Naturopathic Integrative Consultant, Katrina Bogdon, joins me on this episode to discuss evidence-based integrative approaches for breast cancer. She is a wealth of information for naturopathic integrative oncology and provides compassionate care with a level of excellence that is hard to find. In this episode she shares how to navigate the challenges of being diagnosed with breast cancer and where to find evidence-based therapies. You will also learn more about her integrative program for people undergoing breast cancer treatment called The Missing Piece.
DISCLAIMER: Katrina is not licensed in the state of Missouri and works as a Naturopathic Integrative Consultant.
Episode 18 Transcript
Brigitte Factor 0:13 Hello and welcome to the hungry for truth podcast. I'm your host, Brigitte factor, a truth seeker, researcher, scientist, nutritionist, teacher in truth teller, and awakening is coming. Get ready for it
Hello, and welcome back to the hungry for truth podcast. I'm your host Brigitte Factor. I have a wonderful guest with me today. Her name is Katrina Bogdon. She is a naturopathic physician here in Southwest Missouri. Let me introduce her. Katrina grew up in the Ozarks. Her business Our Healing Roots is located at her farm in Seymour, Missouri. Katrina helps people diagnosed with breast cancer to choose evidence based natural approaches that safely integrate with their conventional breast cancer treatment. Katrina graduated with an undergraduate degree in physics and a doctorate in naturopathic medicine. And at the National University of natural medicine in Portland, Oregon she completed over 4100 hours of classroom and clinical training, including 1200 hours of hands on supervised clinical training. Since 2007 she has been licensed in the state of Washington as a naturopathic physician. She completed an integrative oncology residency program at Cancer Treatment Centers of America in Tulsa, Oklahoma. And in 2015, she returned to the Ozarks and offered naturopathic consultations at 2 B Well in Springfield. She now serves as an integrative oncology consultant to people undergoing conventional breast cancer treatment in her program called The Missing Piece. And she provides one on one integrative support virtually or in person at her Seymour farm. Welcome, Katrina. I'm so glad to have you on the podcast.
Katrina Bogdon 2:21 Thank you so much for having me, Brigitte, I really appreciate it.
Brigitte Factor 2:24 Yeah. So I would love to dig into your story more and would you please share more about how you came to the work in the field of naturopathic integrative oncology?
Katrina Bogdon 2:35 Well, it's not exactly what I set out to do when I was going to say the truth I don't think many people do. But when I was young, I was absolutely obsessed with space. And so to the point, I was trying to teach myself calculus to figure out the astrophysics equation. I was really overboard and wanted to be the first woman on Mars. I did finally get the opportunity to fly with NASA on what they call the vomit comet. And it truly did live up to its name, I found out I was not the right stuff. So but, you know, and I also realized, too, you know, sitting in monitoring test tubes, on a Friday night was just not very interesting. I wanted to spend and interact more with people and my service to the world. So I started looking at medicine at the time, because I had already been studying space medicine and was interested in medical physics. And had the blessing to be paired with a physician who really did not care for his job too much. And I was a little appalled at what he had said about patients afterwards, I was like, I just really don't think this is the right profession for me. And so my mom at that time had recommended I look into naturopathic medicine, which she said make sure you go to a four year school don't do an online course. And so I didn't even know what this was. So I took a year off and volunteered and tried to read everything I could about what this naturopathic medicine was and it just made a lot of sense to me. So when I got to naturopathic medical school I was expecting this is great. I'm going to learn about herbs and nutrition and healthy lifestyle, but I got way more than I had ever bargained for. I found myself drawing blood and doing gynecology exams and performing minor surgeries and learning how to safely prescribe drugs. Those, you know, those are not skills I get to use here in Missouri because it's not a licensed state for naturopathic medicine. But I really do appreciate that I had that learning experience. And then as far as the integrative oncology pieces goes, that that was kind of a stumble into stumbled into it as well because I wanted to just get to know some naturopathic doctors that were near Arkansas was planning on coming back home. And so I went and did a preceptorship with him and just fell in love with what I saw at Cancer Treatment Centers of America at that time. It was so neat to see the integration of you know, conventional medical doctors and naturopathic doctors providing that integrative care side by side was really the integration that drew me more than anything else. And I was excited to be back around people and culture that that felt like home to me.
