What Happens When a Person Is Diagnosed with Cancer?

In Colleen Huber by Colleen Huber, NMD

Colleen Huber, NMD

“The Constitution of this Republic should make special provision for medical freedom… Unless we put medical freedom into the Constitution the time will come when medicine will organize into an undercover dictatorship and force people who want doctors and treatment of their own choice to submit to only what the dictating outfit offers.”

Benjamin Rush, MD, 1745 – 1813
Colonial Physician and Signer of the U.S. Declaration of Independence

Chemotherapy oncologists tell a new patient:  “Chemotherapy and radiation are the only options available to you.  Nothing else will work against your cancer.”   And they hear, “Your cancer is especially sensitive to chemotherapy.  In the particular kind of cancer that you have, natural treatments do not work.”

How do I, a naturopathic oncologist, know that cancer patients routinely hear the above lines?  Because regardless of type or stage of cancer, almost all cancer patients who come to see me tell me that this is what the oncologist told them.  It’s kind of strange that everybody supposedly has the particular type of cancer that chemo would be great for and natural treatments would be bad for.

Then the patient is scheduled to begin chemotherapy treatments promptly.  The patient is not offered any of the following:

  • The opportunity to take time to look into alternative treatments for cancer,
  • The opportunity to get a second opinion from a different doctor,
  • The opportunity to simply take time off and think about how to proceed.

The rush job of hurrying as many possible customers into the maws of the cancer machine, the chemotherapy industry, which is a $100 billion dollar industry in the US[1], deprives patients of the opportunity to step back and assess their options.

In fact, the diagnosis and treatment of cancer are so rushed, that these often happen on consecutive days: “You will begin chemotherapy tomorrow.”  And, “No you can’t postpone chemo, because your insurance is already being billed for it.”

Said the spider to the fly.

Naturopathic physicians on the other option observe a higher standard of medicine than this kind of coercion.  Because licensed naturopathic physicians were trained, examined and licensed in both natural and conventional medicine, it is our practice to tell people about BOTH their conventional medicine options AND their natural medicine options.  Naturopathic physicians have approximately twice as many classroom hours and twice as many courses in medical schools as medical doctors.[2]  This is because we are required to rise to the standards of, and are licensed for, practicing both conventional medicine and natural medicine.  This is a much better basis from which to help the patient choose appropriate treatment than someone who was schooled in only one type of medicine.

It is also very important to naturopathic physicians to honor patients’ treatment choices.  There are naturopathic physicians who look to the American Association of Physicians and Surgeons for their honoring of patient rights[3] and these have been incorporated into some naturopathic physicians’ Informed Consent forms, in order to re-affirm patient rights.[4]

  • To seek consultation with the physician(s) of their choice;
  • To contract with their physician(s) on mutually agreeable terms;
  • To be treated confidentially, with access to their records limited to those involved in their care or designated by the patient;
  • To use their own resources to purchase the care of their choice;
  • To refuse medical treatment even if it is recommended by their physician(s);
  • To be informed about their medical condition, the risks and benefits of treatment and appropriate alternatives;
  • To refuse third-party interference in their medical care

[1] http://www.cnbc.com/2016/06/02/the-worlds-2015-cancer-drug-bill-107-billion-dollars.html

[2] http://naturopathicstandards.org/naturopathic-medical-education-a-comprehensive-curriculum/

[3] American Association of Physicians and Surgeons.  All patients should be guaranteed the following freedoms . . . http://aapsonline.org/patient-bill-rights/

[4] https://www.natonco.org/informed-consent