We have been discussing the Xie study on Facebook (www.facebook.com/AHVMAFoundation). We are raising over $80,000 for a study examining the use of Chinese herbs in canine lymphosarcoma (lymph cancer) and comparing the results with patients receiving conventional chemotherapy. It's a tremendous study and we are very excited about.
For those interested in donating use this link http://ahvmf.org/index.php/we-need-your-help
1. Meet Dr Betsy Hershey, a lead investigator on the Xie Study. Where are you and what are your credentials?
My name is Betsy Hershey. I am the owner of Integrative Veterinary Oncology (IVO) located in Phoenix Arizona. I am board certified in the American College of Veterinary Internal Medicine (ACVIM), subspecialty of Oncology. I am also certified in veterinary acupuncture with extensive training in traditional Chinese veterinary medicine. IVO offers a unique approach of blending western and eastern therapies for the treatment of cancer in dogs and cats.
2. How did you become interested in integrative medicine?
I realized early in my oncology career that western medicine did not have all the answers or tools to treat cancer and some patients were suffering from the effects of western cancer therapies. I wanted to be able to treat the “whole” patient and enhance quality of life for my patients. I also wanted to be able to offer treatment options when western medicine could not adequately address the cancer. I feel that the integrative approach to cancer treatment has greatly enhanced the quality of life for our patients and in many cases has even improved survival outcomes.
3. Tell us about lymphoma in dogs and why do we need more tools to address this disease?
Lymphoma is the most common cancer in dogs. It affects every breed (some more than others) and can occur in dogs as young as 1 year of age. It is an aggressive cancer with rapid progression if left untreated. Average survival time without treatment is 4-6 weeks. Chemotherapy can achieve remission in most dogs for average of 1 year, but a cure for this cancer has been elusive. I feel we have reached the limit for what chemotherapy can do to treat this cancer. Adjunctive therapies that can improve survival times while maintaining a good quality of life are desperately needed.
4. I understand that you head up a group interested in studying quality of life in veterinary cancer patients. Is that a new idea?
Quality of life is a major concern for the pet owner seeking cancer treatments for their beloved animal. The group’s aim is to create and improve tools for evaluating quality of life in veterinary patients receiving cancer treatment, generate well designed research to help evaluate effective and ineffective practices that impact quality of life and to hopefully provide evidence of the role of complementary and integrative medicine on quality of life in veterinary cancer patients.
5. Anything you want to say about the importance of private people supporting integrative research?
I feel that many of the advances in treating chronic diseases, including cancer, will come from an integrative approach to healing. It is so important to support research in integrative medicine for these advances to occur. Often what we learn in treating a specific disease in animals can be translated to treatment approaches in humans (and vice versa). Some day this research may save a person or animal you love. I have personally experienced the tremendous impact integrative medicine has had on our patient care. Many patients with advanced cancer are living longer with better quality of life. Being able to provide that hope to owners is priceless.
6. How can people help you?
Please support our research evaluating the efficacy of acupuncture and herbs as an adjunctive treatment for canine patients with lymphoma receiving chemotherapy. At this precise time every dollar you donate for the Xie study will be matched one for one by another donor. What a great chance to double your investment and potentially reduce suffering! For more information and to donate, please go to this secure site http://ahvmf.org/index.php/we-need-your-help