Brigitte Factor 5:10 Yeah, that's great. What a fascinating story. I love hearing about all how all of that came together from flying in the vomit comet and working with cancer patients. That's just amazing to me. Thank you for sharing that. Well, there are a lot of terms so that you're using and that we hear in the media about natural medicine or naturopathic medicine, alternative, holistic integrative, what are those mean? Exactly? What do you mean, when you say integrative?
Katrina Bogdon 5:40 Yeah, well, you know, and it can be really confusing. There are there is a lot of terminology. And people do use these words differently. So in the context that I use them, I think it's probably easier to start off by just defining conventional. So when we talk about conventional medicine, we're talking about the licensed medical doctors that you typically go see, when we look at an integrative approach we're looking at how do we safely combine that conventional treatment that you get, say, from a conventional oncologist with more natural and less invasive approaches, so that we can really support the whole person and what we do. So integrative medicine uses still a scientific evidence based approach to really offer the patient the best of both worlds, both conventional treatment and natural health care. In my case, I'm providing more than natural health care component of that working alongside oncologists. And so when I refer to alternative cancer treatment, I'm referring to people who are choosing to do just natural therapies only, they're not wanting to do any conventional treatment at all. So I specifically consult with people who are wanting to integrative approach. So I can't provide an alternative approach because it's against the law for me to do here. So but I really do love working with people going through conventional cancer treatment and making it more of an integrative experience for them.
Brigitte Factor 6:53 Yeah, that's really great. I love that you can bring your skill set to Missouri in the way where you can come alongside these people and support them. I think that's amazing. So you've created a program called The Missing Piece and so tell me more about that program. How did that come about?
Katrina Bogdon 7:12 Well, for about the last nine years, I left Cancer Treatment Centers of America, I've been doing a mix of working with people with cancer in general health care. And, you know, when you work in general health care, it's you have to know so much about so many different topics. And even the field of oncology, it covers a lot of different diseases and the treatments for are just changing at such a rapid pace. So last year, I made the decision that I wanted to know and do one thing to a very high level of excellence. And so I committed to building a program with well researched materials and a well defined strategy. And I had that background in integrative oncology. And I've always been really touched by the many people that I've seen diagnosed with breast cancer. And it's still unbelievable to me, how many people are affected by this disease. I've seen young moms who are finding that they have breast cancer just after they're finishing breastfeeding their babies. Many perimenopausal people who are going through a time of great transformation in their lives. And I even really love the spunky older women who are just hitting the prime, they're stride and not going to let this take them down. And so all of these people have a very strong reason to live. They're looking for answers many times that are outside of the box. And oftentimes they come to my office saying that they just felt like something was missing and doing conventional care only. And that the by integrating a holistic and natural approach, that that was the missing piece for them. And thus that's why I call it the missing piece. And so luckily, survival rates for breast cancer are really high these days. And I want to support people that go on to live very healthy lives during and after treatment.
Brigitte Factor 8:47 Yeah, that's great. That's great. I love the name the missing piece perfectly. That's really that's really cool. So, you know, I'm sure that getting a breast cancer diagnosis can be pretty scary. Can you walk us through that process about what happens when someone gets a diagnosis?
Katrina Bogdon 9:06 Yeah, you know, I think for for many people, it feels like an eternity just building up to that diagnosis alone. You know, waiting for the the screening mammogram, the diagnostic mammogram waiting for the biopsy results I hear a lot of people say that's the hardest part of it all. Once they know what's going to happen, it gets a little bit easier. But once they get that diagnosis, things start to move really fast. For a lot of people, the first stop is generally to see the surgeon and they're going to find out that usually they're going to start with surgery or they're going to need chemotherapy first to help shrink the tumor before the surgery is done. And so many women nowadays are starting with a lumpectomy and which is nice to have more of a sparing surgery dispair the healthy breast tissue. And often testing will be done at that time to on the tissue to make sure if there's any doubt that chemotherapy is needed to make sure that it's approved In this case, and it's not being given unnecessarily, usually the medical oncologist comes next and they choose which chemotherapy is most appropriate and safe for the person, they may do some further testing to determine that. And if they find that the tumor is positive for a marker that we now call her to new, the person's usually going to be also put on some immunotherapy generally agents like Herceptin and Perjeta drugs that are commonly used now, which can last a year. So it's quite an extensive process. Once they do that, then typically radiation therapy follows and follow finally, by endocrine therapy, if that person has a tumor, that's estrogen or progesterone receptor positive and those endocrine therapies, typically, many people heard about maybe tamoxifen, but aromatase inhibitors would also be included in that group too. Okay, that's a journey.
