Survivorship Brings New Challenges & Opportunities

Chronic disease and the acute care paradigm

This past weekend I read one of the most important medical research articles of the year.

This article titled - “Metabolic features and regulation of the healing cycle—A new model for chronic disease pathogenesis and treatment” is highly technical. However, the beginning of the article is very simple:

“Without healing, multicellular life on Earth would not exist. Without healing, one injury predisposes to another, leading to disability, chronic disease, accelerated aging, and death” (Naviaux, 2018).

The author goes on to describe the history of acute medical care:

Much of modern Western medicine is based on the principles of acute interventions for poisoning, physical injury, or infection. These principles trace to historical figures like Paracelsus (1493–1541), Ambroise Paré (1510–1590), and Louis Pasteur (1822–1895).  These acute care interventions are now widely used in the modern fields of pharmacology, toxicology, urgent care, emergency medicine, and surgery.

When treating acute disruptions in health [such as a cancerous tumor], the careful identification of the trigger, or cause of the problem, and the anatomical location of the defect, is an important part of good medical care.

However, when dealing with chronic illness, treatments based on the rules of acute care medicine have proven less helpful, and can even cause harm by producing unwanted side-effects
— Robert K. Naviaux, 2018

Survivorship brings new challenges

Cancer patients and cancer survivors need to deeply understand the author’s recommended “new model for chronic disease pathogenesis and treatment.”

Significant investments in cancer research have resulted in a dramatic increase in the number of patients surviving their cancer diagnosis (below).

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Utah oncology clinics are applying research to quality cancer treatment through immunotherapy, chemotherapy, surgery, and radiation. As a result of this research, cancer is now considered a chronic disease, and will soon be the leading cause of death in the United States (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2018).

However, the rapid growth of individuals surviving their cancer diagnosis, has resulted in suboptimal integrative care during and after cancer treatment. According to the National Cancer Institute, this situation has created an urgent need for strategies that address cancer survivorship (2014).

Lisa Richardson, MD, and Director of the Centers for Disease Control’s Division of Cancer Prevention and Control stated:

[M]ore people are living longer after a cancer diagnosis. This trend means that public health must adapt to ensure that survivors receive the care and resources they need
— Lisa Richardson, MD, 2018

Indeed, cancer patients and cancer survivors need access and availability to affordable resources that makes it easy to learn, practice, and adopt a complete healing approach. However, in Utah, there is a critical gap in access and availability to affordable integrative cancer survivorship care.

To fill this gap, the Cancer Wellness House has established strategic partnerships with each of the oncology groups in Utah. Through referrals from these partners, the Cancer Wellness House delivers free and reduced cost evidence-based health and wellness services to cancer patients, cancer survivors, caregivers, and family members. These programs and services provide an increased sense of community, significantly improved quality of life, and hope (National Institutes of Health, National Cancer Institute).

To find out more about the programs and services at the Cancer Wellness House please contact Katy Pange at 801-236-2294 or

To find out more on the new model for chronic disease pathogenesis and treatment, and how you or a loved-one can start to practice and adopt this new approach, please contact Dr. John John Librett at 801-236-2294 or

Cancer Wellness