Dr. Sukriti Bhardwaj Of Timeless Health Clinic: 5 Things Everyone Needs To Know About Cancer

An Interview With Savio P. Clemente

Savio P. Clemente
Authority Magazine
Published in
23 min readJun 20, 2022


Keep a healthy weight: Maintain your weight within healthy limits and prevent adult weight gain. Research shows a strong association between excess body fat and cancer along with other chronic health conditions such as heart disease, high blood pressure and diabetes. Apart from avoiding tobacco, maintaining a healthy weight during your adult life is the most significant step you can take towards decreasing cancer risk.

Cancer is a horrible and terrifying disease. There is so much great information out there, but sometimes it is very difficult to filter out the noise. What causes cancer? Can it be prevented? How do you detect it? What are the odds of survival today? What are the different forms of cancer? What are the best treatments? And what is the best way to support someone impacted by cancer?

In this interview series called, “5 Things Everyone Needs To Know About Cancer” we are talking to experts about cancer such as oncologists, researchers, and medical directors to address these questions. As a part of this interview series, I had the pleasure of interviewing Dr. Sukriti Bhardwaj.

Dr. Sukriti Bhardwaj is a Registered Doctor of Naturopathic Medicine in Ontario with two year residency training in integrative oncology from the Canadian College of Naturopathic Medicine. She sees patients at the holistic Cancer Care Program of Timeless Health Clinic in Toronto. Dr. Bhardwaj provides safe and effective evidence-based treatment recommendations to minimize side effects of anti-cancer treatment and improve longevity in people with cancer including diet, exercise, and lifestyle recommendations.

Thank you so much for joining us in this interview series! Before we dive into the main focus of our interview, our readers would love to “get to know you” a bit better. Can you tell us a bit about your childhood backstory?

To start, I would like to thank you for giving me this opportunity to speak about my knowledge and experience in providing supportive care for people affected by cancer.

I was born in India and my family immigrated to Toronto, Canada when I was 5. Coming from a country where holistic medicine is well accepted, I was exposed to natural remedies from an early age. My mother would give me natural solutions when I’d get sick with the cold, and this sparked my intellectual curiosity. Additionally, I was fortunate to have a very adventurous childhood where I was exposed to nature in different contexts. As a child, I was part of the cross-country club where I would run for long distances in various parks and trails. At the age of 12, I joined air cadets where I had the chance to go on weekend camping trips. During these trips, we learned to build tents out of logs, twigs, and leaves, build fires and go canoeing to different camp sites. We essentially learned to survive in the natural elements.

I also obtained my glider pilot’s licence and private pilot’s licence through air cadets. I remember one instance when I was gliding over a town called Orangeville and I felt so calm and peaceful. While I may not have understood it at the time, all these experiences helped me to realize how healing and therapeutic being out in nature can be.

What or who inspired you to pursue your career? We’d love to hear the story.

I have always had a strong interest in natural medicine. As an adolescent, I would often look up different natural therapies to help improve various health conditions out of genuine curiosity. In my final year of undergraduate education at McMaster University in Hamilton, ON, I decided to take an elective course where I was inspired by the opportunity to learn about evidence-based naturopathic approaches to different health conditions such as inflammatory bowel disease or cancer care. This further fuel my interest in natural medicine but also piqued my interest in taking a research-based approach when working up patient cases.

Around the same time, I was working as a research assistant in the Department of Pediatrics at McMaster University, helping to develop a distress screening tool for adolescents and young adults with cancer. As I interviewed them and learned about their experiences, which were both heartbreaking but also empowering. I was inspired by patients’ resilience and courage in the face of adversity. It sparked my passion to learn more about the field of oncology so that I could do everything in my power to help them.

This is not easy work. What is your primary motivation and drive behind the work that you do?

My experience working in cancer research and seeing close friends and family members affected by the condition strengthened my conviction that there had to be more we could do to help improve quality of life and clinical outcomes for people with cancer. I decided to pursue an additional two-year residency training in integrative oncology after achieving my four-year Doctor of Naturopathy degree.