Brigitte Factor 10:51 Yeah, that sounds like a lot. And I could see why someone would want extra support through all of that, to have, you know, just to even have your explanation of it. And in, in presented in such a compassionate understanding way to help them understand what's happening. And in integrate, like, you're like you're doing the the process is the missing piece part of it. That's, that's really wonderful. So what are what are three of the biggest challenges you see people with breast cancer facing today?
Katrina Bogdon 11:27 Yeah, well, I would say probably one of the first things that I really noticed this, honestly, we're just starting to learn more about as the post traumatic stress that women experience going through treatment, and how traumatic that can be, as I mentioned, going through treatment comes and goes fast. And it can take out, it can be difficult to process. And so you know, and even if psychologically, you're like, I know, I'm okay, I know that God has this, I'm held within this standpoint to your body remembers a lot of this and stores that trauma in a way. And so it's not even necessarily processed or cognitive. But yeah, same time still feeling these feelings of anxiety. And so, you know, on the on the worst side of this, that sometimes can happen to is that women get to the end of treatment, and they're like, I just want to forget about it, I don't want to see another doctor, I can't face it again. And so those are instances to where it's really important to get some support, and somebody who's a trauma trained therapist, and how to work through and process some of that. Because I have sadly seen instances where, you know, we've had a patient who couldn't face going back to see the doctor. And then by the time that she did see the doctor, it was all over the lungs and all throughout her bones. And so it's important to get follow up care and PTSD can be something blocking that. The second thing that I think that a lot of people are facing with this is just information overwhelm, the amount of information that's on the internet, and that friends and family want to suggest as well. And then social media today to mention that you have any condition on social media and pop so many different suggestions and helpful people. But it can be hard to discern, you know, through that information. What is true, what if it's misinformation? How do we figure that out? And so that's a lot of what I do is helping people to kind of look at, you know, where is there good evidence, as far as things that you could possibly do for breast cancer, I'm sure that there are hundreds of things that you could try or take. But at the end of the day, you only have so much money and so many supplements or pills that you can stomach. So making sure that we make wise choices that probably have the best levels of evidence, and choosing those wisely so that it's good for you too. And then finally, to you know, just trying to help to adjust to what they call the new normal. I know a lot of people hate that term. But really, I mean, a lot changes when you go through that diagnosis that sometimes other your friends and your peers can't relate to not having gone through that same experience in there's changes in your body image. Certainly changes in libido and sexuality. And those are not things that often we comfortably talk about or can feel a little bit bashful about, but it's so important for our health at the same time and that often. A lot of people are too embarrassed to bring that up to the doctors, but it is important to look at and a lot of people are facing those issues.
Brigitte Factor 14:24 Yeah, I think that's I think that is important that it's that you're recognizing that psychological piece of it that can often get overlooked, you know? And I can understand that people would be overwhelmed and then you add the trauma part of that on top of it and then it can be really complicated or hard for people to navigate. So I think that's good and with a cancer diagnosis. I'm sure people start asking the question why. Right. Right. So can you share a little bit of light on what factors actually drive cancer to develop in the first place?
Katrina Bogdon 15:05 Well, I think we can take at least some measure of comfort and knowing that cancer is a really complex and multifactorial process, it's generally not just one thing that happens otherwise, I think we'd see a lot more seven year olds walking around with breast cancer. So luckily, you know, we have so many safeguards that are put into place, but generally cancers going to start with some type of genomic instability or DNA damage. And this could be caused by things that we call carcinogens. And we've identified many things that can begin that DNA damage, it may be a virus, such as epstein barr, which many people have been exposed to, it could be also different chemicals, whether it's gasoline, or bisphenol. And we have exposure to these on a very regular basis. And obviously, we don't all go on to have cancer. And the reason why that that is, is that, you know, in the wisdom of our bodies, that there have been so many safeguards put there to protect us that our cells should go into self destruct mode, what we call a ptosis. When there is genomic instability, DNA damage, so that they don't go on to cause problems such as cancer and issues, that the immune system should be able to be on surveillance and define these cells and say, you are not making and to get rid of those cells and to not let them to propagate that on. And then not only that, when that damage happens as well, generally, it's bypasses a ptosis, and it bypasses your immune system, then, you know, it's also can be driven by situations where there's a lot of inflammation going on. And also a situation where there are growth factors that we've identified such as high insulin levels, estrogens. So many things have to happen, and it's not going to grow most cases right away. For many types of breast cancer, you know, the cancer is going to probably be present in your in your cells in your body for two to five years before it's even big enough to be seen. So it is it can be a slow process. And many things go awry before it turns necessarily into cancer.
