As someone who has developed an intimate relationship with cancer, what I call “the disease of our time,” I have dedicated a great deal of my life to evaluating the potential for a holistic, collaborative approach to managing this disease.
The greatest inroads we can achieve at this time come in the form of preventive strategies that improve health and well-being. The old adage, “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure,” takes on a different importance in the field of oncology, and my own adaptation in this context is, “an ounce of prevention, is worth a TON of cure.” The process of going through modern oncological treatment for cancer can be severely debilitating and can have lifelong negative effects on our bodies.
The process of “fighting cancer” is a much more difficult and disturbing place to confront this disease, and unfortunately this is where most of our effort is spent. Although almost every one of us has been touched by it, “the race for the cure” is somewhat of a futile endeavor. Unfortunately, there just isn’t a magic bullet to kill cancer… It takes a concerted effort directed at the individual and their unique set of circumstances. If we don’t direct our efforts and intention at the prevention of this debilitating disease, we may find ourselves deep in a war we cannot win.
My approach to managing cancer and chronic disease generally follows a four part treatment “arc” that looks like this:
- Slow the progression of the disease
- Stabilize the disease process while strengthening the person
- Reverse the disease process, which could take weeks, months, or years
- Find a long term, managed solution, or in some cases a “cure.”
However, the practice of good medicine is not all about cure. It’s first about helping people: helping them face the many choices and decisions that a cancer diagnosis brings. This entails deepening their understanding of what is happening in their bodies, and making them aware of what potential treatments are available. It’s also about supporting them through the process, providing them with a comprehensive review and interpretation of the current literature surrounding their condition, and assessing research based outcomes associated with specific treatment regimens.
One of my primary goals for every cancer patient is to help them become as healthy as they possibly can be. I want you to be “healthier” than you’ve ever been before, both in your subjective experience, and on paper as well (lab work). By addressing imbalances with botanical and nutritional medicine, and supporting people’s bodies with positive dietary and life style choices, no matter what treatment direction a patient ultimately chooses, they will be well prepared to face it.
This writing is adapted in part from my article, Combining Traditional Chinese Medicine and Modern Medicine in the Treatment of Cancerpublished in Cancer Strategies Journal, 2013.
If you are interested in my cancer support services please check out my consultations page.
Jason Miller DACM, LAc, Dipl O.M. (NCCAOM) is the owner and founder of Jade Mountain Medicine Inc. in Ashland Oregon, where he specializes in the collaborative management of patients with cancer and chronic disease.