Jonathan Stegall, MD
Thank you for your interest in my practice, and the innovative way in which we treat cancer. If we are honest with ourselves, we must admit that we are in a state of crisis when it comes to cancer today. Cancer has become an epidemic, and although the way cancer is typically treated today provides us with some excellent tools, they are not perfect – nor are they complete. Sadly, the number of people who are diagnosed with cancer each year, as well as the number of people who die from cancer each year, continue to increase.
Some people steadfastly believe that the treatments we typically see used against cancer, including surgery, chemotherapy, radiation therapy, and immunotherapy, represent the only viable treatments. These individuals feel that any treatments not included in the “standard of care” are not worth using. I completely disagree with this notion. However, others see the extremely high cost of many of the standard of care treatments, as well as their potentially high risk for both short-term and long-term side effects and use this to justify avoiding these treatments altogether. I completely disagree with this idea as well.
I do not believe that we should discard conventional cancer treatments. After all, they have a wealth of scientific validity to them, as imperfect as they might be. Rather than avoiding these treatments, I believe that we should strive to use them regularly, with an eagerness to make them better. Chemotherapy has become a four-letter word for many people, but it doesn’t have to be. By using chemotherapy more intelligently, and administering it in smaller doses more frequently, we see a positive benefit from it, while significantly reducing the risk of side effects. Likewise, there are ways to make surgery safer, and radiation therapy more targeted. I embrace these advances in how we utilize these powerful therapies.
By embracing both conventional medicine and alternative/natural medicine, we are left with what is known as an integrative approach – we integrate both “sides” of medicine, with the ability to hand-pick a wide variety of treatments, specific to each patient’s unique diagnosis, condition, and treatment goals. I find this approach to be efficient, yet forward-thinking. If we have any hope of winning the war on cancer, rather than continuing to lose it, we must think outside the box in this fashion. As you can tell, my approach to cancer treatment is not ordinary – and for this reason, I feel that we are onto something extraordinary.
I consider my study of cancer to be ongoing, as there is always more to learn and discover. I believe in researching any and all therapies, new or old, which possibly have an anti-cancer effect. I incorporate “open-minded skepticism” when evaluating any potential therapy, meaning that I am open to any treatment which shows promise but also has a healthy level of skepticism. I share my findings with my colleagues, patients, and the public in a variety of ways, including conferences, my bestselling book Cancer Secrets, my Cancer Secrets Podcast, and through social media blog posts and articles.
Also, I believe that there are many potentially valuable therapies which are not (yet) part of the conventional standard of care. All of these therapies have a scientific study suggesting their mechanism of action and potential therapeutic benefit. These therapies include, but are not limited to, local hyperthermia, sono-photodynamic therapy, lymphatic drainage therapy, nutrition, supplementation, and stress reduction therapy. These therapies, which are all considered natural approaches, make sense to incorporate as well.
Cancer affected me at an early age, with the diagnosis of stage IV stomach cancer in my grandmother when I was just 5 years old. I saw cancer, and its treatments, affect my grandma in several ways. Throughout her treatments, she lost a lot of weight, lost her hair, and had significant side effects including nausea and vomiting. She subsequently lost her strength as well as her hope. Despite all of this, I saw her confront it all with grace and dignity, up until her death. I have never forgotten those details, and how they have impacted my life.
I am honored to have had many outstanding mentors in my life. The first, and most important of these, was my mom. In her medical practice, she used an integrative approach to help thousands of patients with a wide variety of health conditions. I saw the tremendous value that proper nutrition, appropriate supplementation, and improved lifestyle have in treating chronic disease.
My mom’s influence is the reason I became a doctor, but also why I placed such a high value on education. I earned my bachelor’s degree from Clemson University, graduating with honors. I then received a master’s degree in physiology from Georgetown University, in Washington, D.C. My master’s program was followed by a research internship at Harvard Medical School’s Osher Center for Integrative Medicine in Boston. While at Harvard, I conducted research on the doctor-patient relationship. I sought to learn more about the sacred relationship between physician and patient throughout history, with an emphasis on how a robust therapeutic bond can improve treatment outcomes. Not surprisingly, studies show that patients who have good relationships with their doctors have a better understanding of their diagnoses and their treatments, and also have better clinical outcomes.
Following my research internship in Boston, I earned my medical degree at the Medical University of South Carolina in Charleston, S.C. Early on in my clinical rotations as a medical student, I found that I was drawn to cancer patients. I discovered that I was not only fascinated by the medical facts associated with their diagnoses, but also the opportunity to bond with them and be a source of comfort and guidance for them and their families.
After medical school, I completed my internal medicine residency through the Yale University School of Medicine, with clinical training at Greenwich Hospital in Greenwich, Conn., as well a Yale New Haven Hospital in New Haven, Conn. During this time, I continued to be drawn to cancer patients and their families. I found myself returning to the oncology unit of the hospital when I had time, during my shifts at the hospital, and even after hours and on weekends when I wasn’t working. The patients there encompassed a wide variety of cancer diagnoses and clinical conditions. I knew that some of those patients would regain their strength and return home, while others would not. I learned a lot from these patients, and during this time I commented to a pretty oncology nurse I met (who would later become my wife) that there must be a better way to treat cancer. Since that time, I have made it my mission to find out what that is.
I subsequently completed a fellowship in Integrative Oncology through the Metabolic Medical Institute, affiliated with the University of South Florida Morsani College of Medicine. This fellowship program explored the scientific basis for an integrative approach to cancer – for which there is a significant one. I also have advanced training through the International Organization of Integrative Cancer Physicians.
I also hold membership in several organizations, including the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO), the Society for Integrative Oncology (SIO), and the International Organization of Integrative Cancer Physicians (IOICP).
The Center for Advanced Medicine is transforming how cancer is treated. I am very proud of the transformative work we do, and the powerful difference we make in the lives of our patients. I run my practice in a way that is consistent with my Christian faith, based on love. My team and I love what we do, and we love the patients we treat.
I am married to my wife, and we have two sons and one daughter. We also have a dog, who we rescued from the animal shelter. My hobbies include spending time with my family, watching Clemson sports, reading, listening to music, and traveling.
Also, I am a bestselling author. Cancer Secrets is a much-needed resource for cancer patients and their families, with vital information on evidenced-based treatments from both modern medicine and alternative medicine. I also host an award-winning podcast, The Cancer Secrets Podcast.
Jonathan Stegall, MD