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Lead physician for InspireHealth BC talks about Integrative Cancer Care

Dr. Teresa Clarke, lead physician, and Paul Paddon, program manager for InspireHealth BC, were in town on October 1st to speak to an enthusiastic audience about Integrative Cancer Care. 

“We dropped into a piece of heaven” was the opening comment from Dr. Clarke on her first visit to the Kootenays. 

InspireHealth offers evidenced-based research, and an integrative approach to cancer prevention and recurrence.  

Sponsored by Nelson & District Credit Union, and Nelson & District Chamber of Commerce, with support from Community First Health Co-op, Kootenay Country Store Co-operative, Black Press, and Ramona Faust of Area E, the session was attended by many Kootenay people looking for answers to the “cancer crisis” in their lives. 

Dr. Clarke shared with the audience her journey to InspireHealth and her realization that in her medical training very little time had been given to showing how to “get well”. 

Although not an oncologist, she has become a passionate advocate for people being involved in their own medical journey with cancer.

InspireHealth has been in Vancouver since 1997 and has now expanded provincially with new centres in Victoria and Kelowna. 

New centres are planned to open in both Abbotsford and Kamloops and there is also InspireLIFE BC, the organization’s virtual centre.

Traditionally cancer is treated by chemotherapy, radiation and surgery. 

Dr. Clarke sees the tumor as only a small part of who you are and that “our aim is to support your immune system and improve the health of the body as a whole.”  

At InspireHealth, people with a diagnosis of cancer are engaged in their own health care through a patient-centred approach that supports healthful nutrition, exercise, stress reduction and patient empowerment. 

InspireHealth’s programs are evidence-based, and apply leading-edge immune system research to optimize cancer healing and recovery.

Some of the new research presented to the enthusiastic and curious audience showed that many simple changes can make a big difference in the prevention of cancer.  

Vitamin D, through getting out in the sun for 15-20 minutes a day or taking a supplement, can reduce the risk of prostate cancer by 57% and may positively affect the treatment outcomes for breast cancer.  

Group counseling or a support group allows breast cancer patients more ability to cope with stress. The intake of high dietary fibre, in particular from cereal foods, can decrease the risk of colon cancer. 

Twice weekly exercises, including both aerobic and strength training for as little as one hour each, can help improve the physical function and quality of life for cancer patients undergoing treatment.  

Paul Paddon explained the “virtual centre” outreach concept.   It includes a two-day LIFE Program which will be in Nelson on November 15 and 16.   Room is available for 20 cancer patients and their families to delve into the changes they can make in their journey with cancer. 

Doctors Teresa Clarke and Joseph Schnurr will be here to develop a full and individualized wellness plan with each patient. 

Stemming from the program, each patient will receive a 90-minute consultation with the doctors, assistance with decision-making about treatment, complete lifestyle review and recommendations, individual nutritional counseling, stress reduction practices, powerful shared learning programs, and the benefits of the InspireLIFE community, including ongoing classes in cooking, nutritional support, yoga, relaxation, vitamins and supplements.  

InspireHealth’s goal is simple – to provide the best care possible for people living with cancer, and they will work with you, your family doctor and oncologist.

Dr. Clarke concluded the evening session with a reference to the adage, “Listen to your Grandma.”  Her advice included many ideas on what we now know is both sage advice and good practice in prevention of cancer or recurrence. 

“Eat your veggies; take time to relax; have a cup of tea and in particular green tea, one of the most powerful natural antioxidants known; avoid bad fats; cut back on your salt intake; cook your own meals so you know what is in them; avoid foods where you cannot pronounce the name of the ingredients; do not use non-stick cookware; get your exercise  — at least 30 minutes a day of moderate exercise such as walking;  get good, uninterrupted sleep in a dark room; sing, dance and laugh each day.“

“The cancer journey is not solely about surviving, it is about living and thriving.” 

If you are interested in being part of the two-day LIFE Program offered by InspireHealth on Thursday and Friday, November 15 and 16, at Community First Health Co-op, 518 Lake Street in Nelson, contact InspireHealth at 1-888-734-7125.