Despite the very loud and vehement protestations of conventional physicians, more than half of all Americans, and 80% of cancer patients are seeking some kind of “alternative” or “natural” medicine, however, few of them are doing so under the guidance of a qualified Naturopathic physician. Moreover, most do not disclose their choices to their doctors.

Most MDs who discourage the use of natural medicine do so in an effort to keep their patients safe in an area of medicine that they themselves are not expert in. This is an altruistic and wise action on the MD’s part, except that, there are physician level experts in natural medicine who are also trained in pharmacology and know how to recommend natural products and interventions that are both safe and effective.

I am a doctor and an expert in natural medicine, oncology and integrative medicine and as such I am able to identify and add supplements that are safe and effective to the conventional care that my patients are already receiving.

I encourage my MD and DO colleagues to refer their patients to my office, or to one of the other 12 offices in the country that staff a Naturopathic Doctor and Fellow of the American Board of Naturopathic Oncology rather than deny their patients the benefits of our collaboration. We must not refuse to inform our patients of their every option and resource and we must not leave them alone to self-medicate with potentially dangerous alternative treatments.

Imagine a healthcare system in which Licensed Naturopathic Physicians and Conventional Physicians provided co-managed care to their patients. What would that look like?

Here is just one example:

Because of the open collaboration between a Medical Oncologist and me, a lung cancer patient felt comfortable to disclose “alternative” products with which she was self-medicating. With my training, I was able to convince her to come off of herbs and supplements such as Ginkgo, Echinacea, and Ginseng that would have compromised her condition and treatment. My colleague chose Cisplatin and Etoposide as her potentially life-saving chemotherapy treatments. Then I prescribed individualized and appropriate doses of Astragalus, Vitamin E, L-Glutamine, L-Carnitine and a B-complex with B-6, a combination that has been proven safe for her particular treatment and considerably limited the cognitive impairment and peripheral neuropathy common with this chemotherapy. The patient was able to experience both the life-saving benefits of chemotherapy and a higher quality of life that ultimately enabled her to finish her treatment.