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For cancer patients facing the daunting diagnosis of brain cancer, hope can sometimes feel elusive. Traditional treatments, while effective, often come with significant challenges and uncertainties. At Dr. Sean Ceaser’s Cancer Treatment Centre in Winnipeg, Manitoba, we are pioneering a unique approach that combines naturopathic therapies with standard medical care. This holistic approach aims to not only extend patients’ lives but also enhance their quality of life during treatment. In this article, we delve into the world of brain cancer treatment, exploring the possibilities offered by naturopathic medicine and showcasing remarkable success stories that defy the odds.
Introduction to Brain Cancer Treatment and Tumours
While we treat all types and stages of cancer, we want to talk about brain cancer and brain tumours in this article. We’ll start with a background and frequently asked questions about brain cancer treatment before sharing what naturopathic medicine can do to support patients who’ve been diagnosed with these types of cancer. Understanding brain cancer and brain tumours is crucial for anyone facing this diagnosis. Brain cancer is a formidable adversary, and patients often have burning questions:
What is brain cancer?
Brain cancer refers to the abnormal and uncontrollable growth of cancerous cells within the brain. These malignant cells can form tumours that may affect the normal functioning of the brain. Brain cancer can manifest in various forms, each with its unique characteristics and challenges.
What is a brain tumour?
A brain tumour is an abnormal mass or growth of cells within the brain. Tumours can be benign (non-cancerous) or malignant (cancerous). They can originate from brain tissue (primary brain tumours) or spread to the brain from other parts of the body (secondary or metastatic brain tumours).
What are the different types of grades of brain tumours?
Brain tumours are typically classified into four grades based on their level of malignancy. The grading system helps healthcare professionals determine the appropriate treatment plan and prognosis for individuals diagnosed with primary brain tumours. It considers factors such as the tumour’s growth rate, cellular abnormalities, and invasiveness. This classification system is known as the World Health Organization (WHO) grading system:
Grade I (Benign)
Grade I tumours are considered benign. They grow slowly and have well-defined borders. These tumours are less aggressive and are often treatable with surgery alone. They are less likely to invade surrounding tissues or recur after removal.
Grade II (Low-Grade or Diffuse)
Grade II tumours are also relatively slow-growing, but they exhibit some abnormal features under the microscope. They may infiltrate nearby tissues, making complete surgical removal more challenging. Treatment often involves surgery followed by radiation therapy or close monitoring.
Grade III (Anaplastic)
Grade III tumours are malignant and grow more rapidly. They have more abnormal cells and are more likely to invade surrounding brain tissue. Treatment usually includes surgery, followed by radiation therapy and chemotherapy. These tumours require more aggressive management.
Grade IV (Glioblastoma Multiforme)
Grade IV tumours are the most malignant and aggressive. Glioblastoma Multiforme (GBM) is the most common example. They grow rapidly, infiltrate extensively into healthy brain tissue, and are challenging to treat. Standard treatments for GBM include surgery, radiation therapy, and chemotherapy, but outcomes remain poor, and a cure is rarely achieved.
Can brain cancer be cured?
While some benign primary brain tumours can often be cured through surgical removal, malignant brain cancers are challenging to cure completely. However, advancements in treatments, including surgery, radiation therapy, chemotherapy, and interdisciplinary care (including naturopathic medicine) offer hope for extended survival and improved quality of life.
What is the survival rate of brain cancer treatment?
Survival rates for brain cancer treatment vary widely depending on factors like cancer type, stage, and individual patient factors. Generally, the survival rate can be modest for aggressive brain cancers, but ongoing research and innovative treatments are improving these outcomes.
What are the standard medical treatments of brain cancer and brain tumours?
Standard medical treatments for brain cancer and brain tumours typically include surgery to remove the tumour when possible, radiation therapy to target cancer cells, and chemotherapy to control brain tumour growth. Treatment plans are individualized based on the tumour’s location and grade.
What is chemotherapy, and what are its main side effects?
Chemotherapy is a cancer treatment that uses drugs to target and destroy rapidly dividing cancer cells. It can be administered orally or intravenously. Common side effects of chemotherapy include fatigue, nausea, hair loss, weakened immune system, and digestive issues. While these side effects can be challenging, they are closely monitored and managed by medical professionals to optimize your treatment experience.
