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NATURALLY HEALTHY: Naturopathic cancer care and research

Dr. Ingrid Pincott's column discusses naturopathic cancer care

I recently attended a wonderful lecture given by Dr. Neil McKinney N.D. on Naturopathic Support for Cancer patients.

He is a colleague of mine who has had a specialized naturopathic practice in cancer care for the past 15 years in Victoria.

With April being “Daffodil Month” it is a time of year when cancer is the focus in the media.

I just wanted to bring you up to date about several cancer support organizations in this country where cancer patients can seek complementary health care and support that is safe to use during traditional chemotherapy and radiation treatments as well as long term prevention of cancer recurrence.

The focus of Dr. McKinney’s lectures was based on the newest additions to his book “Naturopathic Oncology, An Encyclopedic Guide for Patients and Physicians.”

He explains mechanisms of the most common cancer types and then matches natural therapeutics that will target these same mechanisms.

Human studies have not been done on these natural remedies and every cancer type but, by matching up these mechanisms, oncologists and naturopathic physicians are seeing their patient outcomes improve.

There is a naturopathic physician based forum where experiences with cancer patients are shared to improve this data base:

I also wanted to inform you about OICC, the Ottawa Integrative Cancer Clinic, the first of its kind in Canada run by the Naturopathic Profession and share an interview with the Executive Director, Dr. Dugald Seely N.D.


Q: How long have you been director of OICC? How did this come about?

Dr.S: I am founder and executive director of the OICC, and along with a couple of other highly committed individuals created this centre in November 2011.

The main goals of the OICC are to provide integrative, whole person care to those affected or wishing to prevent cancer, to have a strong research department and to be an educational institution.

Having spent a number of years as a clinician and a researcher for CCNM (Canadian College of Naturopathic Medicine in Toronto), I saw a clear need for research in the area of complementary medicine in cancer care.

Through collaboration and opportunity I was able to secure funding to support research trials and systematic reviews in the area of integrative oncology.

This led towards the realization that we really needed a dedicated clinic with an active research department that could test and demonstrate the benefits of using complementary and integrative care for cancer.


Q: What is the Mission Statement of OICC?

Dr.S: Our mission is to provide evidence-informed integrative and preventative cancer care, research, and education across the spectrum of prevention to survivorship.

The OICC is a flagship model interdisciplinary centre that provides whole-person integrative care to people with cancer, cancer survivors, and those seeking cancer prevention.


Q: What types of cancers do you see mostly in your centre?

Dr. S: We see all types of cancer, however breast, colorectal and lung cancer are in the majority, with breast being by far the largest (roughly 30 per cent).


Q: What initiatives do you have for cancer prevention research?

Dr. S: We do synthesis research on specific natural health products such as coriolus versicolor (mushroom extract), vitamin D and curcumin in order to see how these may enhance the immune system and reduce inflammation, both key agents to address for cancer prevention.


Q: As some patients tell their physicians: “I have had a healthy lifestyle most of my life: I exercise, I eat right, I have never smoked nor drank very much.

Why did I get cancer? How could I possibly have prevented this cancer?” What do you tell your patients at OICC?

Dr. S: I make it very clear to my patients that cancerous cells exist in ALL of us, and that despite all best efforts to prevent it, we cannot always control the mechanisms that may, at times, regardless of the positive inputs we implement, go astray, sometimes purely by accident.


Q: I have friends and family who want to donate to preventive cancer research in Canada.

What avenue do you have at OICC to help funnel this type of funding? Is there any research currently underway in this category?

Dr. S: We are a not-for-profit organization with a research focus that comprises clinical trials and synthesis research in cancer care.

Any member of the public wishing to donate funds to our organization can specify their desire to put their support towards our research facility.

As mentioned earlier, there is indeed research underway already with plans to do much more.


Q: What are you most proud of since the start of OICC?

Dr. S: I am most proud of the clinicians and researchers whose integrity and passion who are making the OICC a true flagship for whole-person cancer care and that are providing phenomenal care to our patients.

I am also proud of our affiliation and governance from CCNM for having the vision to support our endeavour.


Q: I don’t live in Ottawa, so what local resources do I have for cancer care on Vancouver Island?

Dr.S: Inspire Health is one of our partners and they are located in B.C., (Victoria, Vancouver and Kelowna).

Their model of care is comparable to ours and provides the kind of whole person care we offer at the OICC. They are undertaking Vitamin D research right now.

There are also Naturopathic Doctors on Vancouver Island who have a specialty in cancer care: see


Dr. Ingrid Pincott, naturopathic physician, has been practicing since 1985 and can be reached at 250-286-3655 or


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