I apologize for not posting for over two weeks

I regret not posting in over two weeks.

I have absolutely no doubt that the science based nutrition that I’ve incorporated into our lives has helped my wife tremendously. Her breast cancer was diagnosed as recurring in her chest wall (stage 4) in November 2011. Despite working her way up the chemo ladder to include one drug (Lepatanib aka Tykerb) that cost $11,000 for a bottle of 120 tablets, in 2012 the cancer spread to her lungs to form about 30 lesions. She started to lose weight, lost her appetite, became gravely and progressively weaker, started coughing every five to ten minutes. Conventional oncology alone was giving me no hope or encouragement. As I researched and changed our diet and lifestyle many of her symptoms started reversing. She stopped losing weight, got her energy back, got her appetite back (this is in spite of the chemo often making the food taste awful–which makes her improvement all the more remarkable), she stopped coughing.

I have no doubt that science based nutrition has given her more life and a much better quality of life and regret none of the changes we’ve made. But her breast cancer is a particularly aggressive type (ER PR neg. HER2 pos…. not that far from the dreaded  triple negative breast cancer that doesn’t respond to any hormon therapy). It is relentless.

The last few months have been tough. My wife’s last three CT scans (done every two to three months) have all shown minor growth in both areas of concern. Despite any growth being minor I am looking for, at the very least, no change or shrinkage.

The last few months have been an emotional and psychological roller coaster due to the stubborn (“minor”) growth and the stress of the financial pressures associated with dealing with the 20 percent of chemo costs not covered by Medicare. A cousin died of lung cancer in June in Chicago and his treatment and testing ran up a bill of about a million dollars (and he had no insurance!). We may not approach that lofty figure but the thought of anything resembling such huge bills results in pressure for anyone in the middle class. Catastrophic illness is the number one cause of personal bankruptcy in the U.S.. The rich have money and usually coverage, and the poor have government help. Unfortunately anyone in the middle class that loses coverage or only has partial coverage (for example 80/20 or 70/30) is probably in for a real roller coaster ride. My advice is to apply for all the nonprofit help you can possibly qualify for (see my the tab at the resources section at the top of the page for links to some nonprofits).

Anyway I hope to be posting again soon. I’ll continue in my search for more answers and share the best of what I’ve found.

I’m going to contact a company named Nutritional Solutions started by a doctor that has done cancer nutritional consultation around the world since 1997. It was highly recommended by my friend Rick Shapiro (latestagecancer.com) who lost his father to cancer and who is an extreme skeptic so I give his recommendations a close look. I may post my experiences with Nutritional Solutions if I think it will help others.

 

 

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NEW VIDEOS AND ARTICLES USUALLY POSTED ONE OR MORE TIMES A WEEK BELOW THIS INTRODUCTORY MESSAGE . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Sharing the results of my continuing search for more of the science-based anticancer nutritional strategies that helped significantly reverse my wife’s decline from stage 4 cancer after it adapted to her chemo in 2012

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. The integrative science-based nutritional strategies in Life Over Cancer are what I most credit helping reverse my wife’s downhill slide in 2012 after her cancer adapted to the chemo drugs she was prescribed.

How my wife has benefited from using science-based nutritional strategies when her stage 4 cancer adapted (as it always eventually does) to the chemo drugs prescribed for her  

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 May 2014)?  

We’ve regularly hear from from many people that meet us that, other than for some minor thinning of her 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, stage 4 cancer or someone that’s endured a mastectomy, 33 radiation treatment sessions and countless chemo sessions.

The thirty some lesions have regressed to only two areas of concern. There has been some minor growth in the last two CT scans which is why I continue my search for more science-based nutritional answers to help her.

This blog is my effort to share the fruits of my search, in the hope it will help others.

Here are just a few of the things you’ll learn through the mini videos, links and blog posts on Stage 4 Living 

*A review of the one book I would use if I had to choose only one book on integrative treatment (i.e. integrating conventional treatment with science based nutrition and lifestyle strategies). It’s by a doctor who has treated all types and stages of cancer for over 35 years and is regarded by many to be the Father of the integrative cancer treatment movement

*How a compound in a common herb has been shown in studies to turn back on the “suicide switch” in cancer cells which all normally functioning cells have. This compound has also been shown to fight cancer at every stage: establishment, growth, metastasis, and invasion.

