The New Language of Medicine: Part I
Cancer and Treatment
The Cheering Section
Fortunately, Duhl had the support of her husband, who was no
stranger to integrative medicine. As a professor in the University of
California, Berkeley's School of Public Health, Dr. Len Duhl had always
encouraged his medical students to open their minds to the world of
unconventional health practices and to integrate them into a more complete
approach to healing.
"We depended upon the best and most advanced
chemotherapy protocols available," he said. "We also found that while
conventional medicine was important and excellent, it ignored certain issues
that were important.
"The alternative practitioners supplemented Lisa's
treatment, and as a team they were formidable."
This formidable combination of conventional and alternative
medicine is fast gaining mainstream acceptance. In fact, insurance companies
and HMOs now provide coverage for acupuncture, massage and other treatments
that were considered "unconventional" when Lisa Duhl was diagnosed with
As early as 1993, researchers at Harvard Medical School
reported in the New England Journal of Medicine that one-third of all Americans
used some form of unconventional medicine, such as mind/body therapies,
chiropractic, massage, spiritual healing, nutritional and herbal medicine,
homeopathy or acupuncture.
Most medical universities and hospitals are now
incorporating many of these practices. At the same time, patients are demanding
them. And, under the direction of integrative-medicine guru Dr. Andrew Weil,
the first formal training program in integrative medicine for physicians is in
full swing at the University of Arizona. With this atmosphere, medical students
across the country are appealing for more education in the alternative
By Any Other Name...
The pleas of patients and medical students are not without
basis. Since the 1980s, researchers have been mounting scientific evidence that
integrative medicine often works better than conventional treatment alone.
Dr. Dean Ornish's program at the Preventive Medicine
Research Institute in Sausalito, CA, is famous for reversing heart disease with
a combination of diet, moderate exercise, stress management, meditation, group
support, yoga, and conventional diagnostic procedures and drugs, as needed.
At the Stanford University Medical School, Dr. David Spiegel
and his team of researchers have found that women with advanced breast cancer
doubled their survival time by participating in group therapy while undergoing
People living with AIDS are also benefiting from integrative
medicine. Dr. Jon Kaiser at the Davies Medical Center in San Francisco,
California, starts his patients on a program of diet, nutritional
supplementation, herbs, acupuncture, exercise and mind/body medicine. He then
incorporates drug therapies only if the rest of the program proves not to be
sufficient. Almost 90 percent of Kaiser's patients improved or have been able
to keep the disease at bay.