My 2 Hour Consultation with Dr. Gordon Saxe, Center for Integrative Medicine, UCSD

Dr SaxeAfter reading this short description about Dr. Saxe, I got excited…

 Preventive and Natural Medicine Counseling (Nutrition, Supplements, Herbs); Integrative Oncology (specializing in Breast & Prostate Cancers)

So, I clicked to learn more…

Dr. Gordon Saxe is the Director of Research, a preventive and integrative medicine physician, a founding member of the UCSD Center for Integrative Medicine, and co-developer of the UCSD Natural Healing & Cooking Program. He is also the recipient of a prestigious NIH Career Development Award from the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine. Dr. Saxe is a national expert in cancer and complementary and alternative medicine, and most well-known for his pioneering work in the combined use of a plant-based diet and body-mind stress reduction to control the progression of advanced prostate cancer.  His previous studies have included: epidemiology of diet and cancers of prostate, breast, and pancreas; diet and body-mind exercise to control spread/of advanced prostate cancer; and diet and gene expression in prostate cancer. His background in complementary and alternative medicine includes study of: nutritional healing: diet, vitamins/minerals, herbals, and other non-drug medicines; exercise modalities: yoga, t’ai chi, and other body-mind approaches; and eastern and western systems: Chinese medicine, Ayurveda, homeopathy, macrobiotics, and natural hygiene.

Intrigued, I continued to investigate and stumbled on some youtube videos.

I decided to make an appointment…

“I’m a big fan of yours,” I said when Dr. Saxe came in to greet me. “I’ve watched a few of your videos and I think the work you are doing is great!”

For the next two hours, Dr. Saxe took notes on a yellow pad as I explained to him my DCIS Journey – beginning with a suspicious mammogram in August 2009.

I began, “When I was diagnosed with DCIS in January, 2010, I was shocked by what I was told were my options: (1.) Mastectomy or (2.) Partial Mastectomy plus 7 weeks of daily radiation.

I was handed a pamphlet called “A Women’s Guide to Breast Cancer Diagnosis and Treatment” and a file with 5 business cards stapled to it for making appointments over the next two weeks including: a breast surgeon, a radiation oncologist, a medical oncologist, an MRI and a cancer care coordinator. photo (31)

Then I was asked, ‘would you like a prescription for Xanax?’  

What would have been much more helpful,” I told Dr. Saxe, “was a referral for an integrative Dr. such as you. I think all patients given a DCIS diagnosis should be given a referral to see an integrative doctor.”

I told him integrative counseling should at least be offered – especially when someone like me is asking, “Is there anything I can do as far as changing my diet?”

Even though I am a Certified Nutritionist, I learned a few new things and got motivated to sign up for the Natural Healing and Cooking Class Dr. Saxe founded. Here are some more excellent recommendation Dr. Saxe gave me:

(1) Whole food, plant-based diet based on:
* Whole grains
* Vegetables
* Beans & legumes
* Fruit, seeds, nuts
* Small amounts of healthy, organic food of animal origin

(2) Foods for breast health and cancer prevention: Fermented soy foods (especially South River or Ohsawa miso), seaweed, brassica (cabbage) vegetables, mushrooms, green and kukicha tea

(3) UCSD Natural Healing & Cooking Program for education and support in making dietary changes.

(4) RPM – rise, pee, meditate!

(5) Readings:
“Healing with Whole Foods” by Paul Pitchford
“The Book of Whole Meals” by Annemarie Colbin

I have invited Dr. Saxe to write an article for this blog.. . . perhaps an article on food-based “natural hormonal therapy.”


About Donna Pinto

I am originally from New Jersey and moved to Los Angeles with my family at age 12. After graduating from San Diego State University with a BA in Journalism, I had a short-stint in magazine advertising sales before landing my "dream job" with Club Med. For two years I worked at resorts in Mexico, The Bahamas, The Dominican Republic and Colorado. My husband Glenn & I met in Ixtapa, Mexico and we embarked on a two year honeymoon around the world. This was also a research project for a book we wrote called "When The Travel Bug Bites: Creative Ways to Earn, Save and Stay Abroad." I am also the author of a quote book for new graduates -- "Cheatnotes on Life: Lessons From The Classroom of Life." In 1997, we settled in San Diego and I was blessed to work part-time from home for non-profit organizations while raising our two boys. In 2010, a DCIS diagnosis changed my life. DCIS 411 is the culmination of my on-going journey and discoveries.
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5 Responses to My 2 Hour Consultation with Dr. Gordon Saxe, Center for Integrative Medicine, UCSD