How does radiation therapy work for brain cancer and brain tumours?
Radiation therapy uses high-energy X-rays to target and destroy cancer cells in the brain. It can be precisely focused to minimize damage to healthy tissue. Radiation therapy is often used after surgery or as a standalone treatment for brain tumours. Side effects may include fatigue, headaches, and skin changes, but they are carefully managed by your medical team.
What types of surgeries are available for brain cancers and brain tumours?
Several surgical procedures may be used to treat brain tumours and brain cancer, depending on the brain tumour’s type and location. Craniotomy involves removing a portion of the skull to access and remove the tumour. Stereotactic radiosurgery uses precise radiation therapy to target the tumour without surgery. Minimally invasive techniques may also be considered. Your neurosurgeon will determine the most appropriate approach for your case.
What is the difference between supportive care and palliative care for patients with a brain cancer diagnosis?
Supportive care focuses on managing the side effects of cancer treatments, improving the patient’s quality of life, and addressing their physical and emotional needs. Palliative care, on the other hand, is specialized care for patients with serious illnesses like brain cancer. It aims to provide relief from symptoms, enhance comfort, and support the patient and their family throughout the illness. Palliative care is not limited to end-of-life care and can be integrated early in the treatment journey.
Why should I have a team of healthcare professionals in addition to my medical doctors?
A multidisciplinary healthcare team is crucial for comprehensive care. In addition to medical doctors, having specialists like nurses, social workers, physical therapists, and naturopathic doctors can provide holistic support. They help manage symptoms, offer emotional support, enhance nutrition, and improve overall well-being. This collaborative approach ensures you receive the best possible care tailored to your unique needs.
What are the best recommendations for having a high quality of life with a brain cancer diagnosis?
Maintaining a high quality of life with a brain cancer diagnosis involves a multifaceted approach. Stay engaged with your healthcare team, communicate openly, and ask questions. Prioritize self-care, including a balanced diet, regular exercise, and managing stress. Seek emotional support from loved ones and consider support groups. Explore complementary therapies, like naturopathic treatments, to manage side effects and enhance your well-being. Remember that quality of life can be improved even during cancer treatment.
How long can one live with brain cancer, and is there hope for recovery?
The prognosis for brain cancer varies significantly depending on several factors. It’s essential to consult with medical professionals to understand your specific situation. While some brain cancers have a more favourable outlook, others are more challenging to treat. Advances in treatments, including naturopathic therapies, offer hope for extended survival and improved quality of life for many patients.
Where can I learn more about standard medical care for brain cancer?
Here are a few links where you can find more detailed information
Introduction to Naturopathic Medicine
Naturopathic medicine, often referred to as naturopathy, is gaining recognition as a complementary approach to cancer treatment. But what exactly is naturopathy, and how can it play a role in cancer treatment? Naturopathy focuses on harnessing the body’s natural healing abilities and aims to treat the whole person, not just the disease. It encompasses a range of therapies, including nutrition, IV therapies, hyperthermia, botanical medicine, acupuncture, and more. In the context of cancer, naturopathic treatments are designed to support conventional treatments and improve patients’ overall well-being.
Brief History of Naturopathic Medicine
Naturopathic medicine has deep historical roots that trace back to various traditional healing practices from different cultures. The foundations of naturopathy can be found in ancient healing systems, such as Ayurveda from India, Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), and Greek medicine. These systems emphasized the body’s innate ability to heal itself and the importance of natural remedies like herbs, nutrition, and lifestyle modifications. During the 19th century, European naturopathic traditions began to merge with American holistic health philosophies, paving the way for the development of modern naturopathic medicine.
Founding of Naturopathic Medicine in Canada
Naturopathic medicine in Canada was greatly influenced by European and American holistic health philosophies in the late 19th century. The term “naturopathy” gained prominence, and Canadian naturopathic pioneers began to embrace and advance these natural healing principles. Dr. Benedict Lust, who played a key role in the development of naturopathic medicine in North America, also had a lasting impact on the Canadian naturopathic community. In the early 20th century, the Canadian College of Naturopathic Medicine (CCNM) was established, becoming a prominent institution for naturopathic education and practice in Canada.
