Thursday, 24 October 2019

European Congress For Integrative Medicine 2020 comes to London

Jo Lawrance cartoon
The European Congress for Integrative Medicine 2020 is a forum to facilitate the advancement of healthcare by combining conventional medicine with evidence-informed lifestyle, complementary and traditional approaches. See a short film with more about the conference at: https://youtu.be/xo4XkjMvBbM

Wow, wow, wow - so important and how come it has taken so long to happen?? 

In our local Wigwam group we were fortunate to meet the two organisers of this conference recently - they live locally and come with bags of passion for making a difference. It is so good to see this coming to the UK...It is just so important that more can be done to focus on the whole person and combine conventional medicine with 'evidence-informed' complementary and traditional methods of treatment. 

I've written before about how it is just not right that so many folks are not given advice and support around exercise - see my previous blog on that here

My granddaughters picture of me rebounding
Similarly so many of us are told not to worry about diet. In the Jem Ayres film I posted this week (see here), she noted how her doctor dismissed diet and many of the audience agreed they had had similar experiences.

There is significant evidence around both exercise and diet to show they can impact on healing. Of course there is much more in the complementary world than just food and exercise that could also play a bigger part in healing. I have tried to cover some of those in this blog like the research into Hyperbaric Oxygen and it's use with radiotherapy.

I've also written in the past (see here) about conventional, complimentary and alternative medicine. I too often see folks getting into battles on websites about particular approaches to cancer. One example comes from one of our Wigwam members; he posted a response in a Facebook group in June, to an article about a young mum who died after refusing chemo. Some of the comments, rightly, were angry that the article could scare people into not thinking for themselves, but equally some of the comments were too sweeping in their dismissal of the conventional approach. Our Wigwammer has kindly allowed me to reprint his response below as it echos with alot of my sentiments and indeed quite a number of those responding to the article:

I really think The Truth About Cancer documentary series and an online movement motivated by some of the distortions and biases in that series, have caused a rift between, rather than an integration of, polarised cancer healing approaches. Sophie Sabbage's quote in the piece really sums it all up well: 
 
“There are some dodgy people out there, but there are also some amazing people, doing amazing things." she says. "The trouble is that, as a patient, you get caught in the crossfire. Conventional oncologists will say ‘Don’t bother with all that quackery.’ Natural practitioners will say ‘Don’t do chemo, it will kill you.’ They’re both taking a position and you have to somehow make decisions with very little help.”

As I'm personally two years into my own stage four Prostate Cancer journey I can see how my views have changes during this period and I would have probably angrily discarded this article back when I was diagnosed - determined to 'heal naturally'. I've since realised though, that a serious cancer diagnosis is not really a situation to just 'throw things at' in the vague hope they might work, and many online resources (especially some alternative-promoting Facebook cancer groups) seem to be encouraging just that. Unless you're *really* in tune with what your body needs, that's like a bizarre form of alternative medicine Russian roulete.


My sister has had cancer twice (two late-stage types) and has recovered fully from chemo both times. She's no fool, and is very health-conscious and aware of alternative approaches, but based on the research she did, it would have been very risky for her (especially with aggressive HER2+ stage three BC second time) not to do the conventional treatments (surgery and chemo/immotherapy). They actually weren't as difficult as she expected (altho mastectomy obviously hard to deal with for any woman). 

 
I'm in a similar boat... I barely found anyone online with widely bone-metastacised Prostate Cancer who found success with alternative treatments. However, in desperation I did go to a German clinic for 3 weeks last Nov (Arcadia clinic in Bad Emstal) that was wonderful, but with hindisght it was naive to expect they could do that much for me. Luckily they referred me to a Germany hospital that pioneers a special targetted Nuclear medicine treatment for my disease, which I've had two sessions of so far and is working well. 

 
I personally would advise anyone with a C diagnosis to research thoroughly and extensively their own situation. I personally found the online community for Advanced Prostate Cancer on the Health Unlocked website incredibly useful and knowledgable). Overcome your biases and get informed before making any hasty decisions, that might make sense in a 'I don't want chemo!' kind of way, but aren't really dealing with what a situation requires. Also (and this is something I don't know much about), at least find out if you have the detox genetics to handle chemo - that's an Enzyme test (G6PD) that should be mandatory, but sadly isn't. Also heartily recommend the neuroscience-spirituality bridging work of Joe Dispenza (and so many other including Abraham-Hicks, Bruce Lipton, Greg Braden etc)- this part of the healing journey is probably the most important of all. Best wishes and prayers to all.


Interestingly I read about research by Professor Swanton and team. He reviewed 71 new drugs launched in the last 12 years up to 2016 and found that on average they extended life by just 2.1 months (i). The Academy of Royal Colleges had concuded back in 2014 that palliative drugs were a waste of money which could be better spent on good nursing. Chris Woollams at Canceractive in their latest magazine, Icon (Integrative Cancer and Oncology News), wondered why in the light of this, figures of survival are improving in the UK?


Chris suggests that maybe it has something to do with the Wellness industry. He notes 83% of cancer patients now take a supplement, 69% take three or more and "over 70% use at least one complementary therapy - they take exercise, change their diet, lose weight, take up yoga and meditation - all things we know from research improve their health and make them stronger and more able to fight cancer." There are also many other options, already mentioned in this blog like Proton Beam Therapy and oxygen therapies. Increasingly more of us are building our own anti-cancer programmes.

Update 2/11/19: a new study (ii) proves that a functional medicine approach to patient care improves health outcomes compared to conventional medical systems that focus on disease detection and management. Functional medicine is all about addressing the root cause of disease including lifestyle. Functional and integrative medicine are very similar in both treating the individual rather than the disease - functional mediceine is perhaps more highly personalised (iii).

So this Integrative Conference can't come soon enough - it is about us all being better informed about approaches to healing. Let's hope this conference in the UK will wake up more of us to the possibilities of integrative approaches.

The conference will be held in London for the first time ever - the dates are 11-13 September 2020. You can also see more on their website: https://www.ecimcongress.com/ 

Update April 2020 dates change: 13th ECIM POSTPONED until Feb 26-28 2021 Due to the Covid19 pandemic and the increasing strain on healthcare professionals worldwide the congress has moved from Sept 2020 to Feb 2021.

Notes
 

(i) https://www.canceractive.com/article/uk-professor%20claims%20new%20drugs%20produce%20poor%20increases%20in%20survival%20times 
(ii) https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jamanetworkopen/fullarticle/2753520?fbclid=IwAR0G3olQsq-ZDAnxaHGaHL_IbfM2AdttpJnrp7OsgaeSd6k_ABOKxekTt8E 
(iii) https://www.patronusmedical.com/blog/functional-medicine-vs-integrative-medicine

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