My practice focuses on safely supporting people with cancer through all stages of the cancer care continuum from preventing cancer in the first place, supporting them during their cancer treatment to reduce side effects and improve quality of life along with helping to reduce risk of cancer recurrence following treatment completion. My drive for doing the work that I do comes from seeing the improvement in patients’ quality of life as they progress through cancer treatment using integrative therapies. I am also motivated by witnessing the confidence and reassurance that patients feel when they can implement evidence-based strategies to reduce their cancer recurrence risk. It is truly a privilege to work with people who seek our services during such a critical time in their life and it is a responsibility that I do not take lightly.

What are some of the most interesting or exciting projects you are working on now? How do you think that might help people?

Right now, I am involved in various opportunities to raise awareness about integrative oncology by providing interviews for different online publications, including this one!

My primary motivation for raising awareness about integrative oncology is two-fold. Firstly, I would like for patients and their healthcare teams, including oncologists, to be aware that integrative oncology is safe and may be helpful in reducing common cancer treatment side effects like chemotherapy-induced nausea/vomiting, fatigue, peripheral neuropathy (numbness and tingling in the fingers and toes), low blood counts, etc. Secondly, I wish patients and their doctors knew that incorporating integrative oncology therapies is helpful at the outset of their cancer treatment. Many times, patients find out about integrative oncology after they have completed their treatment and have suffered preventable cancer treatment side effects. Another scenario in which patients approach a Naturopathic Doctor trained in integrative oncology is after they have completed cancer treatment and have been feeling overwhelmed trying to research how to reduce recurrence risk on their own. Naturopathic doctors who are trained in integrative oncology have made it their life’s work to safely support patients along all aspects of the cancer care continuum from preventing cancer in the first place, improving quality of life/reducing side effects as patients progress through treatment and reducing risk of cancer recurrence after treatment is complete. The sooner that patients can start with integrative oncology therapies, the better they may be able to work for them.

For the benefit of our readers, can you briefly let us know why you are an authority about the topic of Cancer?

My research, volunteer and clinical experience as a Naturopathic Doctor have all contributed to my knowledge on the topic of cancer and integrative oncology. Prior to and during my naturopathic medicine studies, I volunteered at various cancer hospitals in Toronto, ON, including the Odette Cancer Centre at Sunnybrook Hospital and Princess Margaret Cancer Centre. These volunteer positions gave me unique insight into the experiences and emotional needs of people with cancer. I have published articles on evidence-based integrative approaches to cancer on topics such as mistletoe as an adjunctive therapy to cancer treatment and nutritional approaches to mitigate cancer cachexia. I have given various oral presentations on integrative oncology as well. I have spoken on the topic of safety considerations when combining natural health products with anticancer drugs at Humber College in Toronto, ON. I have also spoken at the Oncology Association of Naturopathic Physicians conference on the assessment and integrative management of older adults with cancer. I have also been regularly involved in attending and giving poster presentations at various integrative oncology focused conferences. For instance, I presented a poster on the topic of integrative management for myelosuppression (low blood counts) during cancer treatment at the Oncology Association of Naturopathic Physicians conference along with a poster presentation at the Society of Integrative Oncology on turmeric formulations utilized in adjunctive cancer treatment. Moreover, I have completed an additional postgraduate two-year residency training in integrative oncology where I provided supportive care for people with various solid tumour and hematological malignancies, ranging from early-stage to late-stage cancer. As part of my residency training, I completed rotations within the medical oncology and radiation oncology departments at hospitals such as Sunnybrook Hospital and Stronach Regional Cancer Centre. I also teach a course in pharmacology within the Faculty of Health Sciences and Wellness at Humber College, where I lecture specifically on drug-nutrient, drug-herb, and drug-food interactions for various medications, including medications used in oncology. My research, volunteer, clinical and teaching experiences have all deepened my understanding of the different types of cancer, how it is conventionally treated, how patients are affected by cancer both physically and mentally and how I can safely support patients as a Naturopathic Doctor.

