Integrated Health Clinic Cancer Care Centre
We showcased the Integrated Health Clinic in the September 2009 issue of IHP. Dr’s Karen and Gurdev Parmar have been busy for the past three years.
Karen and Gurdev founded the clinic in 2000, with the mission statement of the facility serving as a guiding force governing all patient interactions; “at Integrated Health Clinic, we strive to treat all of our patients with compassion and respect, providing treatment options that are individualized for healing and quality of life”. The facilities golden rule is to ensure “every patient receives five- star service”.
Word has spread across the country and the continent as to the cutting- edge treatments offered at the facility. Patients come to Fort Langley from near and far seeking the exceptional standard of care, reputation, and commitment to the best available medicine the facility has been delivering for over a decade. Not a week ago while meeting with a highly reputable naturopathic oncologist in the Toronto area was I informed of several patients the ND had personally referred to visit the Fort Langley facility for treatments not available anywhere else in Canada.
Dr. Gurdev Parmar has entrenched himself in the Canadian and North American landscape as an elite level practitioner of integrative oncology. Something the Parmar’s had been planning for several years has recently come to fruition; the establishment of the Cancer Care Centre adjacent to the Integrated Health Clinic. The Cancer Care Centre is an 1800 sqft facility dedicated to the ever- growing patient base seeking the oncology expertise of Gurdev, his associate Dr. Johan Ghazali, and the other essential team members. Of similar timing was a major clinical advance for the team; offering of localized hyperthermia treatments for cancer. The continued pursuit of cutting- edge technologies and treatments necessitated the creation of the Cancer Care Centre to accommodate the growing patient base seeking such services. The establishment of both local and whole body hyperthermia treatments are the newest gems in the team’s pursuit of offering the very best in available cancer treatment options.
Gurdev highlights Locoregional Hyperthermia (LRHT) as an incredibly effective and truly integrative treatment. He describes it as truly integrative because “it is not a stand alone therapy. It works best in conjunction with chemotherapy and radiation. We have clearly seen patients having highlyimproved responses to conventional treatment when we apply LRHT”. “The key is coordinating the hyperthermia treatments with the patients chemotherapy/ radiation schedule”. Gurdev also describes the therapy as an important tool for palliative care, and as having a role as a monotherapy. “We have seen LRHT alone, in advanced and refractory patients, achieve reduction in tumour burden, improve QOL, and improve survival”. Gurdev highlights that the greatest success with LRHT is anticipated in the management of solid tumours. “For leukemias, lymphomas, testicular cancer, conventional treatments are the key. Integrative Oncology has less to offer in the primary treatment of these patients”.
After two years of experience with LRHT in which over 3,000 treatments were applied, Gurdev is thrilled that IHC is now offering fever range whole body hyperthermia (WBHT). WBHT applied in the fever range involves heating the core body temperature to 40 degrees celsius for five to six hours. This is used to augment chemotherapy in metastatic disease, as well as in leukemias and lymphomas.
The team has done an incredible job of creating positive working relationships with surrounding conventional and integrative oncologists. Referrals from other ND’s and local oncologists are a frequent occurrence. Gurdev continues to have a special working relationship with the team at the Lions Gate Hospital chemotherapy clinic, further ensuring integrative oncology reaches as many patients as possible. Gurdev maintains the ambition of serving as a residency site for the FABNO program, although progress in this area has met with some obstacles. A Canadian site is yet to serve as a residency facility for the FABNO designation, and many of the obstacles centre upon this. Likewise, the process of the naturopathic education research counsel (NERC) securing funding for the residents is another obstacle. Although having taken several years of diligence to deliver, the centre is 99%+ poised to meet this milestone, with the residency program linked to, or “offered through”, Bastyr University. Residents from Canada and the USA will be accepted.
The offering of LRHT at the facility has resulted in the arrival of patients from across Canada, the USA, and even as far away as New Zealand and South Africa. The Integrated Health Clinic and the newly created Cancer Care Centre have been offering leading- edge cancer treatments for many years prior to the arrival of LRHT, and several strategies remain mainstays in addition to the welcomed arrival of LRHT.
Such strategies include IV vitamin C, dichloroacetate (DCA), working with patients to improve diet and implement exercise, as well as nutritional/ nutraceutical/ functional food/ botanical supplementation Gurdev involves himself with many projects outside of practice, including roles on the Board of OncANP, the Editorial Board of the International Journal on Oncothermia, and the Board of Governors of CCNM. Gurdev highlights a very critical aspect of cancer care across Canada and most industrialized nations; far too much attention is centred on cancer treatment.
The best way to combat cancer is through prevention, and also through better screening. Early detection for most cancers is a major determinant of survival and QOL. Gurdev is a powerful advocate for improvements in screening technologies, as well as improvement in access to screening services. This important message is disseminated through the many avenues Gurdev gives back to the profession in an educational role.
Dr. Karen Parmar, Cofounder of the Integrated Health Clinic, has temporarily taken a step back from the practice. The arrival of her forth son, two horses, and a hobby farm have become her priorities in the immediate future, as has home-schooling of their eldest two sons for the past two years. She has plans of rejoining the team in the future, continuing her work in the areas of women’s health, pediatrics, and fertility. Karen maintains her role as the President of the College of Naturopathic Physicians of BC.
We at IHP feel the immense contributions of the Parmar’s to the profession is often over shadowed by their tremendous advances in clinical therapeutics their patients have come to be so grateful for. The Integrated Health Clinic and the Cancer Care Centre have established themselves as a centre of excellence for integrative medicine in Canada and beyond. The hundreds of ND’s who will have their careers molded by the efforts of Karen and Gurdev is among their greatest professional achievements.