The Role of Naturopathic Medicine in Cancer Care

Over 1.5 million people are diagnosed with cancer every year in the Unites States. More than 80% of cancer patients incorporate natural medicine in their treatment. Join the AANMC and Oncology Association of Naturopathic Physicians President – Dr. Heather Wright to learn about naturopathic approaches to cancer care.

Here’s what will be discussed:
-Defining naturopathic medicine  and naturopathic oncology
-Patient statistics for naturopathic cancer care
-Training and goals of naturopathic oncology
-Research
-Case studies

*Webinar does not qualify for CE

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To view the archive of past webinar recordings, please click here.


About the Presenter

Heather Wright, ND, FABNO is president of the Oncology Association of Naturopathic Physicians (OncANP) and co-research director for the KNOW project – a searchable database of integrative oncology clinical trials. Dr. Wright is board certified in naturopathic oncology with 12 years of experience working in hospital-based oncology teams and 14 years in clinical practice. During her career, Dr. Wright became an expert in the co-management of pancreatic cancer and on intravenous vitamin C for people with advanced cancer. As a specialist in naturopathic oncology, Dr. Wright has worked diligently with countless families to improve quality of life and longevity.

Dr. Wright is a volunteer and clinical board member for Gilda’s club and Cancer Support Community and is a lecturer, writer, and consultant for research and publication project in integrative oncology. Dr. Wright has published articles on intravenous vitamin C as supportive care in Current Oncology, on the power of the placebo effect in The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine and on tools for integrating natural approaches into conventional care for pancreatic cancer in Natural Medicine Journal. Dr. Wright also consults with organizations to incorporate integrative providers and approaches into clinical settings.

In 2017, Dr. Wright founded Good Apple Wellness, located in Philadelphia, PA which offers private consultations for integrative care and provides specialized expertise for families affected by cancer. Dr. Wright works with clients in person and by tele-consultation.

Dr. Wright is a graduate of Bastyr University.

Register Now!

*The information you submit in this registration will be used to inform you of updates to this event and will enroll you in the AANMC newsletter. The AANMC values your privacy. Please see how we protect your data in our privacy policy .

Dr. Heather Wright – Bastyr

“I chose to pursue naturopathic medicine out of a deep sense of knowing that nature is the best medicine and that food, plants and our environment are integral to human health. I saw a direct relationship between how people lived and how they experienced health.”

Laying the groundwork to become an ND

Following in her great grandmother’s footsteps, Heather Wright, ND, FABNO started her career as a midwife. While completing a pre-medical program with her head set on obstetrics and gynecology, she soon learned that her heart was elsewhere. Her medical education “seemed to leave a huge gap for working with people to build health rather than just address pathology” – that gap was filled by naturopathic medicine.

“I chose to pursue naturopathic medicine out of a deep sense of knowing that nature is the best medicine and that food, plants and our environment are integral to human health. I saw a direct relationship between how people lived and how they experienced health.”

Bastyr as a springboard

“I explored each of the school options but decided I would go to Seattle first, and truthfully, that was that! I saw the food and medicine gardens, the St. Edwards parkland that the school is set on, the lake, the trails – it was all so beautiful. I knew it was the right place for me!”

“Through the great experience of the Bastyr naturopathic and traditional Chinese medicine programs, I learned that people have their own wisdom about their bodies and tend to know more about themselves than their doctor. If they share that knowledge with a respectful provider, we can do our work.” This patient doctor relationship is “the heart of naturopathic medicine.”

Furthermore, “I learned my own strength and independence as a person and doctor, and to trust that I was strong, smart and intuitive.”

Naturopathic medicine with a focus on oncology

After graduation Dr. Wright’s friend invited her to learn more about her Seattle-based naturopathic oncology team. Her friend taught her about mindfulness meditation, relaxation practices, and oncology patient care.

Not long after, Dr. Wright began networking in her hometown hospital in upstate New York. The hospital was hoping to build an integrative program and invited her to give a presentation to the board on what naturopathic medicine could offer.

“I pulled out all the stops to put together resources for how they could hire me and what I could do for the community.”

Dr. Wright’s first cancer patient was a member of her community – a young man with stage IV lung cancer and a father of two young children. She incorporated natural therapies along with conventional treatment which provided relief from treatment side effects and improved his quality of life. Dr. Wright learned about his desire to stop treatment and live out his life during their guided breathing meditations. He was continuing treatment because he was worried about his children’s future should he pass away. Dr. Wright worked with the patient and his social worker to prepare a plan. In doing so, he reconnected with his sister and asked that she become his children’s caretaker. This experience opened Dr. Wright’s eyes to the whole-person approach to cancer care – not only did his physical health need to be addressed; it was just as important to provide support for his emotional and spiritual well-being.

After two years in the New York hospital, Dr. Wright learned about plans to develop an integrative team in the Philadelphia Cancer Treatment Centers of America hospital. She joined the team and began deepening her knowledge of oncology specific care.

