Cancer is a term that hits very close to home for a large percentage of the population. It is the general name for a group of more than 100 diseases in which cells in a part of the body begin to grow out of control.
In some areas of the world cancer is more prevalent than others. Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania is one location that would be classified as an “increased risk” area due to a number of environmental issues. This is not to say that the environment is the only source for cancer. There are a number of contributing factors to developing a this disease including family history, genetic pre-disposition, health of the diet, stress levels, proper sleeping patterns, body weight and vitamin and mineral imbalances that also play a large role. Practicing in Pittsburgh since 1998, Dr. Shaw is very familiar with the nutritional approach to treating and preventing cancer.
The Functional Medicine and Clinical Nutrition approach to treating cancer has many roles. Frequently, Dr. Shaw is part of a health care delivery team, working with your oncologist to improve your body’s ability to bounce back from the immense stress that it is under. Medications are very strong in the treatment of cancer, strong enough to destroy cancer cells and almost strong enough to kill you. Therapeutic doses of vitamins and minerals coupled with an anti-cancer diet are used to offset the damage and deficiencies that can be cause by the medication. With Functional Medicine, medical treatment times and outcomes are improved and risk factors for recurrence of cancer can often be addressed.
Another important part of theFunctional Medicine and Clinical nutritionist role is to correct the reasons that the cancer started in the first place. This accomplished, when medical treatments are done, prevention of recurring cancer cells is more likely achieved. In understanding the functional imbalance that allowed abnormal cell growth to occur, true healing at the cellular level can begin by prevention of the disease process at the root level.
What does this mean? It is of absolute importance that you, as a cancer patient, be managed and supervised by your Medical Oncology Team. They are the experts in identifying the type and location of the cancer cells and how to destroy them. Following this primary step in cancer management someone needs to pull apart why your immune system wasn’t strong enough, fast enough or smart enough to stay ahead of the abnormal cell growth. Treating the cancer cells is just the beginning. True healing is often a few steps deeper than this.
In working with a Functional Medicine Practitioner and Clinical Nutritionist you will hear the word “functional” quite a bit. What we are referring to is that not all problems that can become cancer show up in your blood work, and there may be a more subtle change in your system that is not bad enough to raise the red flags for your medical doctor.
It is important to note that when your medical history and health related goals are explored, your consultations are held directly with Dr. Shaw, not an untrained individual, a staff member, a questionnaire or a computer program. You will not be signing up for a “program” and paying money up front for services and guarantees. Your health care journey is unique to your needs.