The “C” Word

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by Dr. Ilana Gurevich ND, LAc


"You have cancer."  You hear these words and your heart goes cold.

All of a sudden your whole life feels like it is over and you think

that you have a death sentence and there is nothing you can do to

get out of it.  After the "C" word comes out of your doctor's mouth

everything else they say you can't hear.


After a while you start to realize what it means to live with a

cancer diagnosis.  You start the chemotherapy and the radiology.

You have doctor's appointment after doctor's appointment.  They all

do something that makes you feel more and more sick.


Once the chemo or radiation starts you are exhausted all the time.

You have diarrhea or mouth sores, or this strange numbness and

tingling in your hands and feet.   The radiation makes you sick,

the chemo makes you sick.  At this point life is making you sick.

That's when you start wondering when you're going to feel better

after all of this feeling sick.


The next thing you know, you start experimenting with supplements.

The internet tells you that this one is good for this symptom and

that one is good for that symptom.  At first they may work.  But

then you have 20 supplements and now they are also making you feel

sick.  You might have tried vitamin C because it is an antioxidant

and that's supposed to protect you against radiation or B vitamins

because there supposed to give you more energy.  All of a sudden

everything makes you sick and nothing makes you feel better.


When you use the internet as your medical guide it is like being on

a ship with no crew.  With no one managing the big picture the boat

is at the whim of the sea and not the captain.  The internet

doesn't look out for your safety or prioritize your needs.  Just

because something is a supplement doesn't mean it's always safe.

When you are having chemotherapy and radiation there are a lot of

things that can interact or make the chemo and radiation work less



There are times that supplements and herbs are safe

and will help and other times when they can hurt you.  There are

also a lot of things that cross-react with your chemotherapy drugs.


It is important to have someone looking at the things that are

most vital for you to be taking now, in this very specific time of

life that you are in.


Living with cancer is a journey.  This is a very special time in

your life–for most of us this sounds like a mouthful when you feel

so crummy, but whenever we speak with survivors they often tell us

how much they grew through this experience.


You have been given an opportunity to focus on your health.

During everyday life "before cancer" you were able to put aside

sleeping or put aside eating well because you could do that stuff

later.  Now, there is no more time to put things aside.  It is the

time to take care of yourself so that you can fight and win the

battle against cancer. It's a time to regenerate, and rebuild.

It's a time to allow your self those things that in the past would

have been on the list of things that you were saving for later.  At

this time in your life it is important to nurture and nourish



Chemotherapy and radiation are really hard on the body. Now is a

time to eat good quality meals made with good quality ingredients.

If you were on the fence about organic local food before now is the

time to dive in.  Organic local food is grown in the purest form.

It is grown the way that nature intended food to grow. There are

no chemicals or toxic substances in organic local food. Everything

that is in local organic food  is good for you.  It's this food

that will help boost your immune system, which is so vital at this

time. The chemo is attacking the cancer but it is also attacking

you and decreasing your immune system so you want to help your body

recover quickly.


You will also want to use the tools of alternative medicine to

speed that recovery time and make you feel stronger and better.

The tools of alternative medicine include the right supplements

which won't interfere with your chemo or radiation, but will make

the side effects from those treatments less severe.  Alternative

medicine tools include using acupuncture.  Acupuncture helps your

body to reestablish its natural energy flow so that you will

recover much quicker between treatments.  It is also helpful with

the side effects of chemotherapy and radiation.  Also alternative

medicine uses hydrotherapy (alternating hot and cold therapy) to

increase your bodies' circulation and digestion so that you can

feel better during chemo and radiation.


As a naturopathic doctor and an acupuncturist I combine the

knowledge of both eastern and western medicine to be able to help

you get through this journey with a lot less discomfort.

Completing an observation at the Cancer Treatment Centers of

America I was able to witness how the leading naturopathic

oncologists are using an integrative medicine model to support

thousands of patients undergoing chemotherapy and radiation.

Combining Western naturopathic medicine with classical Chinese

medicine allows me to help with all of the symptoms of your chemo

as well as preventing future recurrences.  Using nutrition,

supplements, herbs and acupuncture together I can help you come

with a plan that will really give you a complete complementary

model to make your journey with cancer much smoother and easier.

You will experience fewer side effects and be able to feel better

while undergoing treatment.


You are fighting hard to regain your health and it's important to

have a doctor whose main focus is making you feel better, not just

to kill the cancer.


I remember when my grandmother was undergoing cancer treatment.  It

was the support of her family and friends as well as her doctors

and healers that made that journey possible and was part of my

journey to becoming a doctor.


If you or someone you know would like to speak with me further

about individualized care during cancer treatment please have them

call to set up a free initial consult, or if they are ready to

begin treatment have them schedule an initial evaluation and we'll

work to get them feeling better.


You can find out more about the clinic and my history by going to

our web page at

or calling the office at (503)701-8766.  I look forward to walking on this journey with you.


Kwan-Yin Healing Arts Center, 2330 NW Flanders Suite #101, Portland, OR 97210, USA


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