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Winnipeg breast cancer treatments

VIDEO: How to Use Naturopathic Therapies to Complement Conventional Cancer Treatments

Breast cancer treatment is often thought to consist of chemotherapy, radiation treatment or surgery and also Herceptin treatments– or a combination of these. Rarely are people aware of and fully educated about the various stages of breast cancer and the treatment options and integrative therapies that exist for each.

In this post, we outline the stages and respective treatments and feature recent case studies to highlight how patients have used integrative therapies to treat their breast cancer, whether as a complement to conventional therapies or as an integrative.

The common concern about traditional therapies such as chemotherapy, radiation, and surgery is that the side effects can be severe.

Natural and integrative treatments are highly desirable for those who wish to avoid the standard cancer treatments and their notorious side effects or wish to complement and reduce their side effects.

Integrative Medicine and Natural Breast Cancer Treatments in Canada

Regardless of the stage of breast cancer, a patient can benefit from working with a naturopathic doctor who focuses on cancer treatments.

There are five stages of breast cancer, though some have more than one variable regarding cancer growth and/or movement. The severity of the cancer is determined by various factors, including:

  1. Stage (0-4), meaning how big is the tumour and how far has it moved?
  2. Grade of the tumour, meaning how much is the tumour like a regular cell?
  3. The hormonal status of the tumour, meaning are there receptors for oestrogen and progesterone on the tumours?
  4. The HER2 status which indicates if the HER2 protein is present and whether Herceptin immunotherapy will work.

While each patient’s treatment is unique to their situation and desired line of treatment, below are some common naturopathic options:

  • In-depth intake, going over the individual goals that the patient has so that an individualized treatment plan can be created by our naturopathic doctors who have experience with naturally treating hundreds of breast cancer patients.
  • Cancer diet planning
  • Advanced naturopathic therapies (these individual therapies we can’t tell you about here, according to Health Canada guidelines. Please contact our office if you wish to receive more information).
  • Heavy metal testing and chemical carcinogen testing
  • Proper detoxification
  • The use of supplements for specific cancer treatment
  • Pre and post-surgery protocols
  • Circulatory tumour cell (CTC), and genetic testing to determine the likelihood of the spread of cancer and genetic mutations*
  • These tests are only performed by select naturopathic doctors.

IMPORTANT: Dealing with cancer is not a DIY project, and it is very important to see the professional opinions of naturopathic doctors with specific expertise in dealing with cancer.

Stage 1 Breast Cancer

Stage 1 is considered an early stage of breast cancer. It is when cancer is evident but contained to only the area where the first abnormal cells began to develop. This stage is divided into two parts: 1A and 1B.

Stage 1A breast cancer is when the tumour is 2 centimetres or smaller and has not spread to the lymph nodes.

Stage 1B is when lymph nodes have evident cancer with clusters of cells that range from 0.2 millimetres to 2 millimetres. In each level of this stage, no tumour is found in the breast.


Chemotherapy is not always used and we have had great success using naturopathic medicine alone to prevent the advancement and movement of stage 1 breast cancer.

With standard cancer care, it is common for patients to undergo surgery and radiation, or a combination of the two, however, before any treatments, options can be discussed with us to go over the best overall treatment approach for our patients.

To highlight the unique nature of each patient’s treatment plans and experiences, we’ve shared several case studies based on real patients, though their names and identifying qualities have been changed to maintain their privacy.

Stage 2 Breast Cancer

Stage 2 is when breast cancer is growing but contained in the breast or has extended to the nearby lymph nodes. Much like stage 1, this stage is divided into two levels: 2A and 2B.

Stage 2A, considered early stage, is when there is no tumour associated with the cancerous cells and fewer than four axillary lymph nodes have active cancer cells, or there is a tumour that is less than 2 centimetres and fewer than four axillary lymph nodes have cancer cells.

Stage 2B, considered locally advanced breast cancer, is when the tumour is between 2 centimetres and 5 centimetres and has spread to no fewer than four axillary lymph nodes, or the tumour is larger than 5 centimetres but has not spread to any axillary lymph nodes.


Stage 2 breast cancer is often treated with surgery. Radiation therapy is common for this stage if cancer has spread to lymph nodes.

Stage 3 Breast Cancer

Stage 3 is when the breast cancer has extended beyond the immediate region of the tumour and could have invaded nearby lymph nodes and muscles but has not spread to distant organs. The third stage, unlike the first two, is divided into three groups: 3A, 3B and 3C.

Stage 3A is when there is no actual tumour associated with the cancerous cells, or the tumour is any size and at least four of the nearby lymph nodes contain cancer. Or, stage 3A is when the tumour is larger than 5 centimetres and clusters of cancer cells found in the lymph nodes are up to 2 millimetres. Additionally, stage 3A is when the tumour is larger than 5 centimetres and cancer has spread to lymph nodes under the arm or near the breastbone.

Stage 3B is when cancer has spread to the chest wall or breast skin. It might also have affected up to nine nearby lymph nodes.

Stage 3C is when no tumour is found in the breast, or the tumour is any size and cancer might have invaded the chest wall or breast skin, affecting 10 or more lymph nodes under the arm. Or, stage 3C is when lymph nodes containing cancer extend to the collarbone area.


Stage 3 breast cancer is usually treated in a variety of ways, including a mastectomy, radiation, chemotherapy or hormone therapy. Oftentimes, patients will have a combination of these treatments and naturopathic therapies as well.

