13507063_1744539202425348_8948383988403763916_nA new integrative cancer center opened its doors in the South African city of Cape Town on Monday. The Hummingbird Cancer Center offers a comprehensive holistic method of tackling cancer, incorporating nutrition, exercise, and other forms of self-healing.

Led by registered doctors, dieticians, clinical psychologists, naturopaths, oncology nurses, and Reiki practitioners, to name a few, the program offers a seven-day protocol of minimally invasive and immune boosting treatments, combining technology, natural medicine, and psychological support. The week begins with comprehensive consultation and diagnostic testing performed by an integrative medical doctor in conjunction with a naturopath, who output blood analysis, iridology, and natural diagnostics.

From there, a patient is given a tailored treatment plan to boost their immune system and clean out their body’s system in preparation for further treatments. Such therapies include Photo Dynamic Therapy, a treatment that uses photosensitizing agents and light to kill cancer cells. The center combines the treatment with natural medicine supplements.

Dieticians also perform a consult, with DNA swabs and genetic sensitivity analysis, and offer individualized diet plans to optimize healing. The center’s team of clinical psychologists oversees the patient’s mental state, integrating emotional strength and healing, together with psychoneuroimmunology and mindful wellness.

Patients at the center undergo oncology massage, which calms the body and releases tension linked to stress and blockages in the system. Other holistic treatments available include yoga and sound therapy.

The center also employs a team of Angels, a support group of cancer survivors who provide guidance and counselling throughout the program and post-treatment.

Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer in South Africa, which accounts for 17% of all cancer deaths, followed by oesophagus (13 percent), cervix (8 percent), breast (8 percent), and liver (6 percent) cancers. The global cancer burden continues to rise, with an anticipated 13.2 million deaths by 2030, and many cases are compounded by adoption of unhealthy lifestyles and behaviors, such as smoking, poor diet, and inactivity.

Hummingbird sees itself as a complimentary pillar in the recovery process and does not intend to replace traditional oncology, radiotherapy, or surgery, according to Dr. James La Porta, the facility’s integrative medical practitioner. Recovery, he says, should not focus solely on medicine, but should instead incorporate techniques that benefit the mind, body, and spirit.