Ok, thank you for all of that. Let’s now shift to the main focus of our interview. Let’s start with some basic definitions so that we are all on the same page. What is exactly cancer?

Cancer is characterized by uncontrollable cell division and spread of these aberrant cells to various other parts of the body. Cells will normally grow and divide according to the body’s needs. When these cells become old or sustain damage, they die, and new cells will take their place. Cancer begins when these damaged or abnormal cells continue to divide and multiply instead of dying off, eventually forming cancerous tumours. The human body is composed of trillions of cells and cancer can start nearly anywhere in the body. Cancer can also spread into nearby tissue or to distant sites and form new tumours in a process called metastasis. It is also possible to form a solid tumour or a cancer of the blood i.e. leukemia in which a solid tumour does not form. There are some significant variations between cancer cells and normal cells. For example, normal cells will grow and divide only in the presence of growth signals, but cancer cells can grow without such signals. Moreover, cancer cells can continue to grow even in the presence of signals that tell normal cells to stop dividing. To continue growing, cancerous cells direct blood vessels to grow towards tumours to ensure a steady supply of oxygen and nutrients. They are also able to evade normal immune defenses against cancer. As you can see, cancer is very clever and we need to be just as clever, if not more in our fight against it.

What causes cancer?

Our cells are governed by genes that control how they grow and divide. Certain changes or mutations to these genes can cause cancer. The genetic changes that cause cancer may be inherited from our parents or they may arise as a result of damage to the cell’s DNA due to environmental factors i.e. chemicals in tobacco smoke or UV rays from the sun. Cells with damaged DNA are normally removed by the body before they become cancerous, but the body’s natural cancer defenses decrease with age, which is partly why the risk of cancer increases as we get older. While this is not an exhaustive list, the following are well studied known or suspected risk factors for cancer:

  1. Alcohol — Drinking alcohol can increase the risk of developing cancers of the liver, breast, throat, esophagus, and larynx, to name just a few. The risk increases with greater levels of alcohol consumption. It has been suggested that resveratrol, a substance in red wine, may have anticancer properties but there is no concrete evidence that drinking red wine reduces cancer risk.
  2. Chronic inflammation — Inflammation is a normal response that helps heal injured tissue. Specifically, the inflammatory process begins when chemicals are released by the injured tissue and in response, white blood cells release substances that help cells to divide, grow and rebuild the damaged tissue. This inflammatory process ends once the wound is healed. Chronic inflammation is an inflammatory process that begins in the absence of any specific injury and does not have a resolution. Obesity is one cause of chronic inflammation. Other chronic inflammatory diseases increase the risk of colon cancer such as ulcerative colitis or Crohn’s disease.
  3. Obesity — People with obesity are at a higher risk of various cancer types including cancers of the breast in post menopausal women, colon, esophagus and pancreas, to name a few. Maintaining a healthy weight helps to reduce the risk of certain cancers along with a host of other illnesses such as heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and hypertension.
  4. Hormones such as estrogen play essential biological roles in both females and males, but they have also been associated with increased risk of certain cancers. For example, combined menopausal hormone therapy may increase a women’s risk of breast cancer.

Although there are certain risk factors that increase the risk of cancer, this disease is very complex, and it is still not possible to exactly pinpoint why one specific person develops cancer and another person doesn’t.

What is the difference between the different forms of cancer?

There are more than 100 different types of cancer. Various cancer types are named after the organs in which they originate. For example, lung cancer starts in the lung or breast cancer originates in the breast. Cancers may also be classified based on the type of cell that forms them i.e. a squamous cell or epithelial cell.

A carcinoma is the most common cancer type, which is formed by epithelial cells that line the internal and external surfaces of the body. For example, an adenocarcinoma is a common cancer type that originates in epithelial cells producing fluids or mucus. Many cancers of the breast and colon are adenocarcinomas. Sarcomas are cancers that originate in the bones or soft tissues such as muscle or fat. For example, an osteosarcoma is the most common cancer of the bone. Leukemias are cancers that arise in the bone marrow and result in large numbers of leukemia cells and leukemic blast cells to build up in the blood and bone marrow. They crowd out normal cells, including red and white blood cells, making it difficult to get oxygen to various tissues and control bleeding/infections. A melanoma is a cancer that begins in cells that make melanin, the pigment which gives skin its color. Most melanomas form on the skin but they can also form in other pigmented tissues such as the eye. Various other cancer types exist, these aforementioned types are just a few examples.

