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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

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

How sugar impacts cancer establishment, growth, spread and invasion

How sugar impacts cancer establishment, growth, spread and invasion

Click on the above graphic if you want to see a larger picture which is easier to read.

Sugar is so pervasive in the typical American diet. It seems to be in almost everything. I recall reading Anticancer by Dr. David Serban-Schreiver in which he sited a survey done decades ago which found the typical American consumed about twelve pounds of sugar a year. A more recent survey found that had grown to over 150 pounds a year. Those aren’t precise figures but the bottom line is that sugar consumption has grown a lot over the last few decades. Given the facts in the above graphic I have to wonder what influence that trend has had on the increase in cancer cases.

I found this helpful graphic on the Facebook page for Nutritional Solutions which was founded by Jeanne M. Wallace, PhD. and has been providing evidence based nutritional consultation to oncologists and cancer patients around the world since 1997. Dr. Wallace has an excellent reputation among integrative treatment professionals; she comes recommended by Dr. Keith Block who many consider the father of the integrative cancer treatment movement so I think it’s safe to assume that the facts on the graphic represent the current position on sugar among most professionals in the integrative oncology field.

 

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June 15, 2014 · 9:08 am

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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June 12, 2014 · 5:08 pm

A personal note: The mirage of the cancer “magic bullet”–and a better alternative

Above photo by John Spade (courtesy of Flickr and Creative Commons)

The widespread search for the mirage of the magic bullet for cancer

We’re now into our fifth year managing my wife’s breast cancer, which recurred and is now stage 4. Because of the traumatic experiences we’ve been through and the many cancer patients we’ve met on this journey I started this blog to share the fruits of my research to help my wife.

One thing I’ve found interesting is that there was less interest than I expected in nutritional measures that people can adopt in helping manage their illness. More people are interested in finding the “magic bullet” for cancer. The magic bullet is the one pill, drug, potion, food, or drink that will magically dissolve the tumor and metastasized cancer cells and allow the patient to continue with the same diet, lifestyle, mental state and other factors that contributed to causing the cancer in the first place.

In our fifth year of our cancer journey I don’t think such a “bullet” exists or ever will exist. Cancer is a very complex disease with complex biochemical causes that cause a rippling cascade of symptoms. One of my wife’s oncologists told me that there are easily over one hundred different types of cancer. Oncology tries to deal with this complexity by coming up with evermore complex, costly and toxic drugs and drug cocktails to battle evolving mutations and symptoms. The cancer adapts to one drug or cocktail and they substitute another drug. And on and on it goes. Unfortunately in most cases of metastatic, invasive cancers the eventual outcome is predictable. The statistics I’ve seen tell us that the “cure” rate in such cases is just over an almost statistically insignificant one or two percent over five years.

Forget the magic bullet. Use the magic shotgun!

The good news is that although there may be no magic bullet I like Dr. Michael Greger’s (nutritionfacts.org) alternative of a “magic shotgun” using the many dozens of proven anticancer phytonutrients in fruits, vegetables, herbs, nuts, beans and seeds many of which scientific studies have proven to slow, stop and even reverse cancer establishment, growth and invasion (see some of the many mini videos I’ve posted below produced by nutritionfacts.org and Dr. Michael Greger). Oncology deals with symptoms (i.e. debulking geometrically growing tumors in order to buy the patient time to try and correct the body’s biochemistry and other bodily causes that resulted in the tumor) whereas the above approach deals with causes. While I believe conventional measures (surgery, chemo and radiation) can be useful in some cases the downside is that over time they tend to be tremendously taxing and traumatizing to the very cells, tissues, organs and bodily systems (such as the immune system) that the patient desperately needs to fight the advancing cancer and that has successfully killed millions of cancer cells and micro-tumors in our body’s for the vast majority of his or her life.

In some cases radical lifestyle and dietary changes have actually resulted in late stage remission of diseases; for example the over one thousand such cases documented in medical journals and written about in Radical Remission by Dr. Kelly A. Turner (see my review in an earlier post below). And Dr. Turner believes that for every documented case of “Radical Remission” there are probably over a hundred cases that were never documented. In some cases radical lifestyle and diet changes may result in a few extra months, a year, three years, five years or more of “bonus time” versus just using conventional treatment alone. In my wife’s case we’re working for the best possible scenario possible given her type and stage of cancer and the complex variables of her body. Whatever that is we’ll gratefully take it. We’re just glad for the gift of every extra day she’s with us.

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June 2, 2014 · 12:37 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

 

This book is now officially my second favorite book on the topic of surviving and managing late stage cancer

I received Radical Remission via Amazon a few days ago and started right into it. It’s now officially my second favorite book on surviving and managing late stage cancer (right after Life Over Cancer by Keith Block, MD).

I was referred to Radical Remission  by Elyn Jacobs–a professional cancer coach–who I contacted for suggestions on the next steps I should take to help my wife manage her stage 4 breast cancer. She felt I would find it helpful me in my efforts, and she was right. (Thanks Elyn!)

By the way 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.

How and why Radical Remission was written

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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May 21, 2014 · 5:00 pm

A very personal note: Stage 4 Living will soon be changing in two important ways

A very personal note: Stage 4 Living will soon be changing in two important ways

Above photo: My wife receiving chemo during on of our six trips to The Medical City in the Philippines (end of 2009 through mid 2010)

I’ve recently decided to evolve, change and I believe improve Stage 4 Living due to some of our recent experiences in the conventional chemo system.

