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  • Dr. Butch Levy

Post Cancer Management

Updated: Aug 5, 2019

Well. Good morning. My name is butch Levy. I'm the senior medical practitioner at integrated medical care. The thought today is to discuss some newer concepts of supportive care for cancer. It's quite apparent that a lot of people are faced with big decisions and a lot of fear and anxiety over what to do when this type of diagnosis of cancer is made. I think that probably the most important aspect is that you have a serious oncologist that's doing serious treatment to really help you get through the issues that are going on. The job in integrative care, whether that be a medical practitioner or functional medicine doc or Chinese medicine doctor is to really help get you through and support you and help you get through the other side in a way that the quality of your life continues to remain vibrant and that you can look back and feel that treatment has been successful. I think what my job is in the practice that we have is blending the concepts of east and west and trying to help you navigate the different questions and the needed answers that you need to have and going through your treatment for the cancer. Generally when you're approaching treatment with your oncologist, the first goal is to really get you through the cancer treatments. There's an, there are certainly significant evidence that points out that if indeed you're able to receive the full dosage of chemotherapy or radiation and get through all of the designated timing and cycle that you need to have, that your chances of recovering and being successful in your treatment are improved. So anything that detracts from your ability to get your treatments or requiring you to have a smaller dose of therapy really impedes the ability to really get treated at successfully. So initially we try to help you get through the symptoms that people experience going through a lot of the different therapies, the fatigue, the sleep disorders, especially the digestive problems, which are definitely an issue and a lot of the pain and discomfort that goes with it. Oftentimes there's a combination of both supplemental vitamins, minerals, different kinds of support, and in our practice I use a great deal of Chinese medicine, both acupuncture and herbal formulas. In talking to my oncology friends, they're always that the herbal formulas have potential problems. Certainly the supply of herbs that you get from a reputable place that has no toxins is totally clean, is absolutely important. The other thing is, as I always stopped supplements and I always stop herbs at least a couple of days before and a couple of days after your therapy, which I believe allows for the ability of the chemotherapy and radiation to work better. Sometimes with daily radiation, it's hard to skip doing supplements and we try to work it in in a way that is gentle to the system, but I think that it's important that you're able to take the supplements and take the herbs because it really helps mitigate some of the effects of what's going on in the chemo. Probably the first step is to reduce the inflammation that goes on in the stomach related to a lot of therapies. Certainly there are western drugs that are very helpful. The Chinese herbs especially act to really stop the nausea and stop the vomiting. That usually goes on immediately after therapy. Following that, we want to rebuild the digestive system in between cycles of chemo so that you can continue to eat. I definitely find that if you're really not able to get the appropriate nutrition and keep your, besides your weight up, your immune system strong, it really impede your ability to both deal with the cancer and to deal with staying through the course of what of the cycles that you're taking. Most of the time food's become very important. I know my oncology friends are asking me to help because I don't find that a lot of the commercial pharmaceutical protein shakes besides having a lot of sugar are really nutritious for most patients. The idea is is that what we want to do is put you on what you can eat, but use the best kind of foods, organic foods, probably whey proteins if possible, or rice or pea protein in a shake, but to try to maintain calories, not in a way that puts on weight like with sugars and with fats that are inappropriate, but really good solid nutrition so that you can maintain. Then generally once the chemo cycles are done, we have to kind of replenish what I would say your, your immediate savings account, it's kind of the, the energy and the nutrition of the body. The CI and the blood or they're called are really diminished and those really need to be strengthened up so you can return to a quality of life where you have some energy and down the road the concept is to rejuvenate and to help you recover by using supplements, by using herbs, but that that cycle, that time is often many months, often to a year before your body is really recovered. So it's important to follow a cyclical pattern, try to get into a phase where we treat the appropriate problem that's going on at the time and then really help you return to a normal lifestyle in terms of what's going on. As we look at your issues, when you come in for initial visits, we often will kind of review, well, where did this come from? How did this happen? And these days even eating the best and doing the best with your lifestyle. We all have long histories of exposures to pollutants in the environment and pesticides in our foods and toxins in our water and the different things that we're exposed to. So on concluding your treatment, it's really important that we then address those issues of, well we got from this place to this place. So being able to evaluate, which we often do with laboratory testing and with your Chinese methodologies to figure out what can we do to actually prevent the same cycle that created the problem from occurring. It's really important to recognize that probably cutting edge medicine is moved beyond the concept that this is a genetic problem entirely. Certainly you have a propensity genetically to have situations occur. I think the most important thing to recognize though is what you're getting in your body, whether that's from the air, the water, the food, the cleaning fluids, the chemicals that I'm working on the car. All of those are sending messages to your genes to tell them do this or do that. So you might have something that's going on where you have a leaning towards something, but what you tell it to do plays in very influential role and it's absolutely essential than when things are improving that we get you into that, that lifestyle mode that we tell your genes, let's get better. Let's prevent this, let's move ahead. The other thing that's become absolutely essential is that you adopt an exercise program. I'm always not amazed, but it's kind of interesting to think that when you're tired and when the oncologist season says, oh, you're, you're really a, this is really tough. You should just rest and take it easy. Studies all show now that if you're able to actually follow a program of regular exercise, whether that means sitting in your chair and just lifting a one pound weight while you watch TV to getting out and hiking to getting out and running, all of the things you do exercise wise are going to be beneficial to your health. Everyone sees now that if you can exercise regularly, you'll get through your chemo better. You also will improve your emotional outlook and you'll also improve your immune system, so it's an integral part of our care to plan an exercise program for you. The other thing that's really important is if you're able to maintain the Diet and exercise, your chances of coming away from your cancer successfully are going to be enhanced enormously. So the new concept is you need to be involved in personal lifestyle care. We offer you some supplements. I find that acupuncture, besides being really balancing to your body, is very helpful in calming your brain, helping you sleep, improving your immune system and giving you a better sense of relaxation. The herbs are probably the only thing I know of that will actually help rebuild the system. Taking a lot of vitamins and minerals, supplements the body, but if the energetic of the body is so weak that it can't actually use the supplements, you have to strengthen it up and then you can actually work much more closely with your supplements and have them help. So this isn't my, my way is better. The oncologists way is better. It's about let's all work together with whatever will work for you on a, on a personalized level to help you be successful in treating your canceler and having a quality of life that allows you to return to the activities and the life that you're used to having.

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