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Andrew W. Elliott, N.D. Naturopathic Physician
Cancer Care


Complementary, Not Alternative

Complementary care compliments conventional cancer therapies. It does not try to be an alternative to them. Dr. Elliott seeks to integrate the best of naturopathic medicine with effective conventional therapy. Only in cases where no effective conventional therapies exist will Dr. Elliott recommend natural therapies as stand alone treatments for a specific case of cancer.

Dr. Elliott does not claim to know how to cure cancer. He strives to be a valuable part of the team you invite to assist you in your journey to find greater health.


Our state of health is always a dynamic balance between what is inside us – our susceptibilities as well as our resistance to disease – and what is outside us - those influences that either nourish us (good food, clean water and air, friendship, community, prayer and meditation etc.) and those influences that stress us (pollution, poverty, pathogenic microbes, war, addictions, poor food choices etc.).

Conventional cancer therapies tend to employ methods to attack cancer from the outside. Natural therapies tend to employ therapies that enhance a person’s innate defenses against cancer.

Dr Elliott’s philosophy is that attacking cancer from the outside as well as enhancing the person’s own innate mechanisms for fighting cancer is often the best approach.


Dr. Elliott believes that we are each comprised of physical, energetic, mental/emotional and spiritual aspects which are in dynamic relationship to each other. We can most effectively work against disease by addressing all of these aspects.

An increasing body of research has shown that the fabric of our mental, emotional, interpersonal and spiritual lives directly effects our physiological and biochemical health. And, of course, medicine has long known that our physical health affects our thoughts emotions and how we relate to others.


Properly employed, complementary therapies may be able to:

  1. help protect against harmful effects of chemotherapy and/or radiation;
  2. assist your body to heal after surgery;
  3. enhance your immune system;
  4. enhance the cancer killing effects of chemotherapy and/or radiation;
  5. reduce the chances for chemotherapy and/or radiation to contribute to future cancer;
  6. help protect against relapse of a cured cancer;
  7. act directly against your cancer by:
    1. enhancing apoptosis (helping cancer cells themselves to “choose death”);
    2. reducing angioneogenesis ( limiting new blood supply to cancer tissue);
    3. reducing the likelihood of metastasis (spread to distant organs/areas);
    4. promoting natural cellular differentiation (cancer cells are poorly differentiated);
    5. enhancing natural tumor suppressor proteins (substances that shut down cancer cell progression) e.g. p53;
    6. protecting DNA from carcinogenic mutation;
    7. influencing growth factor and signal transduction pathways (ways that cancer cells proliferate);
    8. inhibition of tumor activator substances e.g. nuclear factor-kappa B and activator protein-1 which allow cancer cells to proliferate;
    9. normalizing cell-to-cell communication (which can reduce proliferation, invasion and metastases).

This list is growing constantly as researches around the world uncover new understandings and strategies for fighting cancer.


The pathway for a cell to become cancerous involves a complex series of step. Therapy to stop cancer can be directed at one or many steps in this process. Complementary care is designed to enhance and protect healthy cells, as well as to attack the cancer itself, in concert with conventional therapies. An intelligent complementary approach utilizes an understanding of how cancer develops to employ a range of natural therapies, informed and guided by a wholistic perspective, to give a person diagnosed with cancer their most thorough strategy to maintain health.


There are many types and stages of cancer. Each cancer is best understood in the context of the individual who has been diagnosed, and the type of therapy they have chosen to undergo. Dr. Elliott believes that complementary care can provide some degree of benefit to nearly all situations of cancer.

The first visit, which may take from one and a half to two hours, involves:

  1. a review of your diagnosis -the type and stage of your cancer;
  2. a discussion of your history – both personal and medical;
  3. a discussion of your present life situation;
  4. a review of your understanding of your cancer
  5. a discussion of your goals, expectations and what therapies you are considering or have undergone;
  6. a discussion of how complementary therapy might help your specific cancer.
  7. answering and exploring questions you have;
  8. web research on your specific type and stage of cancer;
  9. suggested reading prior to follow-up visit.

The first follow-up visit, scheduled within a week to ten days, which may take an hour, involves:

  1. exploring new questions/concerns you may have;
  2. designing a complementary therapeutic program;
  3. a discussion of the specific rationale for your program;
  4. a discussion of implementation of your program.
  5. Scheduling of any appropriate follow-up visits.

Further follow-up visits may be valuable to:

  1. Explore any new questions/concerns;
  2. treat any side effects that may have developed;
  3. adjust your complementary program as your conventional therapy changes;
  4. consider conditions unrelated to your cancer.