  1. informedconsent2014 says:

    It is too bad that Dr. Gordon wasn’t more familiar with some of the leading names in DCIS research. I’m sure you will raise his level of awareness, which is a good thing. When I mentioned Gilbert Welch to my internist, he had a blank look on his face which indicated to me that he had never heard of Dr. Welch. When I mentioned Dr. Esserman, he seemed to have a small flicker of recognition, but said nothing to indicate he knew precisely of her or her work. There’s really no excuse for this. I live in a major metro area not far from UCSF, so it’s not as if my doctor or others are in some remote rural area far from where the cutting edge research in DCIS is happening. It would be great if Dr. Gordon could write a blog article about integrative medicine and its role in DCIS. I would certainly welcome that. We are all in this together and together, we can help each other to see the light! Let’s make 2015 the year when there are real strides made in awareness about DCIS!


  2. Donna says:

    Thanks for the comment informed consent. One thing Dr. Saxe did mention was that “radiation treatment is currently in flux.” I asked what does that mean and he said that it is changing to 3 weeks rather than 7. Yes, this I knew, however it is still the same amount of radiation just at higher doses for a shorter period. I told him I was not interested in radiation at all — ever. He asked why and my reply was, “radiation causes cancer. I will not even do mammograms.”.


  3. informedconsent2014 says:

    I’m in total agreement with not doing radiation, so as you point out, Dr. Saxe’s remark about it being “in flux” merely means higher dose but shorter timeframe. I suppose it may be a minor indication that radiation therapy is undergoing a certain change, but for those of us who do NOT want radiation for DCIS, it’s a moot point. (and my apologies, I meant to refer to him as Dr. Saxe, not Dr. Gordon).

    I’ve been reading more and more references to angiosarcoma found in women who had radiation after lumpectomy. Angiosarcoma is a lethal cancer! I have not yet agreed to a biopsy for my cluster of microcalcs which have shown a “slight” interval increase since 2012, am scheduled for a 6-mon. mammogram follow-up which I despise due to radiation. Unfortunately, I cannot take an MRI due to severe allergy to contrast media, so am somewhat stuck, but if there’s no change at the six month in June, I will return to a one year monitoring of the calcs.

    I suspect I will be thoroughly pressured to finally have a biopsy, but even if I do, I’ve had my eyes opened about DCIS options. Even if put into a position of having lumpectomy (and would only do that after second opinion), I will NOT do radiation or tamoxifen, period. I’ll be 59 in a few months, post menopausal. Thanks for all your fabulous information and support. Sorry your consult was not of more direct benefit to you, perhaps you planted some seeds that will be of benefit to Dr. Saxe. It’s unfortunately not unusual that more doctors haven’t heard of Dr. Esserman, Dr. Lagios or Dr. Welch. But we’re changing that!


  4. Judith says:

    Glad to read this ,was diagnosed in August 2015 with DCIS ….and caught off guard since I am 79 years old with no history . My new general Dr rushed me to her recommended surgeon , She in turn said b/c the tumor had broken through the skin it must be done next week ! I have no family and am a very private person thus had no one to ask . My adult children researched the surgeon and said she has a good reputation and has been practicing 30 years… I agreed not really knowing what would be .the surgery was a partial mastectomy with a large amount of lymph glands removed a huge scar…Two hours later I was sent home with a list , still somewhat sedated by the next morning the pain was substantial ( I never have taken any meds more than an occasional Tylenol) soi i mistakenly tried that….my children stayed over night then went back to work the next day ,my daughter checked in morning and evening to change bandage b/c of heaven drainage . The breast drained for close to a month .the surgeon said I have lymphedema and probably always wil and also the swelling of the breast is engorgement which may stay as further support was given just sent to oncologist to start radiation which I rejected or given choice of which drug I wanted to take rejected all…it is now 7 months later have had one mammogram was clean and my healthy happy life is over …..constant pain in entire arm ,larger breasts causing discomfort ,also triggered autoimmune arthritis to become worse and gain weight w/ o being able to lose it…..too late for me but warn your young patients not to panic and lose their quality of life


    • dp4peace says:

      So sorry to hear your story and experiences, but I think it is important for women like you to share what they go through physically and emotionally. It breaks my heart to know this is what happens to women in this day and age…all due to DCIS and in the name of “prevention” of invasive breast cancer. Glad you refused further treatments and found some solace in this website.I have seen how the body heals when given the love and nourishment nature provides. May you continually improve in body, mind and spirit. Many blessings of peace, light and love, Donna


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