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Integrative Oncology: Functional Medicine Approach to Cancer Care


Reviewed by Clayton Bell, MD, FAAFP, ABOIM, IFMCP of Forum Health Asheville

Whether you’ve been diagnosed with cancer or are recovering, the cancer journey can be complex and filled with physical and emotional challenges, and uncertainty. It requires resilience, support and strategies to effectively navigate the terrain – and Forum Health is here to help you take control of your cancer diagnosis, heal and thrive. 

Cancer is a multifaceted disease and often requires a comprehensive approach to treatment that goes beyond traditional methods. As awareness grows about the limitations and side effects of conventional therapies, you may be ready to consider complementary cancer treatments to support your journey.  

Functional medicine, with its focus on addressing the root causes of illness and promoting holistic well-being, offers valuable insights and healing into complementary cancer care.  

Functional Medicine Approach to Cancer Care

Conventional cancer care typically refers to the standard medical treatments prescribed by oncologists, which often include surgery, chemotherapy, radiation therapy, and immunotherapy. These treatments are aimed at directly targeting and killing cancer cells or inhibiting their growth. 

Functional medicine complementary cancer care, on the other hand, takes a more holistic approach to cancer treatment. It focuses on addressing the underlying causes of cancer and supporting the body’s natural ability to heal while working with your oncology team. This approach may involve a combination of conventional cancer treatments and complementary therapies such as nutrition and lifestyle modifications, IV therapies, stress management, and pharmacy-grade nutraceuticals, as well as ground-breaking diagnostics and treatments like RGCC and SOT therapy. 

The key difference lies in the approach to treatment. Conventional cancer care primarily targets the cancer cells themselves, while functional medicine complementary cancer care aims to support the whole person, addressing not only the tumor but also the individual’s overall health and well-being. This approach may help alleviate treatment side effects, improve quality of life, and potentially enhance treatment outcomes by addressing factors that can influence cancer development and progression. Complementary cancer care approaches are synergistic with, but never a replacement for standard of care testing and therapies.

Precision Genetic Testing: RGCC

Forum Health seeks the most cutting-edge, advanced diagnostics to empower our providers to offer personalized treatment programs for our patients.  


One of the revolutionary tools now used in oncology is Research Genetics Cancer Center (RGCC) Testing. It assesses and monitors cancer patients, provides early cancer detection, and a personalized profile of chemotherapeutic drugs and other natural substances that can be used for the best treatment outcome.   


Watch this short video from Dr. Clayton Bell on the power of RGCC and how it can benefit your cancer journey.

How does RGCC Testing work?

RGCC Testing uses a blood sample to isolate and analyze circulating tumor cells and cancer stem cells circulating in your blood. The cells carry important genetic information to better understand the specific characteristics of your cancer. The test analyzes genetic markers, including specific genes, proteins, and other molecular features associated with cancer progression and treatment response. The blood sample is then tested against different kinds of therapies including chemotherapy, vitamin C and melatonin. By understanding the unique genetic profile of your cancer, doctors can tailor treatment strategies to target its weaknesses effectively including the revolutionary treatment – SOT Therapy. 

Personalized Alternative Cancer Treatment: SOT Therapy

After the RGCC test is complete, our providers use the information from the test to develop a treatment plan including the creation of Supportive Oligonucleotide Therapy (SOT) – a highly effective and individualized adjunctive cancer therapy. 


SOT therapy uses short strands of synthetic DNA or RNA molecules to target specific genes or cellular pathways involved in cancer progression. Unlike conventional chemotherapy, which indiscriminately kills both cancerous and healthy cells, SOT has the potential to selectively modulate gene expression and inhibit tumor growth while minimizing damage to healthy tissues. SOTs are most effective for “mopping up” circulating tumor cells and circulating tumor stem cells as opposed to being utilized as primary therapy for treating a primary tumor mass or metastasized lesion. We greatly prefer to use SOTs as a clean up therapy after a patient completes their standard of care therapies (surgery, chemotherapy, radiation) and is in the active surveillance phase of cancer care.


Watch this video from Dr. Andrew Petersen on how SOT can enhance cancer support.

SOT offers several unique benefits in the realm of complementary cancer care: 


  • Precision Targeting: Forum Health recognizes that a one-size-fits-all approach to cancer doesn’t work, and your genetic makeup is unique. SOT allows for precise targeting of specific genetic abnormalities or signaling pathways that are driving tumor growth. 


  • Enhanced Immune Function: Functional medicine places a strong emphasis on supporting the body’s innate ability to heal and defend itself against illness. 


  • Reduced Treatment Resistance: Cancer cells can develop resistance to chemotherapy and other conventional therapies over time, leading to treatment failure and disease progression. SOT offers a promising adjunctive therapeutic approach that may overcome resistance mechanisms by selectively silencing specific tumor gene expression.


  • Integrated Approach: Forum Health takes a holistic view of wellness, recognizing the interconnectedness of mind, body, and spirit. SOT can be integrated into a comprehensive cancer care plan that includes dietary and lifestyle interventions, stress management techniques, and other complementary therapies to address the underlying causes of cancer and promote overall well-being. 

Take Control of Your Health with A Cancer Diagnosis

Complementary cancer care encompasses a holistic approach that addresses the underlying causes of cancer and promotes optimal health and well-being. RGCC and SOT therapy represent a promising new frontier in cancer treatment that offers personalized, targeted approaches with the potential to minimize side effects, enhance cancer therapy effectiveness, and ultimately improve treatment outcomes. As research advances, SOT can revolutionize the way we approach cancer care. 


Forum Health is here to offer hope and possibilities if you or your loved ones are facing this challenging journey. 

Schedule a discovery call today and find out how we can help.