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My name is Dr Heather Paulson ND, FABNO.
I am a Board Certified Naturopathic Oncologist, one of a few in the country. For those who do not know what this is, it means I went through medical school like any other doctor and focused on naturopathic medicine. Naturopathic doctors choose to use herbs, vitamins, diet, and alternative health practices as our primary treatments, utilizing drugs only when necessary.
I am a cancer expert here to answer your questions.
Bringing Natural Medicine to Cancer Care
As a Naturopathic Oncologist, I have specialized training in applying natural medicine to cancer care. I am also able to help you safely integrate natural therapies into other cancer treatment programs, such as chemotherapy and radiation.
I have been in the trenches known as cancer for over a decade and how we approach and treat cancer in America continues to change. My passion is to help people who have cancer find and choose the best treatment. I have been on both sides of cancer: having family members diagnosed and as a medical doctor. I am here to help you.
My training includes completing an oncology residency at Goshen General Hospital where I became board certified in naturopathic oncology. At Goshen General, I participated in helping thousands of people with cancer. My experience at the Goshen Center for Cancer care influenced the integrative and comprehensive nature of my own cancer center, The Paulson Center for Integrative Healing. After completing residency, I started teaching oncology and hematology at the Southwest College of Naturopathic Medicine. This is also where I started writing the Textbook of Naturopathic and Integrative Oncology.
So how does one choose to become a doctor that focuses on cancer? The truth is that initially I dreamed of being a marine biologist.
Family Fact Checker, Cancer Researcher, Truth Teller
I wasn’t one of those kids that dreamed of being a doctor. I loved science and biology. I loved looking at how ecological systems operated, initially in the ocean. I always had the ability to see how things that seemed disconnected were connected, and to be creative at problem solving.
I initially started on the path to be a Marine Biologist, but while I was on that path, my dad was diagnosed with colon cancer. Since I was well versed in reading scientific research studies, finding my way around the biology library, and understanding biological statistics, I became the family fact checker, cancer researcher, and truth teller.
I became the person that gave my family the “normal people” language version of his medical diagnosis. While my dad was dying from his cancer, I took some time away from working for the National Park Service and became a caregiver. This was the first time I came across the word ‘naturopathic doctor.’
Finding Naturopathic Medicine
The principles of naturopathic medicine spoke deep into my heart at a time that I was looking into the face of the heart breaking loss of my dad, who was my best friend and my teacher. The principles stated:
- First, Do No Harm
- Doctor As Teacher
- Use The Healing Power of Nature
- Heal the Whole Person Through Individualized Treatment
- Treat the Cause of Disease
- Teach the Principles of Healthy Living and Preventative Medicine
- Emphasize Prevention
- Support The Healing Power of the Body
(Read more about how the principles of naturopathic medicine apply to cancer care.)
After my dad died, I went back to my job at Muir Woods in Northern California. One day while walking through the redwoods, I realized that in order to have a healthy watershed, we needed healthy, vibrant humans. If you want less disease, you need to drink clean, pure water.
If you want strength and vitality, the soil your food is grown in needs lots of vitamins and minerals. Realizing that everything was contingent on human health, I immediately applied to Naturopathic Medical School. Having fulfilled my dreams of being a marine biologist, I put my waders and SCUBA gear to the side and put on a stethoscope.
The Story Does Not End There
During my first year of medical school, my husband was diagnosed with lymphoma. It was devastating to have another cancer diagnosis hit so close to home, especially after the recent loss of my dad. One of the most distinct parts of my husband’s journey with lymphoma is that he was able to use naturopathic medicine with his cancer treatments.
Every time my husband walked into his oncologist’s office, they would announce, “Oh good! A healthy one!” Despite being on a chemo regimen that kept him in the hospital for 5 days every 3 weeks, my husband was one of the “healthy ones.” That is when I decided that I had to bring natural medicine and naturopathic oncology to more people. There was no reason for anyone to suffer the way my dad had. Cancer care could be different with natural medicine and naturopathic therapies.
From then on, my life’s work and passion became Naturopathic Oncology. And I have been obsessed ever since. I’m ready to be part of your team. Together, we’ve got this. Before hiring someone to be part of your health care team, it’s important to know more about her training and academic background.
For those of you interested in learning more about my work and training:
- Graduated from the University of California, Santa Barbara with a B.S. in Aquatic Biology
- Doctorate of Naturopathic Medicine from Southwest College of Naturopathic Medicine in Tempe, Arizona
- Two-year oncology residency at Goshen General Hospital’s Center for Cancer Care
- Health care provider, Women’s Retreat Center in Goshen, Indiana
- Naturopathic Oncologist at 21st Century Radiation Oncology throughout the Arizona, Phoenix area
- Medical provider at Innovative Primary Care
- Founded The Paulson Center for Integrative Healing in Tempe, AZ, which has been recognized by She Takes on The World for “Brick and Mortar Brilliance.” This center currently serves our local community, and people diagnosed with cancer all over the world.
- Featured on Fox and ABC as a natural cancer expert
- Author of the Textbook of Naturopathic and Integrative Oncology (projected publish date: January 2018)
- Clinical and Adjunct Faculty at the Southwest College of Naturopathic Medicine, teaching both oncology and hematology
- National and International Speaker: American Association of Naturopathic Physicians, Oncology Association of Naturopathic Physicians, Hawaii Doc Talks, Academy of Comprehensive Integrative Medicine
- Contributing Writer: Naturopathic Doctor News and Review, Journal of Natural Medicine, The NaturalPath
- Media contributor for: Colon Cancer Answers, She Takes on The World TV with Emmy Award winner Natalie MacNeil, iHealthTube.
- Philanthropy: Desert Cancer Foundation of Arizona, My Hope Bag, Melonhead Foundation, Livestrong Foundation Survivor Day.