I know that the next few questions are huge topics, but we’d love to hear your thoughts regardless. How can cancer be prevented?

Keep a healthy weight:

Maintain your weight within healthy limits and prevent adult weight gain. Research shows a strong association between excess body fat and cancer along with other chronic health conditions such as heart disease, high blood pressure and diabetes. Apart from avoiding tobacco, maintaining a healthy weight during your adult life is the most significant step you can take towards decreasing cancer risk.

Stay physically active: As part of your daily routine, stay physically active. Sit less and walk more to reduce your cancer risk. Even engaging in 30 minutes of physical activity 5 times per week can make a significant positive difference in your health. Make it a point to take regular ‘movement breaks’ especially if you are sedentary for most of your day.

Eat a plant-based diet:

Emphasize greater intake of vegetables, fruits, whole grains, and legumes such as beans and lentils. This type of plant-based diet is linked with a lower cancer risk. The evidence shows that the more closely you follow these dietary recommendations, the greater the cancer risk reduction benefits.

Limit consumption of fast foods and other processed foods high in fat, starch or sugar. Diets containing a greater proportion of these types of processed, fast foods cause overweight and obesity. Similarly, limit consumption of sugar sweetened beverages as they can also result in increased body fat. Higher body fat is a cause of 12 different cancers.

Limit consumption of red and processed meat. Consume moderate amounts i.e. 12–18 ounces per week of red meat or less. Eat very little processed meat if you must have any. Strong evidence shows that red and processed meat are causes of colorectal cancer.

Limit alcohol consumption. For the purposes of cancer prevention, it is best to not drink alcohol. Strong evidence shows that alcohol can cause various cancer types and there is no ‘safe’ amount of alcohol that will not increase risk.

For mothers, breastfeed your baby if that is a possibility. Breastfeeding has health benefits for both baby and mother, including breast cancer risk reduction for the mother.

Meet your nutritional needs through diet as opposed to nutritional supplementation. Under the guidance of a qualified healthcare professional, supplements may play a valuable role in health and wellbeing but when it comes to nutrition for cancer prevention, supplements have not been shown to offer the same magnitude of benefit as whole foods such as vegetables, fruits, whole grains, and legumes.

How can one detect the main forms of cancer?

When a patient presents with suspicious symptoms or they have a screening test that suggests cancer, the doctor must conduct further testing to understand whether cancer is truly present or if there is another condition at play. At the beginning, your doctor may ask you questions about your personal/family medical history and conduct a physical exam. They will also order certain tests such as lab tests or imaging tests (scans). They may also decide that a biopsy is necessary, which is the main way to know with certainty whether cancer is present.

Lab tests of blood, urine or other bodily fluids may detect either high levels or low levels of various substances in the body which may indicate the presence of cancer. Keep in mind, however, that abnormal lab results on their own cannot provide a definitive diagnosis of cancer.

Imaging studies help doctors to visualize the inside of your body to help them see if a tumour is present. There are many examples of various imaging tests that may be used, two of which include CT scans or MRI scans. CT scans are essentially X ray machines linked to a computer. They take multiple pictures of various organs from different angles which are then utilized to create three dimensional images. MRI utilizes a potent magnet and radio waves to take pictures of the body in slices which are then combined to create images that depict the difference between normal tissue or unhealthy tissue.

In many cases, doctors will require a biopsy to definitively diagnose cancer. A biopsy involves the removal of a sample of tissue which is then examined under a microscope by a pathologist. The pathologist will also run other tests to determine whether the tissue is cancerous. The results of the microscopic examination and additional tests will be described in a pathology report which plays a significant role in not only diagnosing cancer but in determining an appropriate treatment plan.