“I believed our profession could integrate into health care and wanted to work in hospital setting as well as in private practice. I saw that the successful physicians in the naturopathic profession were contributing from academic and clinical posts and leading initiatives that help bring clinical integrative medicine forward. My skills in research and writing were part of what helped me navigate beyond clinical care to enrich my career. As physicians we have a responsibility to continue learning – not just for our CE’s and to maintain licensure but because there may be new therapies and approaches (or old ones) that we can apply in clinical care to benefit our patients.”

Today, Dr. Wright is a board certified in naturopathic oncologist and President of the Oncology Association of Naturopathic Physicians (OncANP). She is also the co-research director for the KNOW project – a searchable database of integrative oncology clinical trials. Throughout her career, Dr. Wright has become an expert in the co-management of pancreatic cancer and on intravenous vitamin C for people with advanced cancer. As a specialist in naturopathic oncology, Dr. Wright has worked diligently with countless families to improve quality of life and longevity.

Dr. Wright is a volunteer and clinical board member for Gilda’s club and Cancer Support Community and is a lecturer, writer, and consultant for research and publication project in integrative oncology. She has published articles on intravenous vitamin C as supportive care in Current Oncology, on the power of the placebo effect in The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine and on tools for integrating natural approaches into conventional care for pancreatic cancer in Natural Medicine Journal. Dr. Wright also consults with organizations to incorporate integrative providers and approaches into clinical settings.

Additionally, Dr. Wright is taking business courses and creating a business plan for an integrative oncology clinic with her pharmacist business partner. Their intention is to establish an infusion center that offers multidisciplinary integrative care.

Finding fulfillment as an ND

“I am passionate about helping folks find balance, teaching nutrition, and teaching patients about their organs of digestion. I’m also passionate about growing naturopathic medicine through residency training.”

Dr. Wright’s Philadelphia-based private practice Good Apple Wellness offers integrative care through in person and tele-consultations with specialized expertise on families affected by cancer. She has a large referral network including nutritionists, counselors, acupuncturists and has built relationships with several oncology providers. She balances her family life as the mother of two while seeing patients four days per week.

In her spare time Dr. Wright enjoys gardening vegetables and herbs. Every summer she looks forward to spending time with her family in upstate New York on the St. Lawrence River.

Advice for aspiring NDs

“Naturopathic medicine is a rewarding profession that enriches the mind, body and spirit of providers and patients. Through your education you will have the opportunity to experience healing in your own life and to build a solid foundation in the medical art. Explore the different facets of naturopathic medicine as well as traditional Chinese medicine and acupuncture to determine if those meet your interest and long-term goals to use as tools as a provider. Be prepared to trust your intuition and that of the patient as well as the clinical data and traditional knowledge about conditions and therapeutics. Work hard to keep life in balance. This may need to be revisited several times throughout your career as you fine tune a good life.”

CLICK HERE to watch Dr. Wright’s naturopathic oncology webinar on-demand!

Learn more about Dr. Wright

www.goodapplewellness.com 

www.oncanp.org

www.knowoncology.com

Learn More About Becoming a Naturopathic Doctor

Receive information from the accredited schools of your choice located across North America!

Dr. Wright’s published Articles

Klimant E, Wright H, Rubin D, Seely D, Markman M. Intravenous vitamin C in the supportive care of cancer patients: a review and rational approach. Current Oncology. 2018;25(2):139-148.  https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/29719430

Green J, Wright H. From Bench to Bedside: Converting Placebo Research into Belief Activation. The Journal of Complementary and Alternative Medicine 2017; 23(8): 575-580. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28719223

Wright H, Samson K. Evidence based treatment of digestive symptoms in pancreatic cancer patients. Natural Medicine Journal 2016;8(8). http://www.naturalmedicinejournal.com/journal/2016-08/evidence-based-treatment-digestive-symptoms-pancreatic-cancer-patients

Green J, Seely D, Wright H. Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer and Naturopathic Oncology: Maximizing outcomes using KNOWoncology.org Part 1. NDNR.  Nov 1 2017. https://ndnr.com/oncology/non-small-cell-lung-cancer-nsclc-naturopathic-oncology/

Green J, Seely D, Wright H. Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer and Naturopathic Oncology: Maximizing outcomes using KNOWoncology.org Part 2. NDNR.  Dec 1 2017.

https://ndnr.com/oncology/nsclc-naturopathic-oncology-maximizing-outcomes-using-knowoncology-org-part-2/

Schor J, Wright H. Review: Artificial Light at Night Increases Breast Cancer Risk. Natural Medicine Journal April 2017; (9) 41: 24-26 (suppl). http://www.pageturnpro.com/CHAT-Inc/78146-April-2017-Womens-Health-Special-Issue/default.html#page/1

The Future is Bright for Naturopathic Medicine

The future of naturopathic medicine is bright!

In the past decade or so, healthcare has changed immensely. From legislation to technological advances, it’s definitely a “brave new world” in healthcare. It should come as no surprise that students are flocking to these careers and the schools that provide training in these areas. Healthcare is moving in a different direction when it comes to how a patient’s treatment is approached. Health services are now being delivered by a team of professionals instead of just one lead provider. Part of that team approach includes naturopathic doctors who can help treat a variety of issues. That’s why naturopathic medicine is a great option for those who want to have a direct impact on the health of others.

