Canadian College of Naturopathic Medicine Opens First Integrative Cancer Centre in Eastern Canada

The Ottawa Integrative Cancer Centre is a not-for-profit cancer care and research center delivering whole-person cancer care and scientifically grounded, evidence-informed complementary medicine.

OTTAWA, Ontario – March 26, 2012 – The Ottawa Integrative Cancer Centre (OICC) has opened its doors to provide multi-disciplinary complementary medicine and whole-person care for people with cancer, and to those wanting to prevent cancer or its recurrence. The OICC is both a treatment clinic and an integrative oncology research centre, which exists to assess and reduce possible causes of cancer while exploring innovative integrative methods to treat the disease.

The Centre’s clinical practice and visionary research agenda is led by Dugald Seely, ND, MSc, FABNO, the executive director and founder of the OICC. “As the director of research and clinical epidemiology at the Canadian College of Naturopathic Medicine (CCNM), Dugald has helped to establish CCNM as one of North America’s leading research centres in complementary medicine. 

“I am confident that under Dugald’s leadership the OICC will soon be recognized as a world-class integrative cancer centre that will serve as a model for additional centres across the continent,” says Bob Bernhardt, PhD, CCNM’s president and CEO.

According to Bernhardt, “The OICC will stand as a beacon for innovation in the Canadian cancer care community. The Centre’s approach to integrative oncology will bridge the gap that too often exists between conventional and complementary cancer therapy and research, ensuring the best practices from both domains are integrated in the quest to overcome this debilitating disease.”

“Providing complementary therapies in an evidence-based manner, supporting conventional medicine, is both desired by patients and is much needed in the cancer community,” says Seely. “Well over half of all cancer patients embrace complementary therapies alongside conventional treatments during their cancer journey and this proportion is growing. Often patients do not communicate their complementary care choices with conventional oncologists. A common concern among oncologists is the potential for complementary medicine to interfere with conventional therapies such as chemotherapy and radiation therapy. The OICC is committed to working with patients, their families and their health-care providers to develop a complementary, non-interfering therapeutic program to optimize overall wellness,” adds Seely.

Pioneering a Contemporary Cancer Treatment Model

The OICC is the first integrative oncology and research centre in Eastern Canada to provide whole-person cancer care that includes complementary medicine. The Centre has an experienced team of regulated health-care practitioners with advanced training in cancer care. Supervised by the OICC’s chief clinical medical officer, Leesa Kirchner, B.Sc., ND, FABNO, the Centre offers naturopathic medicine, physiotherapy, psychiatry, nutrition, massage therapy, exercise therapy, acupuncture and yoga, as well as the services of a medical doctor.

The OICC offers the following for people undergoing cancer care:

  • Open communication and collaboration with allied health professionals and conventional oncologists;
  • Subsidized care to patients who cannot afford out-of-pocket costs not covered by insurance or OHIP, through its Whole-Person Cancer Care Regardless of Income program;
  • Therapies to strengthen the body’s inherent healing ability and to sustain wellness during aggressive cancer treatments; and
  • Safe natural therapies at doses and times that will not negatively impact on chemotherapy, radiation therapy, or surgery, but support the patient’s healing ability and help the body cope with conventional therapy associated toxicity and side effects.

Bridging Gaps in Canadian Cancer Research

The OICC is committed to building the evidence base in the emerging field of integrative oncology through high impact research.

Our research agenda has two pillars: clinical trials of complementary therapies and evaluating integrative whole-systems of care. This agenda addresses significant research gaps in regards to the safety, clinical effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of complementary therapies and integrative oncology. To date, these gaps in research have seriously hindered policy development. Future plans include developing a research agenda to explore relevant issues in the field of environmental oncology, particularly in relation to risk factors that influence cancer development and recurrence.

Forging new frontiers, the OICC is developing a collaborative network to advance research and treatment efforts. The Centre’s Executive Director, Dugald Seely, is an Affiliate Investigator at the Ottawa Hospital Research Institute (OHRI) and has a number of collaborations with OHRI scientists. With a research infrastructure supported by a $1.35 million grant, the OICC aims to be a hub for innovative, ethical research into complementary approaches. Research will be disseminated locally, nationally and internationally.

Strategic Partners are Committed to Making Integrative Oncology a Reality
The OICC is delighted to be working with the Ottawa Regional Cancer Foundation (ORCF) on improving cancer care in the Ottawa Region. With the opening of the Foundation’s Maplesoft Centre, the OICC is offering a series of educational sessions entitled ‘Integral Healing Program: Empowerment on the Cancer Healing Journey’ designed to share complementary care options with cancer survivors.

“The Ottawa Regional Cancer Foundation believes strongly in the power of partnership,” explains Linda Eagen, the President & CEO of the Ottawa Regional Cancer Foundation. “The Cancer Foundation is proud to partner with the OICC to provide innovative programming options for cancer patients and their caregivers. The synergies between our two organizations will give local residents options for complementary cancer care.”

About CCNM

The Canadian College of Naturopathic Medicine (CCNM) is Canada’s premier institute for education and research in naturopathic medicine. CCNM offers a rigorous four-year, full-time doctor of naturopathic medicine program. The College educates, develops and trains naturopathic doctors through excellence in health education, clinical services and research that integrate mind, body and spirit. Naturopathic doctors (NDs) are primary health-care practitioners. For more information, please visit

About OICC

The OICC is a not-for-profit cancer care and research center with a mission to deliver whole-person care that includes scientifically grounded evidence-informed complementary medicine. The Centre offers multi-disciplinary care for cancer patients interested in receiving complementary support alongside conventional treatments, cancer survivors, and for those seeking prevention of cancer or its recurrence. It is the first integrative oncology and research centre in Eastern Canada to provide whole-person care as well as research, advocacy and education, for use by the cancer community and health-care practitioners. The Centre is governed by the CCNM, a registered charity providing education and research in naturopathic and complementary medicine since 1978.

For information on how to become a patient of the OICC, please visit

For more information, please contact:

Catherine Kenwell
Director, Marketing and Communications
Canadian College for Naturopathic Medicine
416-498-1255 ext. 263

Heidi Vincent
Marketing, Communications & Public Relations
Ottawa Integrative Cancer Centre