New cancer treatment team comes to Prescott

Victoria Abel, Newton Bunce, Dr. Susan Godman and Dr. Robert Zieve are the principals in the Partners in Integrative Cancer Therapies on South Montezuma Street in Prescott.by Tom Scanlon
The Daily Courier

Prepare to be shocked - maybe even outraged - as here is what Dr. Robert Zieve often tells a patient who recently was diagnosed with cancer:

"This is the best thing that could have happened to you. It's going to change your life."

 

And he means that in a good way.

Unlike many of us, Zieve is not afraid of cancer - and hardly sees it as a death sentence.

"I really like to see people who have just been diagnosed (with cancer), and help them prevent the cancer from spreading," he said.

Zieve recently launched Partners in Integrative Cancer Therapies at 343 S. Montezuma St. in downtown Prescott.

But what, exactly, is "integrative treatment"?

Easy answer, says Zieve: "It combines the best of modern medicine with the best of alternative medicine."

Integrative can also be thought of as a bridge between the two forms of medicine. "We combine things that have been around for thousands of years with things that have been clinically proven in the last hundreds of years," said Zieve, who graduated from the Ohio State University College of Medicine, then worked for over 20 years as an emergency room doctor from 1983 to 2003.

In the past decade, he has shifted his focus to integrative medicine, working with cancer patients.

After years spent commuting from his home in Phoenix to an office in Phoenix, in April he moved his practice to his adopted hometown.

Here, Zieve works in collaboration with Susan Godman, a former oncology nurse who became a naturopathic medical physician, nutritionist Victoria Abel and Newton Bunce, a colon hydrotherapist - "that's a form of detoxification, for all kinds of conditions."

While the new clinic is good news for those who seek a variety of treatments, the bad news Zieve's clinic doesn't accept insurance. Or, better put, insurance companies don't reimburse patients for services here.

"Most insurance plans as well as Medicare do not reimburse for alternative medicine cancer treatment, often because it is thought to be unproved," Zieve says. "Because of this, most patients cannot get support from their insurance companies or Medicare for my services, unfortunately. This may vary according to a patient's insurance. We hope that this changes in the near future, with the tremendous growth of alternative and integrative medicine at major national medical centers."

Zieve stresses that he is hardly dismissive of the merits of traditional medicine. "Usually, I want my patients to have an oncologist," he said.

He adds that he never tells a patient to disregard the advice on an oncologist for radiation and/or chemotherapy; rather, he often gives patients alternate plans to address cancer, incorporating diet changes, herbs, nutritional supplements, acupuncture and other "holistic" treatment.

He says he commonly sees men with prostate cancer and women with breast cancer.

Though it is difficult to "cure" advanced stage cancer, Zieve said that his goal in these cases is to stop the cancer from spreading. "Even with Stage 3 and 4, we've had results - we've been able to give (patients) a good quality of life," Zieve said.

Dr. Zieve has met the enemy, and the enemy is sweet. "Cancer feeds on sugar," he tells his patients.

His nutritionist teaches clients how to all but eliminate processed sugar and refined carbohydrates from their diets.

Additionally, Zieve sometimes treats cancer patients with "an IV administration of a very small dose of insulin followed by low-dose chemotherapy, an approach in which I was trained by nationally recognized MD's."

His treatments, he says, can make patients feel better than before they had cancer.

"The reason I like working with cancer patients is sometimes it's a wake-up call: 'I have to change my life.

"Every illness," as Zieve sees it, "is an opportunity to change."

But really, he says, unless it's in a social setting, this doctor would rather not see you.

"Take care of yourself - eat right - and prevent cancer," he says, with a smile, "so you don't have to see me."

As such, Partners in Integrative Cancer Therapies conducts biweekly lectures on subjects related to health and cancer prevention. For information, call 928-445-2900 or visit www.integrativecancermd.com.

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