Cancer used to almost be a death sentence, but it seems that it has changed today. What are the odds of surviving cancer today?

Data from the National Cancer Institute (NCI) describes the burden of cancer in the United States. According to estimated new cases in 2020, the most common cancers in the United States listed in descending order are the following: breast cancer, lung and bronchus cancer, prostate cancer and colon and rectum cancer.

Among men, prostate, lung and colorectal cancer account for about 43% of all cancers diagnosed in 2020. In women, breast, lung, and colorectal cancer comprise approximately 50% of all new cancer diagnoses in 2020. Thus, the survival stats described below will focus on these four most common cancer types: breast, colon, lung, and prostate cancer.

For these cancer types, I will describe what is known as ‘relative survival’, an estimate of the percentage of patients who would be expected to survive their cancer. Please bear in mind that relative survival statistics are based on large populations and cannot be used to ascertain the clinical course for any specific patient as no two patients are the same.

Between the years of 2012 and 2018, the 5-year relative survival of people diagnosed with breast cancer was 90.6%. Specifically, the earlier a cancer is diagnosed and treated, the better the survival. Cancer stage at diagnosis, also known as the extent of cancer in the body, plays a large role in determining available treatment options and length of survival. For example, when breast cancer is diagnosed in its early stages when it is still localized to the primary site, the 5-year relative survival is 99%. If breast cancer is diagnosed after it has spread to the lymph nodes, the 5-year relative survival is 86%. If the breast cancer is detected following its spread to a distant site (metastasis), the 5-year relative survival reduces significantly to 30%.

When it comes to prostate cancer, 72.8% of cases are diagnosed when the cancer is still localized and the 5-year relative survival at this stage is 100.0%. Only 7% of prostate cancer cases are diagnosed after the cancer has metastasized and the 5-year relative survival at this stage drops down to 32.3%.

In terms of colorectal cancer, 37.2% of cases are diagnosed at the local stage and the 5-year relative survival at this stage is 90.9%. If colorectal cancer is diagnosed after it has spread to regional (nearby) lymph nodes, the 5-year relative survival is 36% and if it is diagnosed after it has spread to distant lymph nodes, the 5-year relative survival drops to 22%.

In terms of lung cancer, unfortunately most cases are unable to be caught at an early stage. Only 18.9% of cases are diagnosed when the lung cancer is still localized and the 5-year relative survival at this stage is 61.2%. 55% of lung cancer cases are diagnosed after the disease has spread to a distant site and the 5-year relative survival at that point is only 7%.

Can you share some of the new cutting-edge treatments for cancer that have recently emerged? What new cancer treatment innovations are you most excited to see come to fruition soon?

Research in the world of oncology is rapidly growing and there are many treatment innovations to be excited about. One development I am looking forward to is a novel radiation machine called the RefleXion X1, which can shape radiation beamlets at tumours while accounting for body and organ movement in real time. In this way, it becomes possible to minimize damage to the surrounding tissue. Moreover, this new technology can also detect tumours anywhere in the body while it is treating the cancer. The full therapeutic potential of the machine is yet to be elucidated as the results of several small trials are still pending. Terence Williams, M.D., Ph.D., who is the chair of the Department of Radiation Oncology at City of Hope National Medical Centre states that if the RefleXion X1 machine works successfully, it has the potential to change what is considered a curable cancer in the metastatic setting. In early August 2021, two patients with advanced metastatic cancer were both treated with the RefleXion X1. One patient was not a candidate for surgery and surgery was not successful for the other patient. Both patients had a good response to treatment and are doing well following the novel radiotherapy. I am excited to see further clinical trials done using this technology.

Healing usually takes place between doctor visits. What have you found to be most beneficial to assist a patient to heal?