Brigitte Factor 17:17 Yeah, it sounds like there's a lot that goes into it. It's not just one thing.
Katrina Bogdon 17:23 Yeah, otherwise, I think I'd be neurotic.
Brigitte Factor 17:28 Yeah, so you mentioned earlier about the importance of having evidence based treatments, because there is so much information out there. And we don't, you know, want to waste our money on things that may not help us and are trying 1000 different things before we find the thing that actually works. So how do you find credible information for your clients?
Katrina Bogdon 17:51 Well, probably the place I start many times, it's going to be pubmed.gov, which is a wonderful large database of our peer reviewed published scientific journals, and articles and whatnot. And it takes a lot just to cross that barrier. But as you covered, I think, in the very first episode of your show, I mean, even though you get published, there can still be a lot of poor quality studies out there, just having something published isn't enough that you'd have to look at methodology and the type of study and, you know, I think looking at that, and I've definitely I've heard one of the criticisms or patients come back and they say, you know, my oncologist said that there's no evidence for natural medicine. There are 1000s of articles out there on natural substances and cancer. So, you know, I usually start out by typing in that person's cancer type as well as what the agent is that they have in question that they want to know about. And we'll look and we'll look at that study and see what is that level of evidence as we as we begin to discern that together if they have questions about things. But I also use another database called Natural Medicines database, which is a professional database to look at interactions between drugs and supplements, and you have to still use some discernment in that to go back and read the original studies that the claims are being based on. So looking at how do you safely combine these and I've gotten a lot of my knowledge as being part of the Oncology Association of Naturopathic Physicians, they have a wonderful database that they're building called the know database, K N O W. And they're using that just to really help to expand our understanding of the scientific evidence that's out there for natural substances and the quality of that evidence as well as you know what cancer types of treatments you can safely use that with and what doesn't work too, as well as the journal clubs, the conferences, the continuing education and just the support that we lend among ourselves in our professional community when questions come up, and we can ask each other, but probably the resource I would recommend the most for patients and for people listening today would be something called B C C T that stands for beyond conventional cancer therapy dot NGO not dot com, NGO, and it is a wonderful website that has been put together by integrative medical professionals who have looked at the level of evidence for different supplements lifestyle measures food exercise. And so in particular, for breast cancer, they've done a great job and listing the quality of evidence for each group so that you can really read through and discern so and know that you're going to be getting something that has good, good information behind it, not just anything off the wild west of the internet. From that perspective, the only thing I would caution though, of course, is that before you start any supplements at all, make sure that you run that by your healthcare professionals make sure there are no interactions and that it's safe for you to do so.
Brigitte Factor 20:44 Yeah, yeah. So what was that website? Again?
Katrina Bogdon 20:47 It's called B C C T dot NGO, beyond conventional cancer therapy,
Brigitte Factor 20:54 okay. Okay. We'll put that link in the show notes for people to so they can access that and see that. That's really wonderful. Thank you for sharing that. So when we're talking about cancer developing and and, you know, a big part of that is prevention, like what would be great if we could all focus on prevention, right, but sometimes that's not possible. So what is one of the most important powerful risk factors that people can modify to reduce the risk of breast cancer recurrence?
Katrina Bogdon 21:25 Well, studies have found that exercise probably has the most robust effect on reducing breast cancer occurrence and reoccurrence when it comes to lifestyle. Exercise can impact of course, your hormone levels, insulin levels, inflammation, and a meta analysis of 22 prospective cohort studies found that breast cancer mortality recurrence was reduced by 41%, with exercise after breast cancer diagnosis. And that's probably the biggest effect that we've seen. It's better than any supplement that I'm gonna.
Brigitte Factor 21:57 Wow, that's actually surprising to me that it's that exercise. Yeah, has that big of an effect.
Katrina Bogdon 22:05 It does. And yet, it can be one of the hardest things to do. Right, they did another study kind of following up with that. And they found that only about 13% of breast cancer survivors are actually getting the recommended amount, the amount that they're looking for. And targeting in many of these studies, is somewhere around 150 minutes per week of moderately moderate intensity, which is to say that you could exercise and still talk, but probably not belt out a song.
