Cancer Care | Conventional Support

You may be preparing for an upcoming surgery or already in the recovery phase after a surgery. Nutritional support and natural medicine can be used to:

  • Support wound healing
  • Decrease risk of infection
  • Reduce pain
  • Reduce scarring or adhesions
  • Support energy
  • Stabilize blood counts
  • Support bowel function after surgery

Some natural medicines should not be used around surgery. Dr. Moore will work with you to prescribe a safe an appropriate surgical support protocol for your specific needs and goals.

Chemotherapy drugs can cause damage or inflammation in different tissues in the body. Most commonly, chemotherapy affects tissues with cells that are actively growing and dividing, such as the lining of the gastrointestinal tract, bone marrow and hair follicle cells. Chemotherapy can affect every person differently and possible side effects may include:

  • Fatigue
  • Nausea
  • Heartburn
  • Diarrhea, constipation or cramping
  • Mouth sores
  • Neuropathy
  • Low blood counts
  • Reduced immune function
  • Pain
  • Taste changes
  • Loss of appetite
  • Hair loss
  • Sexual wellness issues

A strategic naturopathic medicine plan can help:

  • Support Quality of life (less side effects)
  • Reduce the risk for treatment interruptions from chemotherapy side effects
  • Improve recovery and longevity post chemo

Did you know that some natural medicines should not be used during chemotherapy?

  • It is important that a natural medicine plan take into account the mechanism and metabolism of the chemotherapy drug(s), the patient’s medical status, laboratory markers and comfort level. Dr. Moore customizes treatment to the individual needs of each patient and their conventional treatment for a safe and effective natural medicine care plan.

Are you concerned about skin irritation, fatigue, low blood counts or other side effects associated with radiation therapy?

Radiation therapy is a type of cancer treatment that uses beams of intense energy to kill cancer cells. It works by making small breaks in the DNA inside cells which then interfere with cell growth and division leading to cell death. It can be delivered externally (external beam), internally (brachytherapy) or systemically (by mouth or vein). The most common side effect of radiation therapy is fatigue but other side effects may occur depending on the type of radiation, the dose, the number of fractions, the location and the person’s health status and history.

Natural medicine is the perfect complement to your radiation therapy protocol to support your quality of life and reduce the risk for treatment interruptions from side effects. Natural medicine can help with:

  • Relieving pain
  • Decreasing fatigue
  • Protecting the skin
  • Reducing diarrhea or heartburn
  • Soothe dry mouth, sore throat, or difficulty swallowing
  • Supporting blood counts (red blood cells, white blood cells and platelets)

Did you know that some naturals medicines should not be used during radiation therapy?

Dr. Moore can revise your natural medicine plan prior to radiation therapy to make sure you have the support you need and a plan of care compatible with radiation therapy.

If your medical oncologist prescribes a targeted therapy, the goal will be to interfere with specific proteins or mechanisms that help tumors grow or spread. Most targeted therapies are either small-molecule drugs or monoclonal antibodies. Side effects will depend on the type of targeted therapy you receive and how you personally respond.

Naturopathic support can be used to mitigate some of the possible side effects of different targeted therapies such as diarrhea, liver problems, skin issues, fatigue and low blood counts are some of the possible side effects you might be counselled on.

Many targeted therapies are oral medications and therefore not all medications or supplements are appropriate for concurrent use. Dr. Moore will take into account the mechanism of action and mechanism of the drug to ensure that your naturopathic care is safe and appropriate.


Tamoxifen is a selective estrogen receptor modulator and the most commonly used anti-estrogen drug. A medical oncologist can prescribe this drug to a premenopausal or postmenopausal woman, as adjuvant endocrine therapy for ER+ breast cancer. Naturopathic support is most frequently directed towards reducing menopausal-like symptoms, such as hot flashes, vaginal dryness, hair thinning, mood changes and fatigue. While women are on this drug, it is also a great time to optimize nutritional status, improve dietary practices, encourage healthy life-style practices and work on risk reduction strategies. Tamoxifen also has some risk for other more severe side effects such as cancer of the endometrium, blood clots or others.

