Above header photo by Darcy McCarty (courtesy of Flickr and Creative Commons)

. . . the battle against cancer is . . . a war on many fronts that must be engaged with every weapon we have at hand.

Robert A. Newman, Ph.D. (quoted in Life Over Cancer)

Professor of Cancer Medicine, M.D. Anderson Cancer Center

 

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April 8, 2014 · 4:30 pm

(MAR. 2014) NEW VIDEOS AND ARTICLES USUALLY POSTED ONE OR MORE TIMES A WEEK BELOW THIS INTRODUCTORY MESSAGE . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . This resource blog is the fruit of my continuing search for more of the science-based diet and lifestyle strategies that have complemented conventional treatment, helped significantly reverse my wife’s rapid decline from stage 4 cancer in 2012, given her back a much better quality of life and given her more life

Welcome to Stage 4 Living

Above photo: Left to right: Dr. Keith Block, my wife and me (holding our copy of Dr. Block’s book, Life Over Cancer) at The Block Center for Integrative Cancer Treatment in Skokie, Illinois April 2013. We were so impressed with the results from applying some suggestions in the book that we scraped together money and got help to visit The Block Center.

Why should you invest your valuable time exploring Stage 4 Living?    

If you or a loved one has been informed of advanced cancer, you’re looking for ways to complement conventional treatment that have the best possibility of slowing or reversing the illness. You’ll find, as I did, that there’s a mountain of information on the Internet about surviving cancer that you have to search through to find some precious nuggets of science-based nutrition and lifestyle strategies.

Not long ago I Googled the term “surviving cancer” and got over 86 million possible links to sift through. If you or a loved one are in a life-and-death struggle with metastatic or late-stage cancer do you have time to use the cancer patient’s body as a laboratory to test each of the countless options available? Just testing one option could take weeks or months. If you test multiple strategies at the same time and get results how do you know which one worked? 

Fortunately, in many cases science has done the testing for you through the over six thousand nutritional studies done each year around the world. I’m on an an ongoing search to find science-based nutrition and lifestyle strategies to help my wife survive and manage her stage 4 breast cancer. Stage 4 Living is the fruit of my search for science based answers that I want to share with as many people as possible.

My wife’s story in brief:

My wife’s aggressive metastatic, invasive breast cancer was diagnosed in November 2009 (stage 2b). After six trips to The Medical City in the Philippines for treatment her cancer went into remission. We made the tragic mistake of putting our guard down, thinking that our battle was over.

Her cancer recurred (stage 4) in November 2011. It was classified as ER PR negative HER2 positive. Opinions vary but one of her oncologists informed us that there are several types of breast cancer and, in his opinion, the only type more aggressive than my wife’s is a type called “triple negative” breast cancer. On a scale of 1 to 10–with 10 being the most aggressive–he would classify triple negative as a 10 and my wife’s as an 8.

Despite the use of some very expensive medicines–one of which cost $11,000 a bottle of a month’s supply of 120 tablets (Tykerb aka Lepatanib)–her cancer adapted and spread from her chest wall to form about thirty lesions on her lungs. She also began to slide downhill in 2012 with symptoms of cachexia; she lost 32 lbs. quickly, lost all appetite, and started experiencing profound and growing weakness. She also had pain in her left arm from lymphedema (due to having two lymph glands taken out in 2010 during her mastectomy) and numbness in her left hand and tingling in the fingers of her left hand (which from reading I believe were symptoms of neuropathy– nerve damage from extended use of toxic chemo drugs). She also coughed every five to ten minutes which was a constant reminder to me that the cancer was now invading her lungs and that I (and she) was running out of time.  

What happened when we started to use science based nutritional strategies to complement my wife’s conventional treatment (as of March 2014)  

This blog represents the fruit of my search to find answers on science-based nutritional and lifestyle strategies we could use to complement conventional treatment to help manage (as opposed to cure) my wife’s late stage cancer. Through research in books, and websites I started making some recommended changes in our diet and my wife’s lifestyle (for example regular walking, etc.).

As we started to make the recommended changes in various books and websites and other resources in 2012 here’s what started to happen:

*The pain in her left arm and numbness and tingling in her left hand I described above slowly subsided and completely went away.

*She stopped rapidly losing weight. We now have to deal with the problem of keeping her weight under control again. (Her weight has slowly crept up to 156 lbs. which is not optimal at her height of 5 ft. 2 in..)

*Her energy returned and is still excellent.

*Her coughing stopped and has not come back since then.

*Her appetite returned and is still excellent (despite food sometimes tasting a bit strange due to the effects of her ongoing chemo).

*In her quarterly high resolution CT scan in December 2012 the thirty some lesions on her lungs started to  shrink.

