Monthly Archives: February 2014

Keith Block, MD on what to do when you’ve been told there’s nothing more that can be done

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

Following is a copy of 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, cofounder 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 Dr. Block addresses the important question of what to do when you (or a loved one) has been told that there’s nothing more that can be done.

Hearing your oncologist say “there is nothing more that we can do for you” is undeniably traumatic and distressing. What he or she is essentially saying, however, is that there is nothing left in the conventional arsenal that can be done to eradicate the cancer. But this doesn’t necessarily mean that there is nothing else that can be done. At the Block Center, our integrative approach doesn’t focus solely on eradicating disease, but also on helping patients restore their biological, psychological, nutritional and physical strength. We also assess and correct a patient’s biochemical terrain, which can either help promote, or help thwart, the growth of cancer. By using the widest array of integrative tools and techniques, we have seen patients win back their health, and ultimately, win back their lives.

Many patients come to us having been through multiple surgeries and/or treatments. As a result, they are often overwhelmed, debilitated, and depressed or anxious. Our individually tailored, comprehensive “cancer rehab” program includes therapeutic diet, selective supplementation, stress-care strategies, and prescriptive exercise. These programs help fortify patients against the physical decline, pain, fatigue and weakness associated with both the disease and treatment. As a result, most patients report a renewed sense of energy and vitality, allowing us to then evaluate what treatment options are most appropriate for them.

Leaving No Stone Unturned

As Dr. Block writes in Life Over Cancer, there are almost always “meaningful strategies to try even if your doctor feels that further treatment would be of little value.” He defines 5 categories of “no-stone-unturned therapies” that can be considered during this phase of a patient’s care. All meet his criteria of 1) having been proved safe, 2) having at least some evidence of effectiveness, and 3) having a favorable cost/convenience ratio. These are:

The off-label use of pharmaceuticals
Vaccines and immune therapies
Targeted molecular therapies
Reasonable and responsible alternative therapies
Traditional medicine systems.
For additional information, visit http://www.blockmd.com, call the Block Center at 847-492-3040, or check out Life Over Cancer (www.amazon.com) or call 800-834-8787.

“With my patients I have always been an uncompromising realist, yet I have never given up on anyone.” Dr. Keith Block, Life Over Cancer.

Please note: I’m an Amazon affiliate if Dr. Block’s book (Life Over Cancer) is ordered through the above link. If you choose to order this book through this link we appreciate your help in covering the cost of my wife’s ongoing chemo treatments.  

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February 28, 2014 · 12:45 pm

Two common herbs that scientific studies have shown to help counteract the damaging effects of radiation exposure

Ginger & Lemon Balm for Radiation Exposure

Photo by Brad Einarsen (courtesy of Flickr and Creative Commons)

Below’s a link to an excellent blog post I received today (Feb. 26, 2014) from Dr. Michael Greger (nutritionfacts.org) on the results of studies done on the effects of ginger and lemon balm on cell damage from radiation exposure.

Ginger & Lemon Balm for Radiation Exposure | NutritionFacts.org.

I’ve written about my concern regarding my wife’s quarterly (and sometimes more frequent) CT scans to monitor her stage 4 breast cancer. I’ve read of a certain percentage of cancer related deaths actually related to CT scans. I find myself wondering if her CT scans are actually worsening a bad situation. I don’t have a definitive answer yet but I’ll keep searching and post as I find science-based clues among the many conflicting opinions.

I’ve posted a couple of other Nutrition Facts videos on the dangers of CT scans, especially on children. (Dr. Greger has written that one CT scan exposes the patient to the equivalent of about 400 standard x-rays.)

I live on the island of Guam in the Pacific Ocean and many here are concerned about the possible radiation from military waste dumps and fish caught in the Pacific showing higher radiation levels due to the Fukushima disaster. At one time fish were considered a pretty “clean” food. I think those days are slowly disappearing.

This video may offer a strategy to at least partially counteract the radiation so many people are experiencing from different sources.

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February 20, 2014 · 10:35 am

The effect on antioxidents in foods on cancer prevention and treatment (2 min. 49 sec. video)

Dr. Michael Greger talks about the result of studies on the effect of antioxidant intake from foods (not supplements) on lowering cancer risk. Also the effect of those nutrients on cancer treatment.

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February 12, 2014 · 12:17 pm

Can we eat to starve cancer? (20 min. 2 sec. video)

Dr. William Li’s delivers a fascinating TED Talk–a nontechnical explanation of a treatment strategy involving medicines and common foods and drinks that can help cancer patients to “starve” their cancers. He presents some impressive evidence to support the effectiveness of this approach called anti-angiogenesis.

I heard some ideas that I can easily incorporate into the nutritional measures I’m using to help my wife in our efforts to manage her stage 4 breast cancer. By “managing” I mean complementing conventional cancer therapy (i.e. chemo, etc.) by taking scientifically validated dietary and lifestyle measures to help slow, stop and maybe even reverse tumor growth, and strengthen her body to battle cancer and recover from chemo, thus extending her life and giving her a better quality of life.

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February 12, 2014 · 1:05 am

Why soy consumption is associated with improved survival and lower recurrence in breast cancer patients (5 min. 9 sec. video)

Dr. Michael Greger talks about how soy phytonutrients appear to improve the expression of tumor suppressing BRCA genes and how this contributes to improved survival and lower recurrence among breast cancer patients.

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February 7, 2014 · 11:01 pm

How breast cancer stem cells make tumors immortal and broccoli phytonutrients cause those cells to die (2 min. 54 sec. video)

Dr. Michael Greger talks about some hopeful research on the effect of phytonutrients in broccoli, broccoli sprouts and broccoli juice on the growth and proliferation of breast cancer stem cells. It’s stem cells that give tumors their virtual immortality.

He considers this approach superior to the antiangiogenesis approach (i.e. taking foods and medicines to discourage the growth of microscopic blood vessels that support tumors) because it targets the “beating heart” of tumors (i.e. breast cancer stem cells).

Cell immortality and the remarkable story of Henrietta Lacks

Attacking breast cancer stem cells is so important because these are the culprits that give tumors their virtual immortality. One startling example of the potential for cell immortality can be found in the best selling book The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks. Ms. Lacks was a poor black Southern tobacco farmer. Scientists, without her knowledge, took some of her cells and began growing them. And growing them. And growing them. It was the first scientific experiment in cell immortality. Cells that can be traced to that one sample of Ms. Lack’s cells are still growing today some sixty years after her death. It’s estimated that if you weighed all the cells that have grown from that one sample they would weigh a combined fifty million metric tons! Let me put that in perspective. That’s the weight of the Empire State Building…….multiplied a hundred times. That’s the potential for immortality locked in our cells that cancer stem cells unleash to overwhelm its victims.

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February 5, 2014 · 12:44 pm

Do cancer fighting phytonutrients in broccoli actually reach breast cancer in the body? (1 min. 50 sec. video)

The broccoli phytonutrient sulforaphane has been shown to target breast cancer stem cells in Petri dishes in labs. Sceptics doubt that the same effect occurs from eating broccoli, or broccoli sprouts or drinking broccoli juice. After being broken down in digestion how do we know that sulforaphane reaches the tumor in breast tissue intact and in sufficient concentrations to have any positive effect?

Dr. MIchael Greger looks at a study that analyses the biochemical composition of breast tissue before and after breast reduction surgery to find answers.

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February 5, 2014 · 12:32 pm