As part of my treatment recommendations, I recommend profound diet and lifestyle changes because they have been shown to help reduce risk of cancer recurrence. However, implementing these diet and lifestyle modifications involves making fundamental changes in our behaviour and the way we live our day to day lives. The healthcare provider can certainly tell the patient what to do but it’s up to the patient to implement these changes on a day-to-day basis themselves between the doctor’s visits. The following are some strategies patients can utilize to implement healthy changes in the way they live their lives:

Know your motivation — If you have a history of cancer or would like to prevent cancer from happening in the first place, then this is your motivation. Ensure that you choose a reason that is important to you as keeping this in mind will help you maintain the changes that you are implementing in the long term.

Create a plan for action — Develop a plan in which you layer in various diet and lifestyle changes into your routine one at a time. It is very difficult to do a complete diet and lifestyle overhaul overnight so a methodical, step by step approach works best. This plan can be developed on your own or with the help of a qualified healthcare provider.

Consistency is key — Consistency in making diet and lifestyle changes is always better than perfection. Avoid being too hard on yourself on the days that you fall short of your health goals. Remember that the more we can repeat healthy choices and behaviours, the more they become integrated into our identity. At this point, you will find that living a healthy lifestyle is not a burden but it’s simply part of your routine.

From your experience, what are a few of the best ways to support a loved one, friend, or colleague who is impacted by cancer?

There are a few different strategies that are helpful when supporting a loved one who is impacted by cancer:

  1. Learn about the cancer type that your loved one has:
    There are more than 100 types of cancer. It may be exhausting for your friend or family member to explain their specific cancer type repeatedly to different people so take the time to do some research on your own to educate yourself. There are many user-friendly online resources you can use such as the Canadian Cancer Society or the National Cancer Institute.
  2. Listen to them: Many times, we put so much emphasis on trying to say the perfect thing that we forget to listen first. If your loved one would like to talk, then be ready to listen to what they have to say. Sometimes, they may not even want to talk at all but that doesn’t mean that they don’t appreciate your company. Simply being there can be one of the most powerful forms of support you can provide.
  3. Don’t stress about saying something wrong: A lot of pressure that we feel to say the ‘perfect thing’ also stems from the fear about saying something wrong. Take some of the pressure off by asking open ended questions instead like ‘How are you feeling today?’ You can also make supportive statements like ‘I care about you’ or ‘I’m thinking of you.’
  4. Offer help in specific ways: For example, instead of asking what you can to do help, you can say, ‘Would you like me to pick up anything at the grocery store for you?’ Ensure that your loved one would find your offer helpful.

What are a few of the biggest misconceptions and myths out there about fighting cancer that you would like to dispel?

While working with patients, there are many myths and misconceptions that come up in visits. The following are three examples of common myths that patients ask me about:

  1. Cancer is automatically a death sentence: Based on statistics in the United States, the five-year survival for some of the most common cancer types such as breast and prostate has been improving since the 1990s. The combined 5-year survival for all cancers has increased to 67%. Please keep in mind that these statistics are derived from large groups of people and how long an individual cancer patient will live depends on various other factors including the person’s overall health, aggressiveness of the cancer, the extent of spread in the body, treatment options, and more.
  2. Herbal products can cure cancer: Unfortunately, there is no natural cure for cancer. Some research shows that certain natural products may help mitigate specific side effects of cancer treatment, but they are not effective in treating the cancer itself. Always speak to a qualified healthcare provider knowledgeable in the safe combination of natural health products with cancer treatments before starting any new natural products.
  3. Cancer surgeries or tumor biopsies can cause cancer to spread in the body: Chances of surgery or a tumour biopsy precipitating cancer spread to other body parts are extremely low. Surgeons utilize special methods and take extra precaution to prevent cancer cells from spreading during these types of procedures.

Thank you so much for all of that. Here is the main question of our interview. Based on your experiences and knowledge, what are your “5 Things Everyone Needs To Know About Cancer? Please share a story or example for each.

