Naturopathic Oncology Care for Pediatric Cancers: A Practice Survey
The majority of pediatric oncology patients report use of complementary and alternative medicine. Some naturopathic doctors (NDs) provide supportive pediatric oncology care; however, little information exists to formally describe this clinical practice. A survey was conducted with members of the Oncology Association of Naturopathic Physicians (OncANP.org) to describe recommendations across four therapeutic domains: natural health products (NHPs), nutrition, physical medicine, and mental/emotional support.
We had 99 respondents with a wide variance of clinical experience and aptitude to treat children with cancer. Of the majority (52.5%) of respondents who choose not to treat these children, the three primary reasons for this are lack of public demand (45.1%), institutional or clinic restrictions (21.6%), and personal reasons/comfort (19.6%). The 10 most frequently considered NHPs by all NDs are fish-derived omega-3 fatty acid (83.3%), vitamin D (83.3%), probiotics (82.1%), melatonin (73.8%), vitamin C (72.6%), homeopathic Arnica (69.0%), turmeric/curcumin (67.9%), glutamine (66.7%), Astragalus membranaceus (64.3%), and Coriolus versicolor/PSK (polysaccharide K) extracts (61.9%). The top 5 nutritional recommendations are anti-inflammatory diets (77.9%), dairy restriction (66.2%), Mediterranean diet (66.2%), gluten restriction (61.8%), and ketogenic diet (57.4%). The top 5 physical modality interventions are exercise (94.1%), acupuncture (77.9%), acupressure (72.1%), craniosacral therapy (69.1%), and yoga (69.1%). The top 5 mental/emotional interventions are meditation (79.4%), art therapy (77.9%), mindfulness-based stress reduction (70.6%), music therapy (70.6%), and visualization therapy (67.6%).
The results of our clinical practice survey highlight naturopathic interventions across four domains with a strong rationale for further inquiry in the care of children with cancer.
Athanasios Psihogios, ND, Jullie K. Ennis, PhD, Dugald Seely, ND, M.Sc.
Integrative Cancer Therapies
Integrative Cancer Therapies Volume 18: 1–12