Integrative Oncology’s 30-Year Anniversary: What Have We Achieved? A North American Naturopathic Oncology Perspective

In 1991 the U.S. Congress mandated that the National Institutes of Health (NIH) form the Office of Alternative Medicine to study alternative medical therapies, especially in oncology care. Shortly after, the National Cancer Institute (NCI) created its own division of complementary and alternative medicine (Office of Complementary and Alternative Medicine). At the genesis of the field 30 years ago, what were we hoping to see accomplished by now? In this article we take a look back at milestones, shortfalls and future directions. Exciting opportunities exist to direct our established subspeciality’s future directions and we have made valuable advances the field of integrative oncology over the last 30 years: 1, IV high dose ascorbate has clinical research-based applications when used concurrently with some chemotherapeutic agents. 2. Whole body, extracorporeal and locoregional hyperthermia are being applied in treating solid tumors, including brain tumors. 3. PDL-1 tumor microenvironment testing and PDL-1 inhibitor immunotherapies have surprisingly excellent outcomes in a subgroup of cancer patients. 4. Tumor DNA sequencing (resected tumor and circulating tumor DNA in blood) has led to personalized precision targeted treatments. 5. Glucose metabolism’s role in cancer progression is better understood and better therapies are available (e.g., intermittent fasting, metformin). 6. Medical cannabis has a larger role in treating chemotherapy-related side effects and shows promise for anti-proliferative effects.