In the second installment in this series, we’re taking a look at how cancer is addressed in a functional medicine setting. Although we don’t directly treat cancer in our Montana wellness center, we do believe that working with a functional medicine practice during treatment can greatly benefit a patient’s overall health throughout the process. Keep reading to learn more about risk factors, which can help in prevention, as well as how functional medicine understands cancer.
Functional Medicine at a Montana Wellness Center
Donna Kay Jennings has been a registered nurse since 1973. During the first thirty years of her career, she worked in a traditional allopathic setting. About ten years ago, she decided to go back to school and become a nurse practitioner.
She chose psychiatry as a specialty because she saw there was a huge need in this area. While the causes of death remain largely the same in the psychiatric population as in the typical population, the median reduction in life expectancy for people with mental illness worldwide is ten years, attributed to chronic co-morbid conditions.
After she was awarded her psychiatry nurse practitioner degree, she started practicing functional medicine at a Montana wellness center, specifically focusing on psychiatry. Over the course of her training, she developed a passion for treating chronic health conditions. After all, the brain is attached to the body, and so, when patients come to our practice with a brain condition, we must also heal the body.
She came to understand that if you don’t heal the body, total remission from psychiatric problems is not possible. As her understanding has progressed, her passion—for treating all kinds of people—has grown and grown over the years.
As she has learned more about functional medicine, she became particularly interested in how simple and inexpensive it is to treat chronic health conditions functionally, versus the allopathic, traditional way in which pharmaceutical drugs are used—and which costs billions of dollars.
The Top Causes of Death
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) usually provides a list of the top causes of death each year. The positions on the list change from time to time and vary by age. On the CDC website, you can view the statistics in detail. In this section, I’d like to discuss the diseases most commonly found near the top of the list.
If you discard accidents, which are generally third or fourth on the list, the list is generally like this:
- Cardiovascular disease
- Respiratory conditions
In the next section, we’ll go in-depth into discussing how we address cancer, and why functional medicine at our Montana wellness center may be the best option for you.
Preventing & Addressing Cancer
Cancer is inflammation embodied. Cancer is caused by inflammation, and cancers have pervasive inflammation as a side effect.
You may be predisposed to developing cancer, but everything we’ve been talking about—diet, bugs, and toxins in the environment—may contribute to cancer, depending on the type of cancer.
To reduce your risk of cancer, focus on:
- Early intervention, including preventive screenings, such as mammography and colonoscopy
- Knowing your risks
- Living a good and healthy lifestyle
Consider, for example, the number-one cancer: lung cancer. If you eliminate smoking, cigarettes, and tobacco products, and you try to stay away from a lot of fumes from automobiles, you will reduce your cancer risk.
When a traditional doctor finds cancer, an often-used strategy is to cut it out surgically. In my functional practice, we generally don’t find cancer, but if we do, we refer the patient to an oncologist and focus our energies on helping the patient maintain the best possible health during cancer treatment.
Get on the Road to New Health With Functional Medicine at a Montana Wellness Center
When we use functional medicine at our Montana wellness center to treat chronic health conditions, we treat all conditions functionally.
What does this mean?
We take all of their symptoms and look at them in groupings. We try to figure out which organ—or organs—are involved. Then we do a full spread of tests. We do way more testing than a traditional practitioner typically does. We do very thorough lab testing, including blood, stool, genes, and more, and then we start at the root: we search for the root cause and start treatment there.
After testing the patient thoroughly, we review the symptoms and the test results from a whole-body perspective. We understand that all of the body is fully connected—the brain, the gut, all the organs, and systems. It’s all connected.
Every patient’s care is individualized, and each patient has a different treatment plan, based on the root cause of their symptoms and their particular circumstances. It’s not by the book, not by an algorithm. It is based completely on the needs of that individual patient.
As Montana’s premier wellness and medical weight loss center, we pride ourselves on meeting and treating our patients’ whole selves. Get on the road to new health today by requesting a consultation or calling us at (406) 721-2537! You can also get more information about how functional medicine can be used to effectively treat chronic conditions in Donna Kay Jennings’ book, Your Journey to New Health: Lifestyle Approaches to Address Chronic Health Conditions.