Aromatase Inhibitor (AI)

In postmenopausal women with ER+ breast cancer, an AI (Letrozole, Examestane or Anastrazole) may be prescribed by a medical oncologist to reduce estrogen levels by blocking enzyme-mediated estrogen synthesis.  Treatment with an AIs is associated with an increased risk of bone loss and arthralgia (joint pain). Some studies suggest early breast cancer has a high prevalence of 25-hydroxyvitamin D insufficiency. Low vitamin D might exacerbate bone loss and is associated with worse intensity of arthralgias while on an AI (Ther Adv Med Oncol. 2015 Sep; 7(5): 291–296.). Dr. Moore recommends testing of serum vitamin D levels in patients, especially if they are starting an AI drug. The goals of naturopathic support with AI therapy may include:

  • Reduce arthralgias
  • Support bone health
  • Mitigate menopausal-like symptoms (hot flashes etc)
  • Address fatigue and sleep issues
  • Address other side effects as needed such as fatty liver, cholesterol levels and others


Fulvestrant is an estrogen receptor antagonist administered by intramuscular injection for patients with ER-positive, HER2-negative, postmenopausal advanced or metastatic breast cancer, and sometimes for women who have had disease progression on other anti-estrogen therapy. If a medical oncologist administers this therapy they will educate you on potential side effects such as hot flashes, fatigue, GI issues, sore throat, infections, pain at the injection site or others. Naturopathic therapies and lifestyle are used to help reduce side effects and support quality of life. 

Immunotherapy categorizes a wide array of different conventional therapies that act through the immune system. Some of these therapies may include immune checkpoint inhibitors (ex. Pembrolizumab), monoclonal antibodies (ex. Rituximab), conjugated monoclonal antibodies (ex. Kadcyla or T-DM1), Bacillus Calmette-Guerin (BCG), cytokines (ex. Interferon alpha), immunomodulating drugs (ex. Lenalidomide) or several others. Many patients will experience some levels of flu-like symptoms or fatigue and naturopathic support is often directed at supporting adrenal health, nutrition and reduce causes of systemic inflammation such other medical conditions, poor diet/life style, stress and others.  Every drug has a different side effect profile. This is also assessed by Dr. Moore on a case-by-case basis and as part of your healthcare team of providers.

Some natural medicines should not be used with certain immunotherapies due to drug-herb interactions or theoretical/possible immune stimulating effects. Dr. Moore can guide the prescription of safe and appropriate natural medicine support with your specific immune related therapy.

Dr. Jessica Moore, ND - Vancouver Naturopath
Dr. Jessica Moore, ND - Vancouver, BC
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Don’t see your treatment listed here? Not to worry… Dr. Moore is adding to her website over time. Discuss your specific treatment(s) and goals in your consultation with Dr. Moore — more information and articles can be offered at that time.

Integrative Cancer Care

“According to statistics from the Canadian Cancer Society, ~ 1 in 2 Canadians (45% of men and 43% of women) may be estimated to develop cancer in their lifetime.  There is a growing public interest for expert guidance in safe and evidence-informed integrative strategies to whole-person cancer care. The world of integrative oncology is expanding and many patients are pursuing the ‘co-management approach’.”

– Dr. Jessica Moore, ND

Reference: Cancer statistics at a glance (Canadian Cancer Society)


This website offers health and wellness information and is provided for informational purposes only. This information is not intended as medical advice. Side effects of conventional therapies should be discussed with your conventional oncology provider and you should immediately inform your conventional oncology provider if you are experiencing any side effects from therapy.  Always speak with your healthcare professional before taking any medication or supplement, changing your diet or lifestyle, or using any treatment for a health problem. Do not disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking professional advice because of something you have read on this website.