*In her high resolution CT scan in March 2013 many of the lesions had almost completely disappeared.

*In her CT scan done the end of October 2013 there was evidence that parts of the remaining tumors were showing signs of necrosis (death) and there were only minor signs of any new growth.

How does my wife look and feel (as of March 2014)?  

We’ve regularly hear from from many people that meet us that, other than for some minor thinning hair (she’s lost it all twice to the chemo drug Taxol aka Taxotere) she doesn’t look or act like someone entering her fifth year of battling metastatic invasive (and now stage 4) cancer or someone that’s endured a mastectomy, 33 radiation treatment sessions and countless chemo sessions.

Managing late stage cancer like a chronic illness (such as diabetes)

Unfortunately at stage 4 we’re forced to focus on finding ways to manage (as opposed to cure) her condition; to give my wife the best possible quality and quantity of life (barring a miracle or spontaneous remission). I can make no promises of what will result in anyone else’s situation; cancer is a complex illness (one oncologist told me that there are easily over a hundred types of cancer) and we’re complex organisms. But my wife’s story shows what’s possible with integrative cancer treatment (i.e. complementing conventional cancer treatment with science based anticancer diet and lifestyle strategies) as advocated by Dr. Keith Block in Life Over Cancer.

What Dr. Keith Block says about the possibility of “managing” cancer (including metastatic and late stage cancers):

Dr. Block has treated people with late stage cancer for over 35 years. He is the founder of the Block Center for Integrative Cancer Treatment and regarded by many as the Father of the integrative cancer treatment movement. He is the author of Life Over Cancer (please see my review in an earlier post below this introductory message), regarded by many as the best guide available to laymen for science-based nutritional and lifestyle strategies for managing advanced and metastatic cancers.

Many of our patients carry on their daily lives as if they were managing a chronic illness such as diabetes. In fact, I encourage you to begin thinking of your cancer as an illness you can live with or, even better, one you can overcome. I have treated many patients with widespread metasteses who were pronounced “incurable” by their doctors but who, with this program, recovered. These survivors testify to what can happen with an integrative approach to treating and managing cancer: no matter what the diagnosis there are patients who prevail over whatever odds they have been given.

Keith I. Block, Life Over Cancer

Disclaimer (see “Disclaimer” link at top of page for complete statement)

From my research and our experience we strongly believe that the integrative approach to cancer treatment (i.e. combining the best conventional treatment we can access on Guam and afford in my wife’s case. combined with science based nutritional and lifestyle strategies) has made a big difference in my wife’s ability to manage her illness.  We’ve seen it help give her back a better quality of life, reverse many symptoms and give her more quantity of life. In this blog I’ve shared my wife’s story, and how we’ve done our best to manage her cancer. Unfortunately I can’t guarantee what will happen in anyone else’s case.  My wife’s story illustrates what’s possible with an integrative treatment approach (as described in Life Over Cancer). But cancer is a complex disease. One of my wife’s oncologists told me that there are easily over 100 slightly different types of cancer. And, to complicate matters, we are each complex and somewhat unique organisms.

If you or a family member or friend is getting conventional treatment (such as surgery, radiation or chemo) and considering adding supplements or strategies that you’ve read about on this or any other website please consult with an oncologist–if  possible one who uses or understands the integrative approach to cancer treatment–to avoid any conflict with ongoing conventional treatment.

Our best wishes go out to all who read this blog and share a similar struggle. We hope you find some resources on this blog that are of help. 

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March 24, 2014 · 10:20 pm

What are the nine factors shared by the over one thousand documented cases of people with late stage cancers that went into complete remission?

What can we learn from the over one thousand people with advanced cancers that went into complete remission (as documented by medical journals)?

Radical Remission: Surviving Cancer Against All Odds

I was referred to this book by Elyn Jacobs–a professional cancer coach–because she felt it would help me in my efforts to try and manage my wife’s stage 4 cancer. (Thanks Elyn!) Elyn has an excellent blog (elynjacobs.wordpress.com) loaded with numerous resources if you’re searching for links to science-based books on cancer treatment, podcast interviews with numerous cancer specialists, article links, etc. to aid you or a loved one in a cancer battle. She is a cancer survivor herself and has devoted her life as a professional cancer coach to guiding people through the confusing, sometimes overwhelming cancer maze.

    

In the process of getting her doctorate at The University of California at Berkeley, Kelley Turner was surprised to learn of the case of someone with advanced cancer that went into complete remission. According to conventional medical dogma this is simply not possible. Curious, she dug deeper and eventually found that there were over one thousand similar documented cases of unexplained spontaneous remission. And this doesn’t count the numerous examples she found of spontaneous remissions experienced but never reported by physicians.

