Oncology Association of Naturopathic Physicians: Principles of Care Guidelines
Patient use of integrative oncology (the inclusion of nonconventional treatments alongside the conventional standard of care) continues to grow, with some studies showing its use in cancer patients to be as high as 91%. Naturopathic physicians are primary care providers who use integrative therapies to deliver patient-centred care. The Oncology Association of Naturopathic Physicians (oncanp) was formed in 2004 as a specialty association for naturopathic physicians providing integrative cancer care (nd oncs). Currently, the membership encompasses more than 400 naturopathic physicians and students, 115 of whom are board-certified Fellows of the American Board of Naturopathic Oncology.
In 2016, oncanp established a committee comprising recognized experts in the field of naturopathic oncology to develop a Principles of Care (poc) guideline. The committee first undertook a review of existing standard-of-care and best-practice guidelines in the field of oncology and then adapted those concepts into a draft document. The draft document was then reviewed by naturopathic physicians, medical and radiation oncologists, naturopathic policy experts, and finally the oncanp membership at large.
The poc document presented here provides clear guidelines for nd oncs on how best to deliver patient-centred care in the areas of assessment, treatment planning, care management, interprofessional collaboration, and survivorship care. This naturopathic oncology poc document can be a valuable resource for nd oncs and other oncology care providers to further an understanding of the naturopathic and integrative oncology care model and its potential for collaboration.