February is National Cancer Prevention month. Did you know that according to the American Cancer Society, at least 42% of newly diagnosed cancer cases in the US (approximately 797,000 people in 2021) are potentially avoidable?1 Annual cancer screenings, knowing your family history and risk factors, paying attention to good nutrition, and having regular physical activity are all important in cancer prevention.
Hi! I’m Dr. Sandy Colvard, ND, FABNO, and I am thrilled to have joined the Nourish family of practitioners! As a Naturopathic Doctor with a specialty in oncology, I have seen many cancer patients and a wide variety of cancers. During my time working in cancer hospitals, I have seen what Naturopathic interventions can do to improve patient outcomes and enhance recovery from surgery, radiation, and chemotherapies.
What’s a FABNO?
A question I receive often is “what is FABNO?” It means I’m a Fellow of the American Board of Naturopathic Oncology. In other words, I have completed many hundreds of hours (and many years) of work, both in private practice and in hospital settings, and have passed a rigorous board exam to qualify for this designation. The research, understanding and treatments for cancer are constantly evolving – therefore, the FABNO title also indicates that I strive to stay abreast of the latest research and new conventional therapies, as well as the safety and efficacy of any natural/holistic/alternative treatments that are offered around the globe.
What do Naturopathic Oncologists do exactly?
Naturopathic Doctors who are trained in integrative cancer care play an important role in the support of patients, from the newly diagnosed with cancer to survivorship (after treatment). We provide evidence-based guidance on safe and effective use of natural/holistic therapies that can be combined with conventional treatments. Combining naturopathic treatments with conventional medicine supports the pursuit of the best possible outcome for each patient. We also provide mind/body support and protocols for the family and patient caregivers during the treatment process.
What is my approach to cancer prevention and/or support during cancer treatments?
I always emphasize a holistic approach and, by following my Naturopathic principles, treat each patient as an individual – listening to and always taking the patient’s concerns into account with any treatment protocol. Here are some of the areas I focus on with any patient:
- Emphasize prevention for any patient who is motivated to reduce their overall risk of any cancer via:
- Healthy Lifestyle modifications
- Understanding your personal/family risk factors
- Reducing overall inflammation and stressors wherever possible
- For patients who may be in treatment or have completed treatment:
- Boost and sustain the immune system and reduce inflammation
- Support the body to heal quickly after surgery
- Safely reduce the side effects of radiation, chemotherapy, and other pharmaceutical therapies
- Support each patient through all the mental, emotional, and spiritual stressors
- Develop individualized protocols after cancer treatment is complete in order to reduce the risk of recurrence
Whether I am working with a patient on cancer prevention or supporting a patient during/after treatment, I feel my goal is to work with the patient – discovering what protocols align with each patient’s lifestyle and life goals/desires. This is your journey in life – my job is to be a knowledgeable, supportive partner in your quest to be healthy, vibrant, and happy.