A slight reversal and a major revelation

In 2012 my wife started to rapidly decline as she exhibited some classic symptoms of cachexia (eg. rapid weight loss, growing weakness, loss of appetite, coughing as the cancer lesions spread to her lungs, etc.). With research and a change of diet and lifestyle many of he symptoms started to reverse. Most of the roughly thirty cancerous lesions on her lungs started to shrink and disappear. Two areas did not. After significant progress the improvements plateaued and in the last two CT scans showed minor signs of minor reversal. Her oncologist described the two areas of concern on her lungs as being about one inch in size and the second one, three quarters of an inch. Although the growth was tiny it was enough for her oncologist to take her off of Gemzar (aka Gemsitabine) and put her on Cisplatin and 5FU (along with the usual Herceptin).

Her experience with Cisplatin was a revelation to me. Due to her excellent nutrition and lifestyle measures (i.e. daily walking) she’d always weathered chemo well compared with other patients we’d seen. Her experience with a single dose of Cisplatin was very different. She experienced almost constant nausea and occasional vomiting between the sessions, loss of appetite (due to the chemo drug making everything–even water–taste metallic) and some other troubling symptoms. At the next session we told the oncologist about the side effects and asked for an alternative drug. She was prescribed Carboplatin (along with 5FU and Herceptin). The side effects were better but still miserable.

The growing costs of chemotherapy and my wife’s experience with Cisplatin and Carboplatin turned the light on for me. I realized that this was not going to get better. Each new drug was going to be more expensive and more toxic. If we stay on this path I can predict what will happen with 100 percent accuracy. My wife’s body will be exposed to repeated doses of toxic drugs that will tax her cells, tissues, organs and systems (most notably her precious immune system and digestive system that she desperately needs for the fight against the onslaught of cancer cells.

The three battles waged by cancer patients

When I started this blog I wanted to share science based nutritional and lifestyle strategies that would help others in their cancer battle. With the growing pressure of our chemo bills and the growing toxicity of her treatments I realized that there are millions of people that are fighting three battles: 1. They are fighting their cancer 2. They are fighting for their bodies to recover from long term side effects of the toxicity of chemo, high radiation of radio-therapy and CT scans (each one equal to about 400 regular x-rays according to Dr. Michael Greger (nutritionfacts.org), and surgery 3. They are fighting growing medical bills. The rich have money and coverage, the poor have government programs, but the middle class is the class that is most damaged by the present conventional treatment system (especially if they lose coverage, have no coverage or have partial (e.g. 80/20 or 70/30) coverage. Twenty percent of a flu shot is no big deal. Twenty percent of a late stage chemo treatment can be devastating long term.

As we started to experience the weight of the 20 percent not covered by my wife’s Medicare I received more insight on the financial weight others are lifting in their cancer fight. I have a cousin who’s in the end stages (palliative/pain-relief, hospice care) of battling metastatic lung cancer. He and his wife recently told me that their bills have topped a million dollars…without insurance (thank goodness for nonprofits and government programs to help families in their position). They told me that they were given an option to continue a treatment that might help his immune system but cost would be about $350,000 (yes, that’s three hundred and fifty thousand dollars). I mentioned my cousin’s situation and he said that that’s actually “cheap” (yes, he used the word cheap). He knew of drugs that cost about $100,000 a session. (I frankly admitted to him that I felt like I’d entered some kind of fun-house in which such bizarre numbers made sense.

I have always agreed with Dr. Keith Block and believed that conventional treatment is an important tool in slowing the progression of cancer. Integrative treatment, which incorporates science based nutrition and lifestyle strategies is another important tool. What I’ve come to find is that conventional treatment has an extremely poor “cure” rate for metastatic cancers that have spread beyond the original site and invaded other areas and organs. I’ve seen estimates as low as a bit over one to two percent over five years. Of course there are exceptions, especially when patients take control of their health and make radical dietary and lifestyle changes. But chemo alone has a miserable cure rate.

To compound matters the treatments tend to be so toxic and taxing to the body’s cells, tissues, organs and systems (especially the vital digestive and immune systems so desperately needed for the fight) that I believe it actually lays the groundwork for the cancer to come back to fight against a significantly weakened organism.

Two changes in Stage 4 Living due to recent experiences in the conventional chemo system

Because of the above realizations I’ve decided to change Stage 4 Living in two ways: First I plan on incorporating more personal comments on lessons I’ve learned in helping my wife manage her illness. Second (and this is the big one) I’ve decided to start looking highly selectively, and seriously at alternative cancer treatments. Reading through Radical Remission by Dr. Kelley Turner has opened my eyes to the fact that there are over one thousand cases of late stage cancer remission documented in medical journals. The vast majority of them were experienced by people who had been given up on by conventional medicine or the patients themselves had experienced the horrible side effects of some types of chemo and decided that they would try to find a less traumatic way of overcoming their illness.

For people who lack the resources to pay for costly chemo treatments or who find the side effects of chemo too traumatizing to their mind and body, the only other choice, besides highly selectively looking at alternative treatments, is to give up. Something I would wholeheartedly disagree with.

Based on the experiences I’ve had in dealing with my wife’s cancer if I were to start over again this is what I would now advise myself back in November 2009: 1. Get the best conventional care you can afford. 2. Study, study, study and incorporate the best science based nutritional and lifestyle strategies to help strengthen your immune system and your body and change your biochemistry to one less supportive of cancer cell establishment, growth and invasiveness. 3. Carefully search for alternative cancer treatment sources that research the newest and most effective developments in the field and work toward the ideal of radical remission (see radicalremission.com and the book Radical Remission by Dr. Kelley Turner reviewed below). My wife and I may fail or we may succeed but we will try. To stay on this present path only guarantees one eventual end. At least the alternative path has the possibility of a better ending (as demonstrated the over one thousand cases documented in medical journals and thousands more Dr. Turner estimates are never reported or documented by doctors around country and the world).

I’ll be posting highly selective alternative resources in future posts. Please check back or follow this blog if you think you would find this helpful.

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May 20, 2014 · 6:17 pm