Brigitte Factor 22:31 Yeah. Okay. So 150 minutes a week is five 30 minutes sessions. So there you go. Break it down, make it easy. Absolutely. That's great. So there's there's our encouragement to get get the get our movement and exercise on Right. Absolutely. So you've worked with a lot of cancer patients, can you share some of the type of results that you've seen with the care that you provide?
Katrina Bogdon 22:59 Absolutely, I mean, I think the short answer to that is that we see people living with fewer side effects and a better quality of life. But let's go ahead and maybe answer this question in the form of a story. And I'll tell it about a client I'm going to call ln, which is really a combination of to my clients, since this is a local podcast, and I don't want to divulge too much there. But Ellen's in her mid 40s. She's had a lot of stress in her life. pandemics certainly has not helped and, and she really came not wanting to do a conventional approach. She's using natural approach most of her life. This was really scary to her. From that standpoint. By the time I saw her, she had already had surgery, and I met with her medical oncologist. But when she talked about her concerns to her medical oncologist, he recommended that she worked with me. And so that really gave her a lot of comfort, knowing that she could actually pick an integrative approach and meet halfway in between and get the best of both of those worlds. And so when we first met, I had the privilege of really getting to know what Ellen's story was. And we discussed an evidence based approach of what we could recommend to do along with chemotherapy and to safely integrate that and to support the effectiveness and safety of her treatment. Ellen herself was very fortunate to go on and to not to experience very few side effects and was actually able to work during chemotherapy, which was amazing. Not everybody is as lucky as Ellen when I work with them. I have some people who really do struggle with nausea. And in those cases, we found that generally they'll eat a bit lighter, stay pretty hydrated a couple of days before treatment, they start to do a lot better. So there are some things that we can do in those cases. Ellen then had a month off of chemotherapy before she started her radiation therapy. And so we work together to protect the healthy tissue and increase the effects of radiation on the tumor using evidence based strategies with supplements and I also really stress at that time the importance of doing exercise to help and radiation can make you feel really tired, particularly about halfway through and then some weeks after. And so by getting out and exercising, you're actually increasing the number of mitochondria and getting them to function better, you're making more ATP and feeling that energy within the cell. And so that really does help a lot of people by staying physically active during radiation therapy. And then finally, she started endocrine therapy with an aromatase inhibitor called the Aromadex. And she noticed that when she started that she started to feel a lot more depressed, she had increased joint pain and hot flashes. And so we really work together to mitigate those side effects of her treatment. So it was a lot more tolerable. And today, she's a lot happier, she's in a lot less pain, she still has the hot flashes, but she says they're very tolerable, and not anywhere near as bad as they used to be. And so at this point in our career together, we're looking at lifestyle factors such as exercise and stress management, and how to reduce harmful environmental exposures.
Brigitte Factor 25:58 Okay, that's excellent. I love hearing that. How you're helping people navigate through these challenges that they're having, and you're providing this truly holistic approach for them. But at the same time, you're providing a high level of care and quality in the care that you provide as well. And I think that is, is rare. It is in that you're coming alongside these patients, making it less scary for them, giving them hope that it is doable, that there are things that they can do to help mitigate side effects and make it doable for them that they can't get through it to the other side of this. So if somebody is interested in learning more about working with you, how can they reach out to you?
Katrina Bogdon 26:48 Well, the best way to reach me is through my website, at ourhealingroots.net. So that's O U R the word healing and then roots like roots of a tree with an S on the end dot net not dot com. And it's really easy on the website to see the button, you just click book, a discovery call. And I really enjoy doing those because it helps me to make sure that whoever I'm going to work with it's truly a good fit, and that we're going to really offer them what they're looking for from that standpoint. So we do offer that free discovery call. And as people sign up to do that we have you fill out the intake paperwork. So before we even meet, I read, I look at what's going on with you and can speak knowledgeably and with some confidence of what's going on and what I could offer.
Brigitte Factor 27:32 That's wonderful ourhealingroots.net and we will put that link in the show notes as well so people can click on that easily. Well, this has been a really great conversation. And I've learned a lot and I'm excited to share this information. And I hope that this reaches a lot of people who are looking for support that they need. So thank you so much for being on my podcast. And till next time, Grace and peace to you.
Katrina Bogdon 28:01 Thank you so much. It's a pleasure to be here.