Recognition and Integration of Naturopathic Medicine
The recognition of naturopathic medicine in Canada has grown over the years. Naturopathic doctors (NDs) undergo extensive training, including a rigorous four-year naturopathic medical program. Naturopathic Doctors are regulated in Manitoba by the Manitoba Naturopathic Association and governed under the Manitoba Naturopathic Acts. Manitobans increasingly turn to naturopathic medicine for its holistic and patient-centred approach, integrating traditional healing practices with modern evidence-based medicine. With a focus on addressing the root causes of illness and supporting the body’s innate ability to heal, naturopathic medicine continues to contribute to the health and well-being of Manitobans.
What are some examples of Naturopathic treatments or protocols?
Naturopathic medicine encompasses a wide range of treatments and protocols designed to support the body’s natural healing abilities. Some common examples include IV therapies, herbal remedies, dietary and nutritional counselling, acupuncture, lifestyle modifications, and homoeopathy. These therapies are tailored to the individual’s health needs, promoting holistic well-being.
Is Naturopathic medicine safe?
Naturopathic medicine is generally considered safe when practiced by licensed and trained professionals. Naturopathic doctors (NDs) undergo rigorous education and training, ensuring they provide evidence-based care and adhere to ethical standards. Prioritizing the patient’s safety and well-being, NDs assess individual health profiles to recommend appropriate naturopathic treatments with minimal risk of adverse effects.
How can naturopathic medicine support people with a brain cancer and/or brain tumour diagnosis?
Naturopathic medicine offers a holistic approach to supporting individuals with brain cancer and brain tumour diagnosis. It is very important to seek a licensed naturopathic doctor who has treated hundreds of brain cancer patients and focuses on cancer treatment, not all naturopathic doctors are the same. Naturopathic doctors with a specific focus on cancer treatment can develop personalized treatment plans that complement traditional medical treatments. These plans may include strategies to manage symptoms, boost the immune system, enhance nutrition, and address emotional well-being. The goal is to optimize the patient’s health and promote a sense of control and empowerment throughout their healthcare journey. Naturopathic medicine aims to improve the overall quality of life for those facing the challenges of brain cancer and brain tumours.
How does my naturopathic doctor fit in with my standard medical care team (oncologist, surgeon, radiologist, social worker, etc)?
Naturopathic doctors (NDs) can play a complementary role within your standard medical care team, which may include oncologists, surgeons, radiologists, social workers, and other healthcare professionals. NDs collaborate with your primary care providers, ensuring a coordinated and comprehensive approach to your healthcare. They can provide support in managing the side effects of treatments, improving overall well-being, and enhancing your quality of life during cancer care.
Is Naturopathic medicine covered by The Manitoba Health Card?
As of now, Naturopathic medicine is not covered by The Manitoba Health Card. However, many private health insurance plans offer coverage for naturopathic services. It’s advisable to check with your insurance provider for specific details regarding coverage and reimbursement options. While it may not be publicly funded, the potential benefits of naturopathic care can be a valuable addition to your healthcare journey, promoting overall wellness and complementing traditional medical treatments.
Why can’t you provide specific naturopathic protocols and treatments?”
You’ll often hear Dr. Ceaser saying “I can’t share exactly what the naturopathic protocols are due to Health Canada regulations.” While we believe in our work and have case studies of patients to back up what we are saying, we are limited to what we can share online. If you have any specific questions please give us a call or book an appointment and we’d be happy to answer them. Contact us today at Dr.Ceaser.com.
Do I Have To Choose Between Naturopathic and Standard Treatments?
A misconception that often surfaces is whether patients must choose between naturopathic and standard medical treatments. The good news is that it’s not an either-or scenario. In fact, naturopathic treatments can complement traditional cancer therapies, creating a synergy that may lead to better outcomes. Patients can benefit from the best of both worlds, receiving evidence-based medical care while also harnessing the potential of naturopathic therapies.
Can You Show Me Some Proof That Naturopathic Treatments Can Help Me?
