Improving Quality of Life

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29 Bayswater Avenue

Ottawa, Ontario K1Y 2E5

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What is the Ottawa Integrative Cancer Centre (OICC)?

The OICC is the first integrative cancer care and research centre of its kind in Eastern Canada. We were established to provide the best in integrative cancer care, to improve the quality of life of those touched by this debilitating disease.

We offer whole-person care for cancer patients interested in receiving complementary support alongside conventional treatments and for those seeking prevention of cancer or its recurrence. We work with patients, their families, their family doctors and their oncologists and surgeons, to develop complementary, therapeutic programs that can help to optimize overall wellness.

Through our clinical practice, research and education, we strive to assess and reduce the possible causes of cancer while exploring innovative integrative treatment approaches.

Is the OICC a not-for-profit organization?

Yes. The OICC is a not-for-profit regional centre of the Canadian College of Naturopathic Medicine, a registered charity providing education and research in naturopathic and complementary medicine since 1978.

What is the Canadian College of Naturopathic Medicine (CCNM) and what is its connection to the OICC?

The Canadian College of Naturopathic Medicine (CCNM) is a not-for profit charitable organization that is one of seven accredited educational colleges across North America responsible for training naturopathic doctors (NDs). The College is based in Toronto and provides a four-year, full-time, intensive program of medical training to over 500 students.

CCNM provides operational support and the governance for the OICC. A fundamental principle of naturopathic medicine is whole-person care, and through the successful operation of the OICC, the College will help positively impact the approach to cancer care in Canada. The CCNM is committed to seeing change in the health care system that embraces a more proactive preventative approach to health-care.

What is integrative oncology?

Integrative oncology is an approach to cancer care that believes a number of therapies can and should be provided in a collaborative way to give a patient the best means possible to heal themselves physically, mentally and emotionally. The field of integrative oncology is an evolving one but essentially is based on whole-person care that puts the patient at the forefront and recognizes the value of complementary medicine in optimizing care. The ideal of integrative oncology sees the best of conventional medicine combined with the best of complementary medicine provided in a seamless and safe manner. This is a goal to which the OICC is striving to help achieve, in Ottawa and ultimately across Canada.

What is complementary cancer care?

Complementary care consists of diverse medical and health care systems, practices and products that are not currently considered to be part of conventional medicine, such as acupuncture, botanical medicines, massage and meditation. It is called “complementary” care because it is practiced alongside conventional medicine in a supportive way.

Existing evidence-base shows that when some complementary therapies are used together with conventional cancer treatments, the result is enhanced efficacy, reduced symptoms of toxicity, alleviated patient distress and reduced suffering.

The goals of complementary medicine for people undergoing cancer treatment include:

  • Decreasing side effects of cancer treatment
  • Improving energy, well-being and overall quality of health
  • Balancing and supporting the body’s immune system
  • Nourishing the mind, body, and spirit in the healing process
  • Providing strategies for cancer prevention and health maintenance
  • Providing natural anticancer therapies that can help control the disease

What is whole-person, patient-centered care?

Whole-person care is an approach to health care that addresses the “whole-person”, not just a specific disease that an individual may have. It is believed that:

  • a state of health is inseparable from the body, mind, spirit, and environment
  • the body has an inherent ability to heal itself
  • lifestyle factors contribute to health and illness
  • every individual is biochemically unique

Whole-person care also encourages "self-care", through the use of a wide range of health practices and therapies including nutrition, yoga, acupuncture, and exercise. Patients are empowered to choose their treatment options, and are encouraged to take an active role in their healing process through the adoption of these self-care practices.

What is the role of naturopathic doctors at the OICC?

Our naturopathic doctors (NDs) have additional education in integrative cancer care and are all members of the Oncology Association of Naturopathic Physicians (OncANP).

At the OICC, we believe it is optimal for patients to be under the care of one of our NDs. They act as a primary caregiver, ensuring that all facets of a person’s health are being addressed. Through whole-person, patient-centred cancer care, our NDs guide and monitor each patient through the right complementary therapies at the right time.