Stage 4 Breast Cancer

Stage 4 breast cancer is when cancer has spread to other areas of the body, such as the liver, lung, bone and brain. This is considered advanced breast cancer that might not always be cured, but it can be controlled for many years.


Stage 4 breast cancer treatment often depends on the hormone-receptor status and the HER2 status of cancer cells. It will also depend on where the cancer has spread and how it is affecting the patient’s overall health. Treatment can include extensive levels of hormonal therapy, chemotherapy and targeted therapy. Doctors might introduce other treatments when previous therapies stop working.

Where do we go from here?

On average, 72 Canadian women and 904 American women will be diagnosed with breast cancer every day. In Canada and the U.S., breast cancer is the most common cancer in women (not considering non-melanoma skin cancers) (Canadian Cancer Society 2017, National Cancer Institute 2018). Due to early detection of disease, and improved therapies, fewer women are dying of breast cancer. However, breast cancer is still the 2nd leading cause of death among women with cancer (Canadian Cancer Society 2017).

Are Natural Breast Cancer Treatments Right for Me?

Book an appointment or call our naturopath office today at (204) 808-3632 to discuss potential treatment options. Our experts will guide you in the right direction.

VIDEO: How to Use Naturopathic Therapies to Complement Conventional Cancer Treatments

VIDEO: How to Use Naturopathic Therapies to Complement Conventional Cancer Treatments

Want More Technical Information?

How Does Breast Cancer Form?

In order for any cancer to arise, tissues must undergo three phases of cellular changes, called initiation, promotion and progression.


Entails irreversible structural changes to DNA through substances foreign to our body (Rous and Kidd 1941, Mackenzie and Rous 1941).


On the other hand, means that once an initiator has changed the conformation of the DNA, the cells with these changes are now susceptible to the action of promoters. Up until this point, the DNA changes were passed onto daughter cells but the cell line did not display any abnormal behaviour (Rous and Kidd 1941, Mackenzie and Rous 1941). However, once a promotor causes a genetic mutation; the cell begins to exhibit the characteristics of cancer (see our What is Cancer? page for more information).


Typically, our body will sense such abnormal activity and stop the progression of these cells to cancer (Rous and Kidd 1941, Mackenzie and Rous 1941). However, in the last phase of progression, the cell line accumulates more mutations that allow for a tumour to form despite our body’s defences.

How Can We Prevent Breast Cancer?

Toxins cause cancer by modifying DNA irreversibly in the initiation and promotion phases. These DNA changes lead to the proliferation of cells, recruitment of inflammatory cells, more reactive oxygen species that damage DNA, as well as less DNA repair (Coussens and Werb 2002). As such, enhancing the body’s ability to detoxify metals and chemicals transmitted from the environment using chelation, for example, may help prevent or reduce such changes to DNA and cells.

Chemo Can Cause Aggressive Cancer Progression After Treatment

As of 2000, the NIH recommends that patients with breast cancer, after primary treatment with mastectomy or lumpectomy, be given adjuvant chemotherapy (NIH 2000). These chemotherapies include: paclitaxel, docetaxel, doxorubicin, epirubicin, cyclophosphamide, or flourouracil (5-FU). However, these chemotherapy agents cause aggressive return of cancer following treatment (Chrisanthar et al.2008, Hansen et al. 2015, Smith et al. 2006, Takahashi et al. 2013, Végran et al. 2006). Although many mechanisms are implicated in the formation of resistance, resistance mutations typically arise early on in breast stem cells (Dean et al. 2010, Lynch et al. 2006, Yagüe et al. 2007).

As well, the chemo-agent called paclitaxel is a first-line form of conventional treatment for breast cancer (Valvero and Hortobagyi 2003). However, tumours may become resistant to paclitaxel through NF-κB activation and as such, this drug is no longer able to treat advanced stages of breast cancers (Pianetti et al. 2001). Chemotherapy can be a powerful tumour inhibitor but it can cause a deadly backlash of the cancer after treatment that can lead to a more aggressive cancer with metastasis or spread later on (Aldonza, et al. 2017).

Holistic Breast Cancer Treatment to Deal With the Side-Effects of Chemotherapy

Although chemotherapy is a life-saving form of treatment, these drugs often have many side effects. A common side effect includes neurotoxicity, leading to peripheral neuropathy, which can be reduced using IV ALA therapy (Gedlicka et al. 2002 and 2003; Melli et al.2008). Furthermore, up to 50-80% of patients treated with chemotherapy will experience diarrhea (Stein et al. 2010). As such, using ALA prior to chemo-agents like methotrexate helps protect against intestinal toxicity and improve the consistency of stool (Dadhania et al. 2010). IV ALA also helps with cardiotoxicity (Al-Majed et al. 2002, Balachandar et al. 2003) and kidney damage (Malarkodi et al. 2003a, b, c, d; Murugavel and Pari 2004).

Cancer Treatments at Our Centre (International and Local Patients)

All of these naturopathic oncology treatments are available at the Centre For Natural Pain Solutions in Winnipeg, Canada. Out-of-town patients travel to Winnipeg and stay for a length of time in order to receive daily treatments at our centre. Please call our office for an appointment or to receive more information at 1-204-808-1878 or contact us via email using the contact form. We hope to see you at our centre!

Read More to Learn About These Breast Cancer Topics

If you’d like to discuss integrative breast cancer therapies for you or a loved one, please contact us today.

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