01. Integrative Assessment
OUR 6-STEP ONCOLOGY PROGRAM
The functional assessment aims to address one of the most important challenges within the battle against cancer; individuality.
We have all heard at some point within medicine, the phrase “no patient is the same”, which is very true, these diversities to which we refer, are mostly detectable, we can be objective in terms of differences presented by each patient compared to another.
However, the traditional approach once the diagnosis is obtained, is practically general, that is, all patients with X cancer will undergo a protocolized treatment, where the differences are minimal, this approach is tumor-oriented, leaving aside to a certain extent, the individuality of each patient.
Patient individuality is the way each patient experiences, feels and lives with his cancer diagnosis. Where the only thing that is taken as common based on the diagnosis is, the type of Cancer and therefore possible location, other than that, we will find a world of differences between them, such as age, sex (certain cancers affect only one gender), localization and size of tumors, the extent of damage to surrounding areas of these tumors, treatments done, response to these treatments, additional illnesses besides the primary cancer diagnosis, the list goes on and on…
We can say that the only rule in cancer is that there are no rules, the scenarios in which cancer can occur along with other diseases of any kind are extensive, we have treated patients with cancer AND AIDS, Cancer AND hepatitis, Cancer AND liver cirrhosis , these are extreme example, but DO happen!
When we develop a treatment scenario, we need to take into consideration the general condition of the patient at the time of diagnosis, how strong or weak he is to deal with the disease both physically and emotionally.
We have been able to recognize 5 areas related to the possible etiology of cancer, these are, Genetics, Nutrition, Xenobiosis or toxicity, Chronic inflammation such as dysfunction of the immune response, and Psychology, all of which we will speak in greater detail at another time.
Returning to the functional assessment, as we can see, there are many individual factors that are involved in each of the patients we treat. That is why the functional evaluation was developed based on the individuality of each patient and the 5 etiological areas, where we not only focus in the cancer-related state of wellbeing but the general state of how the patient is living and dealing with the disease and how this disease is manifesting specifically in this individual.
By recognizing that individuality can extend to any area of medicine, we must also recognize the importance of a MEDICAL TEAM as the only real way to deal with this disease. Cancer has been defined as the result of multiple situations, pathologies and factors, so it only makes sense that a multidisciplinary team is the one that fronts it.
This happens typically in the first 3 to 4 days of the patient’s arrival, consisting of two main areas:
- Medical appointments with assigned team, and,
- Medical tests ranging from imaging studies to lab-work, we will not repeat recent tests, we will only perform those which the patient does not have or the ones that have lost clinical value. The evaluation is done through the assigned functional team, which can be extended or modified to any situation or need of each patient.
The goal of comprehensive assessment is the detailed analysis of what is “healthy” typically the oncological diagnosis approach is for the “not healthy” assuming a good condition the rest of the organic functions, away from the possible prevention of frequent complications. An adequate analysis of the “healthy” allows us to define specific needs, as well as identify possible hidden situations causing complications or other possible pathologies and therefore their possible prevention or early management.
The evaluation will provide us with information about the rest of the systems and organs that by definition are not affected by the disease, however, we know that there is an “overload” by which these systems are going to maintain the physiological balance.
It is of utmost importance to define this possible “overload” to avoid imbalance which leads the patient to a health decline or possible complications. When detecting systems and organs with overload we can specify which intervention could be optimal for preventive and maintenance purposes.
This allows us to outline the plan to maintain the balance in patients who have it, as well as establish a proper intervention for those who do not.
The range of tests performed in conjunction with medical evaluations allow us to know the patient and his individuality, to recognize specific needs and priorities for the construction of a truly tailored treatment plan.