*A review of a book by an integrative oncologist who has dedicated herself to researching the over one thousand cases of late stage cancer remission documented in medical journals. She talks about the nine strategies that these survivors used to varying degrees to help bring about their late stage remissions.

*A video presentation by Dr. William Li on how to eat to starve cancer.

*And much, much more. 

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September 4, 2014 · 10:20 pm

Which of 13 vegetables tested is best at binding carcinogenic bile acids? (3 min. 22 sec. video)

Here’s yet another bullet for your anti-cancer arsenal.  

In this brief video (3 min. 22 sec.) Dr. Greger talks about a study of 13 vegetables testing theot ability to bind carcinogenic bile acids. There is a five-fold difference in bile binding ability between the best and worst. And there seems to be no correlation between fiber content and bile binding ability.

The second question this video answers is whether raw or cooked vegetables are better at binding bile acids. The answer may surprise you.

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Science based nutrition for quadrupling breast cancer survival

Photo by Charles Knowles (courtesy of Flickr and Creative Commons)

Photo by Charles Knowles (courtesy of Flickr and Creative Commons)

I’m always on the lookout for scientifically validated strategies for complementing her conventional treatment with science based nutrition. So the link below to the article by Dr. Michael Greger and his nonprofit nutritionfacts.org on quadupling breast cancer survival rates, really caught my eye because it especially applies to breast cancer patients.

Quadrupling Breast Cancer Survival | NutritionFacts.org.

 

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Another pellet in the anti-cancer “magic shotgun”: Studies reveal the anti-cancer potential of sweet potato proteins (3 min. 13 sec. video)

Here’s another pellet for your anti-cancer magic shotgun provided by Dr. Michael Greger and his nonprofit organization, nutritionfacts.org. In an earlier post I wrote of Dr. Greger’s recommendation to give up the search for a mythical magic bullet to deal with cancer (i.e. a single medicine, food, or drink that would allow us to continue the dietary and lifestyle habits that in most cases have caused the cancer in the first place) and replace it with the search for as many anti-cancer pellets as possible to use in a “magic shotgun” to fight cancer using as many natural nontoxic resources as possible to complement conventional treatments.

This will allow the cancer patient to 1. Recover faster and better from the trauma of conventional treatments such as surgery, radiation therapy and chemo 2. Help change the body’s biochemistry to one less supportive of cancer cell growth (see Dr. Keith Block’s excellent book Life Over Cancer reviewed in an earlier post for the six biochemical conditions that encourage cancer cell growth).

 

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If you or a loved one has cancer, heart disease, weight problems or almost any other health issue I hope you’ll watch this video

ABOVE: OFFICIAL TRAILER (2 MIN. 43 SEC.) 

 

ABOVE: EXTENDED TRAILER (5 MIN. 24 SEC.)

 

ABOVE: FULL MOVIE (1 HR. 37 MIN.)

 

Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead is about a lot more than juicing or losing weight 

This is an inspiring film about Australian businessman Joe Cross and his battle to overcome growing weight problems and a painful, rare skin disorder requiring him to take numerous medicines. He had finally had enough and decided to go on a juice fast and drive across America interviewing people about their eating habits.

The best part of the video is when Joe connects with a trucker who coincidentally suffers from the same two problems but worse. I won’t ruin the ending for you but let’s just say it will make you all goose pimply if you like happy endings.

A cousin of mine was so inspired by watching Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead that he adopted healthy eating and living habits and lost over 60 pounds. Pretty amazing.

What the real message of this film is and why I think it’s so important for anyone with health issues, and especially for anyone with late stage cancer

I think the film should be inspiring for most people with almost any health issues. I don’t even think the vehicle he used (juicing) is important. The most important message of this film is the amazing things that are possible when you take responsibility of your health and start adopting healthy eating and living habits. The healing powers that our Creator put into our bodies, when they are properly nourished, exercised and rested is pretty amazing.

I’m not endorsing juicing by posting this video; but here’s what I am endorsing

This post is not an endorsement of or recommendation for juice fasting (or any healthy eating or lifestyle regime) as a replacement for conventional cancer treatment. What I am endorsing is finding and adding as many science based nutritional tools and weapons to complement conventional cancer treatment such as chemo (which is just one tool/weapon) in your efforts to manage late stage cancer and increase the possibility of late stage remission.

Keep your oncologist informed about any major dietary changes or addition of supplements

I highly recommend talking with your oncologist about the addition of any supplements or major dietary changes (for example going on an extended juice fast, or daily use of green tea) in order to minimize the possibility of interaction with chemo drugs resulting in unintended side effects.