ND Job Outlook

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, eleven of the top twenty fastest growing occupations are in health-related fields. Traditional healthcare is not the only field that is growing rapidly. Naturopathic medicine will add 24,000 potential new jobs this year and the growth rate is expected to continue at an almost steady 10% per year. In fact, naturopathic medicine is now rated as having an “excellent” career outlook. Health Careers websites report that “the projection for making a prosperous living in this field are excellent for the foreseeable future. Naturopathic medicine continues to gain acceptance and recognition throughout the United States and Canada.

This trend in healthcare is largely due to the fact that Americans as a whole are beginning to turn a corner on their health and realize they need to make significant changes to their lifestyle. For instance, the CDC has recently reported that roughly 30 million Americans have diabetes, but another 84 million are “pre-diabetic”. As a result of this news, many people are looking to eat healthier and live more naturally, including seeking naturopathic options in healthcare.

As a sign that naturopathic medicine is growing, take the recent results of a survey of healthcare providers that showed “twenty-eight prominent health systems, hospitals, and cancer treatment centers now have one or more licensed naturopathic doctors on staff at their facilities”. Many states are now offering pathways for students of naturopathy to become fully licensed naturopathic doctors. For students who are interested in becoming a naturopathic doctor, the path is rigorous, and worthwhile. It includes a doctoral-level program accredited by the Council of Naturopathic Medical Education which comprises four-years of post-graduate work.

Is a Career in Naturopathic Medicine Right for You?

Naturopathic medical schools across the country are looking for new applicants to their programs. But is a career in naturopathic medicine a good fit for you? To be certain a career in this field is right for you, take a look at the guiding principles of a naturopathic doctor:

• First, do no harm: Utilize the most natural, least invasive and least toxic therapies.
• The healing power of nature: Trust in the body’s inherent wisdom to heal itself.
• Identify and treat the causes: Look beyond the symptoms to the underlying cause.
• Physician as teacher: Educate patients in the steps to achieving and maintaining health.
• Treat the whole person: View the body as an integrated whole in all its physical and spiritual dimensions.
• Prevention: Focus on overall health, wellness and disease prevention.

In order to be a successful naturopathic doctor, students must have a strong interest and affinity in science. Besides knowing and understanding evidence-based science, students should be able to think in a complex manner about multiple causes for health problems. A sense of community and commitment to volunteerism is also important, as many naturopathic doctors provide a valuable link to natural medicine for the underserved. Having good communication skills as a naturopathic physician is vitally important. Becoming an educator to those in the community about how to care for themselves is a significant aspect of the naturopathic career.

What Specialty Fields are Available for Students?

Just as with traditional medicine, naturopathic doctors may want to specialize in certain fields. Future naturopathic doctors could choose to narrow their focus of practice to include one of the following:

Cancer Treatment—This growing health concern has shown promise of treatment using naturopathic techniques as presented by the Oncology Association of Naturopathic Physicians (OncANP).

Environmental Medicine—If you are interested in focusing on the environmental causes of health care problems, then this specialty, promoted by the Naturopathic Association of Environmental Medicine (NAEM), is worth consideration.

Gastroenterology—With the obesity problem becoming larger every year, this field focuses on digestion and intestinal issues. The Gastroenterology Association of Naturopathic Physicians (GastroANP) is devoted to this discipline.

Generative Medicine—The use of gene expression and its connection with the patient’s environment is behind this particular specialty that is fostered by the Institute of Naturopathic Generative Medicine (INGM).

Homeopathic Medicine—Small doses of a substance can be used to help the body bolster its own healing abilities is a promising specialty promoted by the Homeopathic Academy of Naturopathic Physicians (HANP).

Hormone TherapyThe Endocrinology Association of Naturopathic Physicians (EndoANP) is helping train doctors to treat different diseases and ailments by treating the endocrine system which regulates hormones.

Midwifery—Holistic natural childbirth is changing the way that women view the entire birthing experience. As such, the American Association of Naturopathic Midwives (AANM) is promoting this exciting new field that also helps treat infertility among couples.

Parenteral Therapy—This field (also known as intravenous therapy) is headed by the Academy for Parenteral Therapies (APT) which seeks to treat a variety of healthcare problems with the IV administration of vitamins and minerals.

Pediatrics—If you are looking to help guide children down the path to a lifetime of good health, then pediatrics is the field for you. The Pediatric Association of Naturopathic Physicians (PedANP) Is dedicated to this specialty.

As with traditional medicine, there are numerous specialties for NDs. The more patients learn about their own health and the causes of their problems, the more they will continue to seek out naturopathic treatments that blend mind, body, and spirit, in healing the whole person. That is why naturopathic medicine is an exciting, vibrant field for those looking to make a difference.

Learn More About Becoming a Naturopathic Doctor

Receive information from the accredited schools of your choice located across North America!