, lack of knowledge (“they are the experts!)….In the very first moment the family doesn’t know anything about cancer unless it has had a previous experience and when we get some education it’s too late. IT’S FRUSTRATING. We need more integrative medicine practicioners to face cancer. An eclectic model by sure,
I am going to be in touch as soon as possible.
I am so grateful for Donnie’s book, “Herbal Medicine, Healing & Cancer.” After being diagnosed with DCIS (stage zero breast cancer) and given very extreme and invasive options, I began extensive research into alternatives. I did have surgery, but my gut told me 7 weeks of radiation or mastectomy were overkill and harmful. I was more frightened of the cancer doctors and treatment than of the abnormal cells found in my body through mammogram. I created a website and blog to share my story and resources with the thousands of other women who are possibly being “over-treated” for DCIS. Donnie’s book is at the top of my list! Thank you Donnie from the bottom of my heart for this post and all the love and care you have given to this topic. I am sharing your wisdom here: http://www.dcis411.com and on my facebook group: Donna’s Choice: Global healing From The Inside Out: https://www.facebook.com/groups/373056561416/
In gratitude and admiration,
Spot on, Donnie. Another clear, concise expanation of our journey to healing