Q&A About Cancer
What is cancer?
Cancer is the general name for a group of more than 100 diseases in which cells in various parts of the body begin to grow out of control. Although there are many kinds of cancer, they all start because abnormal cells grow out of control. Untreated cancers can cause serious illness and even death.
“Fairy tales are more than true; not because they tell us that dragons exist, but because they tell us that dragons can be beaten.” ~ G. K. Chesterton
How does cancer spread?
Metastatic cancer is cancer that has spread from the place where it first started to another place in the body. A tumor formed by metastatic cancer cells is called a metastatic tumor or a metastasis. The process by which cancer cells spread to other parts of the body is also called metastasis. Metastatic cancer has the same name and the same type of cancer cells as the original, or primary, cancer. For example, breast cancer that spreads to the lung and forms a metastatic tumor is metastatic breast cancer, not lung cancer
Can any type of cancer form a metastatic tumor?
Most cancers, including cancers of the blood and the lymphatic system (leukemia, mmultiple myeloma, lymphoma), can form metastatic tumors. Cancer cells travel through the blood and lymphatic systems and establish themselves in other tissues and organs of the body.
Where does cancer spread?
The most common sites of cancer metastasis are the bones, liver, lungs and brain. Although most cancers have the ability to spread to many different parts of the body, they generally spread to one site more often than others.
How is cancer diagnosed?
If your doctor suspects cancer, you are likely to need more tests, such as x-rays, blood tests, or a biopsy. In most cases, a biopsy is the only way to be sure whether cancer is present. To perform a biopsy, a tissue sample is taken from area of abnormality and sent to the lab. A pathologist (a doctor who specializes in diagnosing diseases through the evaluation of tissues) then looks at the cells under a microscope to see if cancer cells are present. If there are cancer cells present, the pathologist evaluates what type of cancer it is and whether it is likely to grow slowly or more quickly.
How is cancer treated?
Surgery, chemotherapy and radiation are the mainstays of current conventional cancer treatment. A person with cancer may have any or all of these treatments or may be in a process called “watchful waiting.” (At Pacific Naturopathic, we prefer the term “active vigilance”).
Other kinds of treatment you might hear about include hormone therapy, stem cell or bone marrow transplant, and immunotherapy. Hormone therapy is sometimes used to treat certain kinds of prostate and breast cancers. Immunotherapy is treatment designed to boost the patient’s own immune system to help fight the cancer.
How do cancer cells survive?
Cancer steals nourishment from healthy cells, weakening the overall system. To continue to survive and multiply, cancer cells need glucose – sugar! The ketogenic diet, and other diets which are very low in sugar and simple carbohydrates, rely on this knowledge and attempt to starve the cancer cells.
Does heat affect cancer cells?
Yes, cancer cells are susceptible to heat. Administering heat to cancer cells may help shrink cancerous tumors. A practical application is through the use of Far Infrared Sauna.
How long does the treatment program take?
In truth, once you have had cancer, it is important to stay vigilant and proactive. A health maintenance program is lifelong. Insofar as concerns your time at Pacific Naturopathic, each patient receives individualized care. Your current health status, your needs, and your response to both conventional and adjunctive therapies will dictate the time you spend. After an initial intensive period, the doctors at Pacific Naturopathic will sit with you and develop an ongoing plan to help you remain vital, energetic and cancer-free.
How will I know if the program is working?
If you are currently undergoing conventional treatment, or have been treated conventionally in the past, your doctors will have asked you to schedule evaluations at certain time intervals. These tests might include PET scans, MRIs, and other imaging, as well as blood tests. At Pacific Naturopathic, we may monitor through additional tests with specialty laboratories and diagnostics. You may also know that a program is working when your energy improves, your thoughts become clearer, you find yourself happier, healthier and more at peace.
Does the program work for everyone?
Patients come to Pacific Naturopathic in varying stages of many different types of cancer, having had a variety of treatments prior to starting their treatment with us and concurrently with our treatment. Pacific Naturopathic is a center for adjunctive cancer care. We treat the whole person. We consider that the program works when it results in a happier and healthier life with improved quality of life. Whether or not a cancer goes into remission or is cured depends on a multitude of factors.
What types of cancer do you see at Pacific Naturopathic ?
Our intensive adjunctive cancer program can offer something to you, regardless of the type or stage of cancer and whether you are currently receiving conventional care from your oncologist.
How much does the program at Pacific Naturopathic cost?
Medical fees vary based on the patient’s specific needs and the extent of the therapeutic program recommended by Hernandez Center doctors. The staff at Pacific Naturopathic will assist you in working out a program that works for you.
Do you accept insurance?
Due to the alternative nature of our practice, insurance carriers specifically do not cover certain services, such as intravenous therapies, breast thermography, and specialized laboratory testing. However, more and more preferred provider insurance plans do cover some portion of our office visits. Upon request, we provide an appropriately coded superbill for potentially reimbursable services. You can submit the superbill to your insurance plan.