Richard G. Petty, MD

Sheryl, Lance and Kylie

I was very sorry indeed to hear that the amazingly gifted singer Sheryl Crow, who is only 43 years old, is facing a challenge with cancer. She is, of course, by no means the first. Cancer is not something that just hits the older people in the population. Two recent examples: Lance Armstrong who even now, after years of treatment and triumph is only 34, and Kylie Minogue, who is 37. Those two are apparently doing very well indeed, and have used their celebrity to publicize the importance of health screening and of looking at all the options in treatment.

Because of the kind of work that I do, I know of many other well-known people who have dealt with similar problems, and are doing extremely well, but who have chosen to maintain their privacy. Most forms of cancer are no longer the death sentence that they once were.

For more than two decades, I have been heavily identified with holistic medicine, which has gone through more names than the artist formerly known as Prince: alternative, complementary, integrative and integrated. So people are often surprised that I am also an expert in conventional medicine. “After all,” I am asked, “If integrated medicine is so great, then why bother with conventional medicine at all?” The answer is that the best way to treat anyone is by an integrated approach that treats the five principle dimensions of a person: physical, psychological, social, subtle and spiritual.

I regularly receive mailings from people and organizations claiming that they can cure all types of cancer using all sorts of unusual approaches, from nutrition to detoxifications and methods for getting rid of parasites. I have never recommended these approaches because the evidence is so flimsy, and we have data to show that there are indeed treatments that can improve survival and quality of life. But what I am very keen on is using conventional treatment as well as these less orthodox approaches, which are precisely tailored to the individual.

The United States Department of Health and Human Services has Task Forces that make screening recommendations, and I thought that it would be a good idea to make a note of some of their recommendations:

  • Breast Cancer: Mammography every 1-2 years over age 40. Interestingly, the Task Forces don’t recommend routine breast self-examination, although many European countries do.
  • Cervical Cancer: Screening every three years after age 21 or after becoming sexual active.
  • Colon Cancer: “Regular” screening for everyone over age 50
  • Prostate Cancer: They do not recommend routine PSA screening, but certainly clinical examination.

All of these recommendations get ramped up if an individual has a family history of a specific cancer and breast and colon cancer screening should start earlier in African Americans.

So I wish the very best to Sheryl, Lance and Kylie. And if you have been following my posts about spirituality and healing, it is, I think, highly likely that if enough of us think kindly of them, it will help them heal.

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About Richard G. Petty, MD
Dr. Richard G. Petty, MD is a world-renowned authority on the brain, and his revolutionary work on human energy systems has been acclaimed around the globe. He is also an accredited specialist in internal and metabolic medicine, endocrinology, psychiatry, acupuncture and homeopathy. He has been an innovator and leader of the human potential movement for over thirty years and is also an active researcher, teacher, writer, professional speaker and broadcaster. He is the author of five books, including the groundbreaking and best selling CD series Healing, Meaning and Purpose. He has taught in over 45 countries and 48 states in the last ten years, but spends as much time as possible on his horse farm in Georgia.

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