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June 26, 2014 · 9:06 pm

Keith Block, MD on cancer survival statistics: Can your physician really predict how long you have to live?

Photo by J. Brew (courtesy of Flickr and Creative Commons)

The following is a repost from Dr. Keith Block’s blog. Dr. Block is the author of Life Over Cancer: The Block Center Program for Integrative Cancer Treatment, co-founder of The Block Center for Integrative Cancer Treatment (blockmd.com) and considered by many to be the father of the integrative cancer treatment movement. He has dealt with advanced stage cancers for over thirty years.

In this post he writes about what to think when you, a loved one or friend has been given depressing survival statistics for a particular type and stage of cancer.

One of the most common sources of distress after a diagnosis of cancer is being told that you have a “X” number of months or years to live. This is often presented in the form of a risk-based percentage, such as “a 30 percent chance of surviving one year.” For anyone on the receiving end of such a dire prediction, such statements can seem tantamount to a death sentence, often resulting in profound grief and depression. In fact, some patients simply stop fighting and caring for themselves. Instead of finding ways to live, they focus on preparing to die.

Over the past three-plus decades, I have cared for numerous cancer patients who were told at the time of their diagnosis that they had only three to six months to live. And yet, years later, many of these same individuals are alive and doing quite well. As I told them when they first came to our Center for treatment, “forget all the talk of survival rates. They do not apply to you. All statistics, by definition apply only to groups, not individuals.” In fact, I refer to them as “population statistics,” since they have little to do with the individual. Researchers use them to determine whether a therapy is likely to work or not, and physicians use them to help make choices among different therapies. However, as forecasts of any one individual’s lifespan, such numbers tend to obscure the immense variation in disease resistance that exists within any given population. Each of us is entirely unique in our ability to fight disease. Each of us has certain genetic, biochemical and physiological characteristics that can profoundly sharpen our “survivor’s edge.” And each of us makes decisions regarding diet, lifestyle and type of treatment, which can also impact outcome.

These daily life habits, such as eating a cancer-fighting diet, may place one firmly outside the statistical “norm” in any particular population study (by “norm” I mean that segment of the population that shares the most common characteristics, such as the typical American diet, the stressful lifestyle, the lack of exercise, and so forth). In fact, changes in diet and exercise are two of the most powerful yet widely overlooked ways that those with cancer can step beyond the norm. The statistics on cure rates and five-year survival are mainly based on studies of cancer patients who are eating the typical American diet and living in the same manner that may have contributed to their initial diagnosis. As regular readers of my blog are aware, a sedentary lifestyle can result in a marked weakening of one’s anticancer defenses and the typical American diet is high in saturated fats and refined carbohydrates – both insidious promoters of tumor growth. In contrast, when you eat a low-fat, vegetable-based diet and exercise regularly, you’re taking steps to bolster your cancer-fighting resources. In addition, if you regularly practice yoga, meditation, visualization or other stress reduction techniques, and if you take specific nutritional and botanical supplements that are tailored to your individual biochemistry, unique molecular features of one’s illness and aspects of treatment – in other words, if you are taking a truly integrative approach to treatment – I believe you will further distance yourself from the statistical “norm.”

As a physician who has spent a great deal of time studying innovative biological strategies in cancer care, I know that each one of us has a great deal of disease-fighting potential packed into our bodies. Many of our long-term cancer survivors – including those who were given up on prior to initiating care with us – are patients who did everything possible to bolster this potential. By implementing the diverse strategies described in Life Over Cancer, they have certainly stepped outside the norm. I believe they belong within a class of vital cancer survivorship that conventional oncology has only begun to glimpse. As time goes on more individuals will enter into this class, I believe they are skewing the national survival statistics in an ever more favorable direction.

Truth be told, not even the best cancer biostatistician on the planet can consistently predict the outcome of your treatment. Survival for any group of patients with identical diagnoses receiving identical treatment may vary from months to years to decades. Again, the inescapable compelling fact is that many cancer patients surprise their doctors and everyone else by outliving grim or dismal statistical expectations.

The take-home lesson is this: You may not be able to predict with certainty your own survival but with the help of an individualized (personally tailored) integrative program, you can buy better survival odds. You buy better survival odds by standing at the helm of your own care and by making choices which support your overall therapeutic program with specific health- optimizing practices.

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June 16, 2014 · 1:17 pm