Dr. Turner would eventually devote her life to studying the nine factors shared by such extraordinary spontaneous remissions and write Radical Remission: Surviving Cancer Against All Odds

Reviews for Radical Remission:

Radical Remission is a treasure trove of BIG TRUTH about the incredible healing power available to each and every one of us!” (Christiane Northrup, M.D., ob/gyn physician and author of the ,New York Timesbestsellers Women’s Bodies, Women’s Wisdom and The Wisdom of Menopause)

Radical Remission shows how we can shift the odds of remission in our favor. What I like most about this book is balance. Turner does not ask anyone to abandon conventional therapy, but instructs us on how to add healing factors that are often overlooked.” (Larry Dossey, MD, author of One Mind: How Our Individual Mind Is Part of a Greater Consciousness and Why It Matters)

Never before has anyone with Dr. Turner’s credentials dared to research the million dollar question: why do some patients get better from seemingly “incurable” illnesses? Dr. Turner has uncovered the holy grail those who want to optimize their chances for cure have been seeking. Bravo, Dr. Turner! (Lissa Rankin, MD, New York Times bestselling author of Mind Over Medicine & host of the National Public Television special Heal Yourself: Mind Over Medicine)

Radical Remission is a personal and deeply moving exploration of the power of the human spirit and innate wisdom of the body to overcome catastrophic illness. Persons with cancer and their families and friends will find it especially helpful. (Andrew Weil, M.D.)

This book is filled with important information for everyone, whether struggling with cancer or not. She is giving the world a gift at such an important time as so many are feeling like they can’t take their lives into their own hands. Kelly empowers us all to do exactly that. (Colleen Saidman, cofounder and codirector of Yoga Shanti)

Kelly Turner delivers the message people addressing cancer — or seeking to prevent it — need to hear. Turner’s book gives you the support you need — from science, tradition, and common sense — to make powerful lifestyle changes that will tip the scales in your favor. (Pamela Miles)

Kelly Turner is studying phenomena that is the very research and story sharing that will step us forward into solving the cancer plague. Kelly Turner writes as an accomplished scientist and as a compassionate human being to inspire us to question deeply the roots of our illnesses. (Rodney Yee, author of Moving Toward Balance)

An important book for all cancer patients. Radical Remission is filled with hope, science and possibilities. (Kris Carr, New York Times bestselling author)

From the back cover:  

Discover the nine keys that can unlock your pathway to dramatic healing.

Kelly Turner, Ph.D., a researcher and psychotherapist who specializes in integrative oncology, gives the reader the results of her research on over a thousand cases of Radical Remission—people who have defied a serious or even terminal cancer diagnosis with a complete reversal of the disease. The results of this study, which focused on seventy-five factors, include astounding insights of the nine key factors that Dr. Turner found among nearly every Radical Remission survivor she has studied and an explanation of how the reader can put these practices to work in his or her own life.

Every chapter of Radical Remission includes dramatic stories of survivors’ journeys back to wellness. The realization that the possibilities for healing are more abundant than we had previously known gives people concrete ways to defy the overwhelming prognosis of terminal cancer. This is a book for those who are in the midst of receiving conventional cancer treatment, who are looking for other options because that treatment has done all that it can, or who seemingly have no options left but still feel that the future holds the possibility of hope.

Kelly Turner’s Radical Remission shows that it is possible to triumph over cancer, even in situations that seem hopeless. Encompassing diet, stress, emotions, spirituality, and other factors that profoundly affect our health and well-being, Turner’s discussion of how our choices can cause the seemingly miraculous to happen will open your eyes to what is possible when it comes to lasting healing.

I’m an Amazon Affiliate for any orders through the above links to Radical Remission. If you order through these links thank you for your kind help with my efforts to cover my wife’s chemo expenses.  

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March 23, 2014 · 5:00 pm

How the curcumin in tumeric turns back on the cancer cell suicide switch (4 min. 36 sec.)

In this short (4 min. 36 sec.) video Dr. Michael Greger (nutritionfacts.org) explains:

*How the pigment in tumeric (curcumin) helps regulate cancer cell death (aka apoptosis) in several ways (theoretically making it harder for cancer cells to adapt as they virtually always eventually do to chemo drugs).

*How long it takes for the body to completely replace (through normal cell suicide) it’s 10 to 13 trillions cells (100 to 130 billions cells per day).

*How cancer cells “overstay their welcome” by somehow turning off their natural suicide switch.

*How curcumin somehow turns back on cancer cells suicide switch (using several different mechanisms of action) without harming normal cells.

*And much more.

