Chiropractors Treating Cancer Patients

by Kristofer Young on October 25, 2011

Things just keepuh changin’. There are chiropractors on staff at Cancer Treatment Centers of America, a highly acclaimed cancer treatment organization.

Just this evening I participated in a webinar entitled “Chiropractic Care for Cancer Patients”, that was sponsored by the American Chiropractic Association, and presented by Dr. Jeffrey A. Sklar, a chiropractor on staff at the Cancer Treatment Centers of America.

We are seeing more and more cooperation on the parts of healthcare providers, for the good of the patient; as it should be.

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{ 8 comments… read them below or add one }

david October 26, 2011 at 11:32 am

When you say chiropractors are “treating cancer patients”, there is an implication that they are treating them for the cancer — that is, applying chiropractic techniques for the purpose of curing the cancer. Is that what you mean to suggest?

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Kristofer Young October 26, 2011 at 1:16 pm

David,

Thank you! Important for this to be clarified. My understanding from the talk I heard from Dr. Sklar, is that the chiropractic treatment at Cancer Treatment Centers of America (CTCA) is adjunctive and is clearly not for the purpose of cure. That being said, one need not be an oncologist to know that all support influences (not determines) the outcome for a patient with cancer. My understanding is that the CTCA, with intent, provide a caring and responsive environment in their centers. Most would not consider care and responsiveness to be curative of cancer, but most would consider it a factor that might tip the balance toward cure. Likewise, pain relief and greater physical comfort through chiropractic care can potentially play a role.

Do you have experience with cancer, cancer treatment, or chiropractic?

Again, thank you for helping me communicate my message more accurately.

Kris

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mk October 26, 2011 at 11:44 am

Dr. Young- I’m going to have to engage you on this one.
As I think you know, I used to practice as a Doctor of Chiropractic. I have not held an active license for quite a few years, I’ll guess 6 or 7. I simply got interested in other things, although still have an interest in all things health. Consequently I may not be up on the most recent happenings, findings, research in chiropractic and other health/medical fields. My thought has always been that one way chiropractors have gotten in trouble in the past was by professing to “treat cancer”. I think some have even been jailed or fined for such activities. I am under the impression that Doctors of Chiropractic in the state of California are still considered “primary care providers” which means they are in a position to be “seen” for any condition but then must determine whether they are the suitable provider for the condition they diagnose. If they diagnose “cancer”, I am under the impression that they cannot treat the cancer. They can treat for other neuromusculoskeletal conditions that may exist concurrently.
Consequently I would say that a headline “Chiropractors Treating Cancer Patients” can be misleading to some of the public. There is already so much misinformation, misconceptions and misperceptions about the art/science/nature of chiropractic that communication and representation about it needs to be carefully considered. The prime example I would state here is the largely erroneous idea of a “bone out of place”. And secondly the erroneous image of a “pinched” nerve or “stepped-on garden hose”. Even many chiropractors have a hard time fully understanding the concept of the “vertebral subluxation complex” and it’s complicated etiology and treatment paradigms. And then to try to explain that to the average patient with its:

1. Spinal Kinesiopathology
2. Neuropathophysiology/Neuropathology
3. Myopathology
4. Histopathology
5. Pathophysiology/Pathology

components can be overwhelming.

So I think I’ll stop here and would welcome any thoughtful, informed discussion.

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Kristofer Young October 26, 2011 at 5:05 pm

Moses,

Thank you for joining and expanding this discussion. Your experience and thoughtfulness add much.

I am certain that some chiropractors have gotten in trouble in the past by professing to “treat cancer”. A few bad apples. I am not familiar with the history, but I imagine there were some who treated cancer successfully.

You are correct, doctors of chiropractic in the state of California are “primary care providers”.

Chiropractors may treat cancer if they are sufficiently trained to do so, if the patient so requests, and if the chiropractor has discussed clearly with the patient other treatment options. Chiropractors are not limited to treating concurrent neuromusculoskeletal conditions.

As we know, dietary improvement is a proven adjunctive, and in some cases, central cancer treatment. A knowledgeable chiropractor can provide this treatment. Similarly, a chiropractor might test for vitamin D levels in the blood and advise the patient regarding supplementation. Once again, medical science has shown that in some cancers, adequate Vitamin D increases survival and/or recovery.

I believe you are correct, the headline “Chiropractors Treating Cancer Patients” can be misleading to some. My hope would be that individuals might read and think and come to their own conclusions. I realize that not everyone will. As we know, the endless drug commercials that we all endure, are usually misleading.

When I use a catchy headline, sometimes a thoughtful conversation like this one ensues. When I use a dull headline, I may as well stuff the article down a rat hole. If I thought this headline, or any other, created a net risk to the public, I would not use it.

Indeed, there is so much misinformation, misconception and misperception about the art/science/nature of chiropractic. And as you, Pogo, and I know, we chiropractors have been the creators of some of that.

For clarity, I am not, in this article, making any recommendation to anyone about what kind of treatment they should receive for cancer.

I am pleased to see that things have changed since I began practice in 1983. Back then I would occasionally see patients who had suffered for years but had not seen a chiropractor because their MD had told them that they might be one of those who would be carried out the back door of the chiropractor’s office. Today, chiropractors are on staff at one of the finest cancer treatment centers in the US, commissioned officers in our military, treating doctors in the Veteran’s Administration, on duty in our Nation’s capitol, and team doctors on US Olympic teams. Things do change; and sometimes for the better.

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Barbara October 26, 2011 at 2:08 pm

Very glad to hear this!

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Kristofer Young October 26, 2011 at 5:06 pm

Thank you Barbara! It certainly represents progress.

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mk October 26, 2011 at 6:14 pm

Kris-
you say: “Chiropractors may treat cancer if they are sufficiently trained to do so”.
Are you certain of this?
I would think there is a “standard of care” (SoC) for treating cancer.
And you and I may completely agree in our disagreement that chemo/radiation/drugs is the “standard of care”. But until ANY other treatment is accepted (by whom, one might ask) wouldn’t any practitioner be held to the SoC?
Even if your personal belief and/or experience leads you to believe that any nutritional product or regimen might be helpful in the “treatment of cancer”, wouldn’t you be on potentially shaky ground if you maintained that you were in fact “treating cancer”.
I’m really asking here- not confronting, and am aware that there is a whole subterranean area that underlies a complete discussion.

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Kristofer Young, DC October 27, 2011 at 5:00 pm

Moses,

I am certain that Chiropractors may treat cancer if they are sufficiently trained to do so.

There certainly are standards of care. These should always be considered, but come into play primarily when a complaint is made. If care is satisfactory, standards don’t come up.

The ultimate standard of care is providing options to patients, including the standard of care, encouraging consultation with other doctors (in these cases, an oncologist), and providing safe care when appropriate. If a doctor provides these things, true liability should not be an issue.

Shaky ground is no place to be practicing healthcare, and certainly no place for providing rational support or treatment for cancer. Repleating a patient’s Vitamin D is an aspect of treating some forms of cancer. Nothing shaky about that. Reducing sugar intake is a rational cancer treatment. I try to keep it simple, rational and safe.

Thanks for the clarification; I did not think for a minute that you were being confrontational. I greatly appreciate this discussion and hope that it opens some doors for others.

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