2019 Oncology Association of Naturopathic Physicians Conference Highlights

Quality integrative oncology content delivered at annual event

By Karolyn A. Gazella

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The Oncology Association of Naturopathic Physicians (OncANP) held its annual conference this year in San Diego on February 15–17.

To set the tone of showcasing thought-provoking topics with a clinically relevant twist, clinician and cancer survivor Amy Rothenberg, ND, kicked off Day 1 of the conference by talking about how to support the patient’s “head game” during treatment and recovery. In that same vein on the other end of the spectrum, Michael Traub, ND, FABNO, ended the conference with a discussion about palliative care and end-of-life support. Everything in between was equally thought-provoking and clinically relevant.

This conference was an exceedingly rewarding experience and I look forward to seeing everyone again next year.

Day 1 also included Virender Sodhi, ND, who gave an overview of how Ayurvedic medicine is applied in oncology, as well as several informative case examples. Gurdev Parmar, ND, FABNO, shared the impressive results of 8 years of data using whole-body hyperthermia alongside conventional treatments. The afternoon featured a panel discussion of clinicians moderated by Lise Alschuler, ND, FABNO, who teased out interesting answers to difficult questions about managing patient prognosis expectations, helping patients cope with distress, and dealing with physician burnout. Before the panel discussion, Natural Medicine Journal editor Jacob Schor, ND, FABNO, who was also on the panel did an interesting and entertaining talk about the importance of laughter in cancer care.

Day 2 presentations included Mark Fontes, ND, FABNO, talking about pediatric oncology and Eva Schernhammer, MD, DrPH, who expanded our understanding of the relationships between light exposure, melatonin, and cancer. A very practical and informative lecture on the pros and cons of a ketogenic diet was covered by Miriam Kalamian, EdM, MD, CNS. That afternoon Leanna Standish, ND, PhD, FABNO, described the breast cancer outcomes from the Bastyr University/Fred Hutchinson collaboration and Geo Espinosa, ND, LAc, FABNO, from New York University, shared his prostate cancer protocols.

On Day 3 the conference wrapped up with several interesting talks, including one from Jen Green, ND, FABNO, about the cardiovascular connection to cancer. Cardiotoxicity is common among cancer survivors so Green laid out some practical red flags to look for and identified natural substances that may help prevent and even reverse cancer treatment-related cardiotoxicity.

“The content of this conference was excellent, diverse and clinically useful, while the speakers were highly engaging and informative,” said attendee Rigobert Kefferputz, ND, who is the medical director of Hyperion Integrative Health Centre in Canada. “This conference was an exceedingly rewarding experience and I look forward to seeing everyone again next year.”

This year’s conference drew more than 200 attendees and provided 18.5 available continuing education credits. In addition to the compelling content, there were many exhibit booths for attendees to visit, as well as several opportunities for networking. At this year’s conference Eric Marsden, ND, was awarded the President’s Award for his “extraordinary contribution to the naturopathic profession and to naturopathic oncology specifically as a clinician, mentor, and leader.” Marsden is the founder of the Marsden Centre for Excellence in Integrative Medicine located in Ontario, Canada.

Editor-in-Chief of the Natural Medicine Journal Tina Kaczor, ND, FABNO, attended and presented at this year’s conference. She said, “The conference content committee once again did a great job choosing clinically relevant topics for this year’s conference. This is the one conference I haven’t missed since its inception, and I never will if I can help it!”

If you were not able to attend this year’s conference, you can find conference recordings here.

The timing and venue for next year’s conference has not yet been determined. Visit oncanp.org for more information.

About the Author

Karolyn A. Gazella has been writing and publishing integrative health information since 1992. She is the publisher of the Natural Medicine Journal and the author or coauthor of hundreds of articles and several booklets and books including her latest book The Definitive Guide to Thriving After Cancer that she wrote with Lise Alschuler, ND, FABNO. Gazella is the co-creator and Chief Executive Officer of the iTHRIVE Plan, an innovative online wellness program specifically for cancer survivors.