To illustrate the effectiveness of naturopathic treatments in the context of brain cancer, we turn to real-life success stories from Dr. Sean Ceaser’s Cancer Treatment Centre in Winnipeg, Manitoba. These stories highlight the remarkable journeys of individuals who faced dire brain cancer diagnoses and found hope and healing through naturopathic therapies in conjunction with standard treatments.
“None of these cases are guaranteed to have these effects with any of the therapies involved, including ours. However, these cases are important to note that the naturopathic side of the treatments can be very, very, very helpful for patients,” Dr Sean Ceaser
Case Study 1: Glioblastoma Multiforme
This is a case of a 62-year-old male diagnosed with aggressive brain cancer, Glioblastoma Multiforme. The standard treatment for such cases involves chemo (temozolomide) and radiation therapy, with a life expectancy of just 6 to 12 months. However, the patient experienced severe side effects and had to discontinue chemotherapy. Dr. Ceaser was able to offer naturopathic therapies, which not only complement standard treatments but also help manage side effects, leading to the patient living well over two years, which is double the length of the life expectancy for their prognosis.
Dr. Ceaser’s recap of this case
“The patient experienced the first signs of his glioblastoma with a seizure that he had. The patient went in pretty soon after that, some imaging was done and a tumour was found within the brain. MRIs (magnetic resonance imaging) are usually done. MRIs are safer than CT scans. CT scans put radiation into the mix, and we don’t want that with any of our cancer patients. So MRIs are preferred for imaging some of the brain cancers like this. Once they did the imaging, they decided that they were going to go ahead with treatment. Now, a standard treatment for glioblastoma patients is using what’s called temozolomide, which is an oral chemo agent, as well as radiation therapy. Now, even with these therapies, the prognosis, or how long patients tend to survive, is just 6 to 12 months, and that’s such a short time. So we worked with this patient and we managed to get him over two years, and he was really healthy during that period of time.
The nice thing about naturopathic therapies, and I can’t mention them specifically due to Health Canada regulations, but I will tell you our protocols that we’ve worked with with brain cancer to improve them over the years and have come up with a great protocol for our patients. This particular patient had radiation therapy and chemotherapy, which was the temozolomide, and he suffered quite severe side effects from it, unfortunately. And this is another protocol that we use with naturopathic medicine to help with the side effects, not only to make the radiation therapy and the chemotherapy more effective and not interfere, but also to help with the side effects.” Watch full video here!
Case Study 2: Meningioma
A 42-year-old female patient was initially misdiagnosed during pregnancy with headaches and neck pain. After delivery, her condition worsened, and an MRI revealed an aggressive Meningioma brain tumour. Despite radiation treatment, the tumour progressed. Opting for naturopathic therapies, the patient saw a significant improvement, living seven years beyond her initial prognosis, maintaining a high quality of life.
Dr. Ceaser’s Recap
“This is a 42-year-old patient, female, who was diagnosed with Meningioma. And this case is interesting because it starts off during pregnancy, and she had some headaches and some neck pain, and of course when you’re going through pregnancy, everything relates back to it. So it was just written off as something that might happen during the course of her pregnancy. She finally delivered, and by the time of delivery of her baby, she actually started to have lid droop of one eye. Her GP said, “Well, this has to do with your pregnancy.” Imaging was done and a they found a tumour.
This type of cancer, brain cancer, tend to stay in the brain, and they don’t tend to move. This was a higher grade tumour, and it’s an aggressive cancer, so her prognosis was only about 12 months, which isn’t that long at all. So the standard course for her at that time was to do radiation therapy to the brain. She had an MRI done after her radiation treatment, which showed that the brain tumour had actually progressed, that the radiation didn’t help. The treatments that were offered, she didn’t really want, and she wanted to pursue naturopathic treatments, and came here to the Centre. So we delivered for her a couple times a week naturopathic treatments, which I can’t go into detail due to regulations, and we were able to stabilize her on naturopathic treatments alone. She lived seven years beyond, and that’s six years longer with family and with friends and a good quality of life.”
