Two Doctors Talk About Holistic & Integrated Approaches To Cancer


Medical science recognises treatment as a physical cure and pays little or no attention to the others aspects of your being.  Hence, doctors practicing conventional medicine are usually wary of holistic therapies. Two renowned doctors who have closely witnessed the impact of holistic therapies share their valuable insights. 

Conventional Treatments + Holistic therapies

Dr. Vishal Rao, a Bangalore-based Surgical Oncologist who specialises in Head & Neck cancers, talks about how holistic therapies can support the allopathic treatment of cancer.

Dr. Rao: There are various therapies like surgery, chemotherapy and radiotherapy to treat cancer. In my experience, it is not enough to try and destroy the cancer cells with the strongest of chemotherapy / surgery.

The body also needs to be in a state to accept this treatment and the also immune system plays a paramount role in maintaining this balance. Our immune system plays a very important role in healing. I have no doubt that in addition to the conventional treatments, if a patient gets emotional, spiritual and family support, his recovery rate will be faster than usual.

“When you get into a tight place and everything goes against you, till it seems as though you could not hang on a minute longer, never give up then, for that is just the place and time that the tide will turn.” – Harriet Beecher Stowe

A Doctor becomes the Patient

Dr. Stanley Wetschler from Pittsburgh, USA shares his personal experience of recovery from cancer.

Dr. Wetschler: In 1999, I was diagnosed with metastatic colon cancer that had spread to my liver and lungs. My oncologists told me that chemotherapy is the only feasible option to control my condition and that I would live for only a few more months.

They advised me to go back home and spend quality time with my family. Naturally, this news came as a shock because, as a qualified and experienced doctor myself, I knew all the deadly eventualities of cancer.

By God’s grace, from 1999 until today, I continue to live on and I feel like I’m getting better and stronger by the day. To the extent, that my oncologists – who are among the best in the business and who had pronounced my death sentence – feel awkward and embarassed to meet me.

“You’re a very lucky man” is all that people can say … and I find it odd that very few ask me what I actually did, to turn around my ‘terminal’ diagnosis!”

The Skeptic Becomes A Convert

My wife, Jeannie, enjoyed reading books on holistic medicine. Not wanting to hurt her feelings by saying what I really thought then (that those methods were nonsense) I would politely dismiss them as “not relevant to me”.

This was before my personal encounter with cancer. When I became the ‘patient’ with a dismal survival prognosis, I opened myself to explore the uncharted world of integrated and holistic medicine.

With Jeannie’s help, I employed an array of different therapies, including prayer, meditation, visualization, herbs and supplements, massage, reflexology, support groups, a raw vegetarian diet (based on the Ann Wigmore program of consuming wheat-grass juice and sprouts.)

“After the Wigmore program, one of the pulmonary tumors had decreased in size and my CEA. value decreased so I opted for surgery to remove the lung tumors. I sensed that the tumor biology had been significantly altered, and that a cure would now be possible. Life is very short, so enjoy the time with your family, do everything that you enjoy doing!”

The Way Forward

Now, I advise and guide, many cancer-afflicted patients and families instilling the hope and courage they crave. This gives me great satisfaction and inner peace.

I feel really happy when those people come back and tell me about how they feel and how things have changed for them.

Jeannie and I are regular visitors to India and they feel that India has a treasure-house of medical knowledge and where integrating mind-body-soul is hugely under-leveraged.

We are active in community service initiatives which help the sick and the needy. What better way can there be, to utilize the invaluable time that has been gifted back to us?

Stan concludes “Cancer itself doesn’t define me, but how I live and fight with cancer DOES define me. You may have cancer, but let the cancer not have you”

I leave you with a quote from the legendary cyclist and cancer thriver, Lance Armstrong.

“Pain is temporary. It may last a minute, or an hour, or a day, or a year, but eventually it will subside and something else will take its place. If I quit, however, it lasts forever.”

Tell us about a time where you didn’t quit –  where you persevered and succeeded?


  • What steps are you taking to keep your immunity up, alongside your medical treatment?
  • How much emotional, spiritual and family support are you getting … what do you need more of?
  • What reservations do you have about complementary approaches to healing cancer? How can you be better informed about what works and what doesn’t?
  • To what extent are you letting your cancer define you? What will motivate you to persevere and succeed when things are looking tough?


Lance Armstrong quote from:


Written by a first-year student of Communications from Mount Carmel College, Bangalore, who wishes to remain anonymous.


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