  1. Cancer is a multifactorial disease, so our cancer prevention plan needs to be multifaceted as well. When I work with people who have a history of cancer, one of the most important goals we have is to reduce risk of cancer recurrence. Cancer is a multifactorial disease. In most cases, it is very difficult to pinpoint one exact cause of cancer in someone’s case and so when it comes to strategies to prevent risk of cancer recurrence, we need to take a multifactorial approach. In my clinical experience, the safe combination of conventional cancer treatment along with evidence-based integrative medicine strategies provides the opportunity to take a multifaceted approach in our fight against cancer. It’s always advisable to work with a qualified healthcare provider when devising a cancer risk reduction plan to ensure that any changes to your supplements, diet or lifestyle are safe and advisable in your case.
  2. You don’t have to choose between conventional medical care OR integrative naturopathic therapies. Many patients and healthcare providers alike are under the impression that they need to choose between either conventional treatment or naturopathic medicine when it comes to cancer care, but this is not the case. Conventional medicine is life saving. Under the guidance and supervision of their oncology team, patients should decide whether the benefits of treatment outweigh the risks. Once a conventional treatment plan is decided upon, it is possible to safely integrate strategies such as diet/lifestyle counselling or nutritional supplementation to help reduce side effects of treatment and reduce risk of cancer recurrence after treatment completion under the guidance of a qualified healthcare provider, such as a Naturopathic Doctor. Certain Naturopathic Doctors have undergone additional postgraduate training in cancer care and are qualified to safely integrate naturopathic therapies into a conventional care plan to help you achieve your health goals. When you see a Naturopathic Doctor who is trained in providing supportive care for people with cancer, keep in mind that safety is our #1 priority. We are specifically trained in drug-herb, drug-nutrient and drug-food interactions to ensure that we never compromise the efficacy of your conventional medications.
  3. A large proportion of cancers can be prevented. It is now estimated that only 5–10% of cancers arise due to inherited genetic defects. To clarify, all cancers involve genetic mutations, but most of these mutations are due to interaction of our genes with the environment. The knowledge that 90–95% of cancers are due to environment and lifestyle provides enormous opportunity for prevention. Some of the major contributors to the incidence of cancer deaths in the United States include tobacco, diet, infection, and obesity at 25–30%, 30–35%, 15–20% and 10–20%, respectively. Thus, some of the main strategies we can use to reduce our risk for developing cancer are the following: don’t use tobacco, have a healthy diet, remain physically active to maintain a healthy weight and get vaccinated for common infections that cause can cancer such as human papilloma virus (HPV) and Hepatitis B virus.
  4. Early detection and treatment of cancer can save many lives. The earlier a cancer is detected and treated, the better the prognosis. For example, breast and cervical cancers can often be cured if they are detected and treated in their early stages and they are much less costly if they are caught early as well, in terms of health, economic and social costs. Therefore, it is of vital importance to go for your regular cancer screening, whether it’s a routine mammogram, PAP smear, colonoscopy, etc.
  5. Tobacco is still the greatest preventable cause of cancer. Tobacco accounts for nearly one quarter of cancer deaths. Also, it’s never too late to quit! Even after a cancer diagnosis, there is evidence that people who quit smoking live longer, have fewer side effects from treatment and even have higher chances of treatment working successfully.

You are a person of great influence. If you could start a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. :-)

One day, I would love to see naturopathic doctors work alongside oncologists and healthcare teams within hospitals. The first step towards this model of care involves raising awareness among patients and healthcare providers alike that it is safe to integrate naturopathic therapies into conventional oncology treatment plans, when it is done by a qualified healthcare provider. Moreover, conventional care teams and patients should also know that an important goal of integrative oncology is to work alongside conventional medicine to reduce treatment side effects and improve quality of life during treatment. When patients can tolerate cancer treatment better, they have a greater likelihood of completing their cancer treatment plan, potentially improving their longevity. Moreover, having naturopathic doctors working in oncology departments in hospitals will allow for greater interprofessional communication, ultimately improving the quality of care provided to the patient.

How can our readers further follow your work online?

I am on LinkedIn and on ResearchGate, where readers can find my published papers.

Thank you so much for these insights! This was very inspirational and we wish you continued success in your great work.



Savio P. Clemente
Authority Magazine

Board Certified Wellness Coach (NBC-HWC), Journalist, Best-selling Author, Podcaster, and Stage 3 Cancer Survivor