Would my naturopathic doctor at the OICC work together with my oncologist or surgeon?

Yes.  At the OICC we encourage open communication with all conventional practitioners in order to help our patients achieve the best possible outcome. We are committed to working with the patient’s full cancer team to develop complementary therapeutic programs that will not interfere with standard treatments but instead, will help to optimize patient care.

What range of therapies do you offer?

Our team of regulated health-care practitioners offer naturopathic medicine, nutritional counseling, physiotherapy, drugless psychiatry, family therapy, acupuncture, massage therapy, lymphedema and lymphatic drainage, reflexology, exercise therapy, counselling, and yoga therapy.

Anyone interested in learning more about our available therapies is invited to attend an information session with a care coordinator. Please book an appointment by calling the OICC at 613-792-1222 or 1-855-546-1244.

What is naturopathic medicine and why is it unique?

Naturopathic medicine is a distinct system of primary care that addresses the root cause of illness or disease and promotes health and healing using natural therapies. It supports the body’s own healing ability using an integrated approach to disease diagnosis, treatment and prevention.

Naturopathic doctors use natural, non-toxic therapies that support the whole-person and stimulate inherent healing processes. The goal is to create a healthy internal and external environment. This is significant for individuals living with cancer.

How can I become a patient?  Is a referral needed?

New patients are welcome with or without a referral to see any of our naturopathic doctors and therapists. To make an appointment, please call the OICC at 613-792-1222 or 1-855-546-1244.

We welcome patients at any stage of cancer or those wishing to prevent cancer.

 What is the role of a care coordinator?

Care coordinators is a service we offer free of charge for all new patients who wish to be cared for at the OICC. Care Coordinators are available to assess your needs and to help guide you in accessing the right caregivers and resources for true integrative care. Care Coordinators are able to help with your care at the Centre but do not directly provide any therapy or prescriptions. New patients are booked in and seen for approximately fifteen minutes with a care coordinator and there is no charge for this service.

Can I become a patient if I’m just interested in preventing cancer?

Absolutely.  We work with people living with cancer and those wishing to prevent it, on how to take control of their own health.

Are your services covered by Ontario Health Insurance (OHIP)?

Some of our practitioners do provide care covered by OHIP but as most of our health care professionals are private practitioners we are primarily a fee-for-service clinic.  Many of our services, however, are covered under private and employer health insurance plans.

Do you offer subsidized care?

Subsidized care is available for those who cannot afford out-of-pocket costs not covered by OHIP or insurance plans.  

What educational programming do you offer?

The OICC is driven to educate and empower people with cancer, or those attempting to prevent cancer, on how best to take control of their own health. We also provide informational sessions for the general public, as well as training and education for health care practitioners.

We offer and participate in workshops, seminars and online webinars year-round. Please see our upcoming schedule of events.

What research do you conduct?

Our research is based on two main pillars: the conduct of clinical trials for promising complementary therapies and the evaluation of integrative whole-systems of care. Our research enables us to address significant research gaps in regards to the safety, clinical effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of complementary therapies and integrative oncology and is a fundamental part of the vision and mission of the OICC.

Future plans include developing a research agenda to explore relevant issues in the field of environmental oncology, particularly in relation to risk factors that influence cancer development and recurrence. Please see our research to get a better sense of the work we have conducted and are currently working on.

Where are you located?

We are located in Hintonburg neighbourhood in Ottawa at the corner of Somerset and Bayswater just east of Preston Road.

Ottawa Integrative Cancer Centre
26 Bayswater Avenue
Ottawa, Ontario
K1Y 2E5

Phone: 613-792-1222
Toll Free: 1-855-546-1244
Fax: 613-792-1620

Hours: Monday - Friday 8 a.m. - 5 p.m.

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Voices of Support

“For far too long, disciplines have worked in isolation without communication and our patients have often felt caught between differing therapeutic philosophies, often to their detriment. This is a wonderful initiative. An integrative program will help provide a much needed bridge.”

Shailendra Verma, MD, FRCPC, FACP (chair)
Medical Oncologist, The Ottawa Hospital 

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