The evidence for integrative treatment—this will impress you

One thing that impresses me about Dr. Francisco Contreras, besides his eminent pedigree, the legacy of his world-renowned father, and his cultured, gentle-but-brilliant “bedside manner,” is his focus on evidence.

He administers chemotherapy to 10 percent of his patients, but he preps them for it with integrative treatments, because, he says that with the one-size-fits-all, high-dose chemo, “Many times if we get rid of the tumor, we get rid of the patient.”

Because they own the hospital and because of a multi-generational legacy, they are able to complete studies that most of the small practitioners cannot do. And the results are impressive. Comparing five-year studies for Stage IV patients only, against those same statistics published by the National Cancer Institute, is a valid statistical measure.

With lung cancer, they achieve 9 times better results than “conventional treatment only” achieves. 65% still die, but Contreras is very focused on the treatment being humane, comfortable, and helpful in achieving quality of life. So, he says, “Those who do not survive are benefited too. In our research, 85 percent tell us they were benefited from the treatment here.”

Most cancer patients arriving at Oasis of Hope have Stage 4 metastatic disease, so Oasis’ results include Stage 4 only, and can be compared to Cancer Treatment Centers of America (CTCOA). CTCOA ostensibly does “integrative” care, but that may be more lip service than philosophical. (A patient at Oasis Irvine told me that a doc there told her she had to do surgery, chemo, and radiation, or she would be eliminated as a patient.)

Oasis patients are doing much better than those at CTCOA, and better than the average “standard of care” in the U.S. (where chemo and radiation are required as the only practices).

In fact, they are doing 2-3 times better in terms of 5-year cancer survival, which is the gold standard in cancer statistics.

Oasis tracked statistics for Stage 4 breast, lung, ovarian, and colorectal cancers. Here are some of the statistics:

At 1 year, 93% of Oasis breast cancer patients are alive, compared to 65% in the U.S. receiving standard of care. At 5 years, 48% of Oasis patients are alive, compared to 20% in U.S. Overall survival rate is 31% higher.

At 1 year, 94% of Oasis ovarian cancer patients are alive, compared to 62% in the U.S. At 5 years, compare 54% to 18%. Overall survival rate is 39% higher.

At 1 year, 82% of Oasis lung cancer patients are alive, compared to 20% in the U.S. At 5 years, compare 9% to 1.6%. Overall survival rate is 31% higher.

At 1 year, 72% of colorectal cancer patients are alive, compared to 43% in the U.S. At 5 years, compare 16% to 7%. Overall survival rate is 16% higher.

You can see more detail on the 5-year study here.