Case Study 3: Central Nervous System Lymphoma
Dr. Ceaser presents a 70-year-old patient diagnosed with Central Nervous System Lymphoma, a unique brain cancer. Standard treatments included rituximab and methotrexate, which caused severe side effects. Integrating naturopathic therapies alongside these treatments led to the brain tumour’s disappearance and a successful outcome.
Dr. Ceaser’s Recap
“This case involves Central Nervous System Lymphoma, which is a different, unique kind of brain cancer. And as a 70-year-old wonderful patient, she had gone through her treatments, her standard treatments of rituximab, which is a monoclonal antibody. These are newer therapies that are used along with chemotherapy. Monoclonal antibody therapies target specific flags that are found on certain tumours that have to do with the immune system, and by targeting that, hopefully we can get some tumour reduction. She’s on rituximab. As well as she’s on a high dose of methotrexate.
However, she was suffering side effects from both of these together, and both of them can be quite limiting as far as the red blood cells, white blood cells, fatigue, nausea, vomiting. These are often side effects. The expectancy is that she probably will not improve with these therapies. However, we did add naturopathic therapies in with the protocol that she was given, which I can’t go into detail because of Health Canada regulations, so I can’t give you the specifics on it, but our protocols work together with things like rituximab and with methotrexate to help to enhance the therapies and to help provide so that there’s not so many side effects. This patient did very, very well, and actually the oncologist was quite excited to tell her on her follow-up MRI that she had, that he said, ‘whatever was there is gone.’ So essentially the tumours had disappeared.”
Case Study 4: Renal Cell Carcinoma Metastasized to the Brain
In the final case, a 63-year-old patient faced renal cell carcinoma that had metastasized to her brain. After gamma knife surgery and naturopathic therapies, the patient experienced a significant reduction in brain tumour size and remained healthy three years after her initial prognosis, surpassing expectations.
Dr. Ceaser’s Recap
“This is a 63-year-old’s case. The patient was diagnosed with Renal Cell Carcinoma, kidney cancer that has metastasized to the brain. Only 10% of the kidney cancers actually move to the brain, but the brain is kind of a common site for cancers to move to as well as breast cancer can move there fairly commonly as well. So she had metastasis to the brain. Now, brain cancers as we define them, can be primary, that means that tumours can happen there first in the brain and tend to stay in the brain case. However, this is called a secondary cancer, or a metastasis, where this one has moved there. So only 10% of kidney cancers turn into this, and unfortunately she had this happen to her. So during the course of her treatment, she had some gamma knife surgery that was done, and that was done three times over the course of a year.
Gamma knife surgery is a very good kind of surgery, in which the gamma radiation therapy is applied very specifically to the brain without having to do any surgery, and so it can be quite a great therapy. After the therapy, she didn’t have treatment, and she came in for naturopathic assessment and for a naturopathic protocol. And we’ve treated lots of brain cancers and lots of cancers with metastasis to the brain. We worked on a protocol together with her input as well. And what we came up with was treatments here at our Centre. Again, we can’t explain exactly what they were due to Health Canada regulations.
We worked on diet as well with her, which we do with all of our cancer patients. Diet does not cure cancers, as it is, as you might find online, but cancer therapies, including the diet, are very important overall to maintain health to make sure that there’s no foods in there that is causing the cancers to grow, and we go over diet as well as our therapies. So undergoing therapies is something that can be evaluated using an MRI scan of the brain. As it turns out with the naturopathic therapies alone that she had undergone for about a year or so without any other treatments, we were able to actually have it such that there was just a residual small tumour left, and that the others had basically gone on the following MRI. Now, this is no guarantee. So she continues to get her therapies done, and she’s healthy three years after her treatment started. She has just a 10 month initial prognosis, and she has surpassed that nicely. She continues to be happy and healthy and we enjoy seeing her each time here at the clinic.”
Dr. Sean Ceaser’s Cancer Treatment Centre in Winnipeg, Manitoba, offers hope for brain cancer patients to maintain a high quality of life. The experiences of these individuals demonstrate the potential of naturopathic treatments alongside standard therapies to extend lives and enhance the quality of life. In the face of a brain cancer diagnosis, there is not just hope but a path toward a better future—a future where patients can benefit from a multidisciplinary care team that integrates the best of naturopathy and traditional medicine.