Integrated Cancer Medicine needs Integrated Participants

Integrated Cancer Medicine needs Integrated Participants – by Pip Cornall

Grace Gawler’s cancer work which began when her boyfriend, Ian Gawler, lost his leg to bone cancer was a blend of conventional and alternative medicine –  Now with 35 years of cancer experience behind her, Grace describes her work as integrated cancer support medicine and is known for this approach within the medical community.

But not every integrative cancer practitioner practices proper integrative medicine.  Too often we hear ‘alternative’ describing conventional cancer medicines as ‘ slash, burn and poison.’  I’ve heard such put downs even  coming from those who call themselves ‘integrative.’

So what is needed to end the polarization between the cancer healing medicines? This is our goal at our new Grace Gawler Institute for Integrated cancer Solutions.

Integrated Cancer Medicine is touted as a ‘new paradigm,’ and indeed it offers a lot of hope! At our centre—The Grace Gawler Institute for Integrated Cancer Solutions we have a strong focus on ‘integrated cancer medicine,’ but sadly we’ve seen that many integrated cancer practitioners are not practicing integrative medicine—and may not even know it.

Generally speaking many new paradigms fail because the participants have not been able to change age old behaviour—despite good intentions. What we often get is new paradigm talk riddled with old paradigm behaviour—quite misleading and ultimately dangerous to cancer patients. Personal change is required by all participants involved in integrative medicine but personal change is hard work no matter what discipline we are talking about – medicine, politics, law, education and so on.

For change of this nature to work a critical mass of ‘integrated participants’ is required—people who can act ‘be self discerning’ on a behavioural level.  This includes not just the practitioners of conventional and alternative medicine following an integrative model but the patients and the even the media who promote a treatment type.

The present polarisation between conventional medicine and alternative treatments is wide. It’s an ‘either/or’ mindset. Actually many of us need to find ‘integration’ at a higher level of human wisdom than either side has yet achieved to date. It requires us to find that within ourselves.

Even well meaning friends of cancer patients need to become more responsible, more aware of bias when passing on news of today’s new whiz-bang cancer cure. At this level of awareness the friend would realise that only skilled cancer professionals have the ability to discern whether a cancer cure claim is sufficiently evidence based and peer reviewed to warrant further investigation.

Most people need to be very well educated to achieve this—websites promoting alternative ‘cancer cures’ are increasingly sophisticated and appear to have good evidence backing their claims—it often takes someone with a science background and in depth knowledge of cancer.

Most people will steer their friends in the direction of their bias—alternative or conventional. I’ve observed more naturopaths making this mistake than I have conventional practitioners but the latter group seem more willing to take a team approach. Team play is the key and that means reliable record keeping and sharing.

The best resolution of the cancer healing wars—as some have called it, is not to be found through polarisation or ‘demonising.’ While some aspects of ‘big pharma’ are money driven, what we’ve witnessed in ‘big alternative’ or ‘big nature cure’ can be just as greedy.

Nor is the solution to be found in compromise. The real challenge is for both sides to work together toward integration at that higher level where opposites no longer seem so irrevocably opposed, where the expressions of alternative cancer medicine and the requirements of our established western or conventional cancer medicine achieve a fuller harmony—this is complementary of integrated medicine.

In an integrated and mature cancer aware world, friends, public media promoting cancer cures would be equally responsible knowing that the wrong information can cause harm, even death to cancer patients.

Note; I borrowed for some of my post from Andrew Smookler’s article  click here
Andrew has written eloquently on the topic of integration.

FOOTNOTE Grace Gawler, a vegetarian from age five,  worked part time in a veterinary clinic while still at junior high school.  Thus the vegetarian interested in health and natural treatments became grounded in science, pathology, bio-chemistry, anatomy and so on. When she could, she adopted an integrative approach in her work with animals.