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March 8, 2014 · 4:13 pm

The curry connection: tumeric and cancer prevention and treatment (4 min. 15 sec. video)

In this brief video (4 min. 15 sec.) by Dr. Michael Greger (nutritionfacts.org) you’ll learn about:

*The age around which most cancers start

*The age around which most cancers are diagnosed (hint: there’s often around a 30 year “incubation” period)

*Why pharmaceutical companies are much less interested in plant based cancer treatment products than synthetics although the plant based drugs may actually be less expensive, safer and naturally multi-target cancer cells (as opposed to the much more expensive single target approach commonly used today).

*How high tumeric consuming Southeast Asian countries, for example India, have cancer rates several times lower than the US: prostate cancer – 23 X less, male melanoma skin cancer – 14 X less.

*Other simple dietary factors that many scientists think contribute to the startlingly lower cancer rates in some Southeast Asian countries.

*The high anti-oxidant food category that Indians consume much more of that contribute to a much lower cancer rate than populations eating a typical Western diet (high fat, high white sugar, high refined flour, high red meat, etc.).

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March 7, 2014 · 12:51 pm

What some cancer and medical professionals have written about Dr. Keith Block’s book, Life Over Cancer

During my search through books and websites in my search for scientifically validated nutritional and lifestyle strategies I could use to help my wife manage and suppress her cancer I found certain ones that I felt some confidence in due to their scientifically validated approach. Of the books I used to help slow and reverse my wife’s decline Life Over Cancer is at the top of the list.

If I had cancer and had to choose only one book to use in a life-and-death battle with cancer, Life Over Cancer would be that book.

Below are just three of the 16 reviews in Life Over Cancer: The Block Center Program for Integrative Cancer Treatment by professionals in oncology or other medical specialties. Note: one of the reviews is by Robert Newman, Ph.D. with MD Anderson–which is considered by many cancer professionals to be among the top three cancer centers in the United States:

I consider Dr. Block to be the guiding force in the world of integrative cancer treatment. This book is his life-giving gift to cancer patients everywhere.

–Robert Newman, Ph.D., Professor of Experimental Therapeutics, M.D. Anderson Cancer Center

Life over Cancer is the compilation of Dr. Keith Block’s three decades of research and development of his optimal model of integrative cancer treatment. As chief of surgical oncology of a major medical institution, I have sent many patients to the Block Center. They experienced less treatment toxicity, improved treatment response, better quality of life, and improved outcomes. In my opinion, Dr. Block’s clinic is unique and is the top integrative oncology center in the U.S.. It is where I would go if I was ever diagnosed with cancer.

–N. Joseph Espat, M.D., Professor and Chief, Surgical Oncology, Roger Williams Medical Center, Providence, Rhode Island

Life Over Cancer is a must read for anyone combatting this disease. It provides genuine hope, as well as the evidence, rationale, and instruction in how to life a healthier, fuller life with cancer, while providing a broader array of treatment options that improve quality of life.

-Nick Vogelzang, M.D., Director, Nevada Cancer Institute, Las Vegas; Professor of Medicine, University of Nevada School of Medicine, Las Vegas

NOTE: For people lacking the strength or inclination to read the whole book, during our visit to The Block Center for Integrative Cancer Treatment April of this year (2013), Dr. Block told me that the essentials are covered in chapters 1, 4 and 13 (I also found chapters 14 through 19 to be very helpful in understanding the six biochemical conditions that can exist in the body that can support cancer growth and spread).

Chapter 1: Why Integrative Care Works

Chapter 4: The Anti-Cancer Diet

Chapter 13: The Healing Power of the Terrain

Chapter 14: Oxidation: Fighting Cancer Promoting Free Radicals

Chapter 15: Inflammation: Overcoming Cancer’s Fiery Side

Chapter 16: Immune Surveillance: Mounting the Immune Barricades

Chapter 17: Blood Circulation and Cancer: The Thick and the Thin

Chapter 18: Glycemia: Breaking Cancer’s Sugar Addiction

Chapter 19: Stress Chemistry: Creating Healthier Biorythms

I’m an Amazon affiliate for this book if ordered through either of the above links. If you choose to order through these links we appreciate your help in our efforts to cover my wife’s medical expenses.

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March 5, 2014 · 5:08 pm

Wine and breast cancer survival or prevention

Wine and breast cancer prevention or post diagnosis survival

Above photo by speakinglatino.com (courtesy of Flickr and Creative Commons)

Below is a link to a recent blog post by Dr. Michael Greger about surviving and preventing breast cancer:

After diagnosis, women with breast cancer may cut their risk of dying nearly in half by just instituting simple, modest lifestyle changes. . . . .

Dr. Michael Greger

*Four simple guidelines for preventing breast cancer in the first place.

*Of the four simple preventive steps the one that science says has the most effect.

Link to blog post:
Breast Cancer and Wine | NutritionFacts.org.

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March 4, 2014 · 12:27 pm