AN IMPORTANT NOTE: When using complementary therapies to complement conventional care

I posed the question of conventional versus complementary therapies alone to Dr. Keith Block, founder of The Block Center for Integrative Cancer Care and someone who many consider the father of the integrative cancer care movement, during our visit to The Block Center this April.

He said that he had been dealing with all kinds of cancers at all stages, including very advanced cancers, for over thirty years. He has seen many people take the all conventional route. He has seen many take the all natural route. Finally he has seen many people combine the two (i.e. the integrative approach). He said, by far the people that have done the best have combined the best of conventional and scientifically supported complementary therapies.

When dealing with something as deadly as my wife’s cancer (especially such advanced cancers) I think the safest, most prudent approach is to use all the tools on our tool belt.

I have a relative who’s battling cancer that had spread to both lungs, a spot in his brain, both kidneys, a femur and a large tumor above his heart and wrapped around his windpipe. He was given a one percent chance of survival but through chemo, surgery, radiation and diet and lifestyle changes he has chosen to make he is recovering. Using only complementary therapies for such an advanced cancer I think his chances of survival would have been zero percent.

The forward to the book Anticancer by David Servan-Schreiber, MD, PhD condenses and good, practical approach:

This book describes natural methods of health care that contribute to preventing the development of cancer or to bolstering its treatment. They are meant to serve as a complement to conventional approaches (such as surgery, radiotherapy, chemotherapy). The contents of this book cannot replace a physicians opinion. It is not intended to be used to make a diagnosis or to recommend a treatment.

Sound advice I think when reading any medical advice or opinions (including this blog). Before making any drastic changes in diet and lifestyle (supplementation, exercise, etc.) if you don’t use a physician versed in the integrative approach (which I’m assuming is the case) it’s advisable to consult with your conventional oncologist on if any natural supplements or lifestyle changes might affect therapies being given to your or a loved one.

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