Taking Charge of Your Health

There are many ways that women can benefit
by working with a naturopathic doctor while they’re going through breast cancer treatment
and then after as well. One of the main things that naturopathic physicians
are trained to do is to make sure the things they’re eating, the supplements that they’re
taking, the herbs that they’re taking are not going to interfere with their treatment.
The worst thing in the world you want to do is make a decision that is as difficult as
saying yes to surgery and then take too much vitamin E because you think it’s good for
wound healing and then have too much bleeding. Or for example take something like milk thistle
or St. John’s Wort right before surgery and have it interfere with the anesthesia. We
also, when people get into taking chemotherapy, each drug is a very different medication and
it works differently within our bodies. There is a way to identify how you will work with
those medications by looking at your liver detoxification pathways. A naturopathic doctor
will know when somebody should use certain things to help reduce side effects to the
medication and when they should not. Certain supplements are not safe to be taken before,
during and after treatment, so we would avoid those. They would either interfere with the
liver’s ability to use the medication or they might simply distract the body or add to the
burden the liver or the kidneys would have from the medication. So somethings on a list
we would give the same day. Other supplements or herbs we would give maybe for a few days
before and after. If someone’s having low energy and they wanted to take a nutritional
supplement such as Rhodiola or if they wanted to take astragalus for their white blood cells,
the Coriolus versicolor mushroom, we might want to avoid those during treatment and do
them two days before and two days after to not interfere with medication. And then if
they’re finished with their surgery and/or chemo and/or radiation, if they have estrogen
receptor positive cancer they would be encouraged to consider Tamoxifen or Raloxifene if they’re
premenopausal or the aromatase inhibitors if they’re postmenopausal. And there are now
research studies that show things that enhance the effect of those such as black cohosh,
the flaxseeds, indole 3 carbinol, those have been found in research studies to be what
we call synergistic with tamoxifen. We would also encourage women to look at, when they’re
done and they’re going to be on their own, we would then want them to consider treating
the underlying cause of the cancer at that time using naturopathic medicine.

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