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This authoritative guide combines the best of conventional medicine with the best scientifically supported complementary therapies, enabling patients and their doctors to create individualized, lifesaving treatment plans.
Keith I. Block, M.D. is Director of Integrative Medical Education at the University of Illinois College of Medicine; Medical Director of the Block Center for Integrative Cancer Treatment in Evanston, Illinois; and founder and Scientific Director of the nonprofit Institute for Integrative Cancer Research and Education. He is also editor in chief of the peer-reviewed professional journal Integrative Cancer Therapies and a member of the National Cancer Institute’s Physician Data Query Complementary and Alternative Medicine (CAM) Editorial Board.
Table of Contents
Introduction: Retaking Control of Your Life
Why Integrative Care Works
Forming Your Winning Team
Where Are You Now? Quick-Start Maps for Using This Book
Improving Your Lifestyle
The Anti-Cancer Diet
The Life Over Cancer Core Diet Plan
Individualizing Your Diet
The Physical Care Plan: The Case for Fitness
The Life Over Cancer Core Fitness Plan
Individualizing Your Fitness Program
Mind and Spirit Care: The Rationale
The Life Over Cancer Core Mind and Spirit Care Plan
Immune Surveillance: Mounting the Immune Barricades
Blood Circulation and Cancer: The Thick and the Thin
Glycemia: Breaking Cancer's Sugar Addiction
Stress Chemistry: Creating Healthier Biorhythms
Enhancing Your Treatment
The Three Phases of Cancer Treatment: Hitting Cancer Where-and When-It Counts
Crisis: When to Call Your Doctor and Go to the Emergency Room
The Surgical Support Program
The Chemotherapy Support Program: Reducing Toxicity and Side Effects
The Chemotherapy Support Program: Enhancing Effectiveness
The Radiation Support Program
What to Do When Treatment Ends: Growth Control and Containment in the First Year That You're Cancer-Free
The Rehabilitation Program: Getting Strong Enough for Treatment
Leaving No Stone Unturned: What to Do When There's "Nothing Left to Do"
The Remission Maintenance Program
Epilogue: The Gift of Time and Hope
A Note on References and Resources
About the Author
The Block Center for Integrative Cancer Treatment
Table of Contents provided by Ingram. All Rights Reserved.
Why Integrative Care Works
Cancer is one of the ultimate challenges any of us can face. I tell my patients that it is like being forced to climb Mount Everest: your trek to recovery requires the same committed focus and fitness of body and mind. Many of my patients tell me this analogy not only captures how overwhelmed their illness makes them feel but also reinforces two key ideas. First, to surmount your illness, just as to climb Everest, you need know-how, planning, and preparedness. Second, all mountains are ascended one step at a time, and all illnesses are conquered one step at a time. Every new health-promoting behavior you adopt is a victory. Every improvement in your symptoms, no matter how small, is an important step toward the summit of health.
The first point: preparedness is a key to successful cancer therapy. If I dropped you onto the summit of Everest, you would be lucky to survive a few hours in the intense cold and low-oxygen atmosphere. In the same way, unprepared cancer patients often lack the reserves to carry them through treatment. Of course, no rational person would ever let himself be plopped beneath the summit of Everest unprepared. You need training, proper equipment, and time to study the routes and learn the terrain before starting your trek. En route, you pace yourself and set up camps along the way to acclimatize yourself to the altitude. If you’re smart, you also enlist an experienced guide, one who helps you navigate the trickiest terrain.
So it is with cancer. Ascending Everest is analogous to the attack phase of cancer therapy—the conventional treatment for debulking, or shrinking, the primary tumor. The better and smarter the preparation, the more likely you are to complete this treatment. Don’t worry if there is only a little time between when you receive your diagnosis and when you begin treatment such as surgery: even a little preparedness can go a long way. With an experienced guide offering strategies complementary to your chemotherapy, radiation, and surgery, treatment will be less debilitating and more effective.
If the attack phase is successful in shrinking or eliminating the primary tumor, you’ve achieved either a partial remission or a complete remission. This is like reaching the summit of Everest. What next More often than not, nothing. Current medical thinking views successful completion of the attack phase (“we got it all”) as almost synonymous with a cure. But even with remission after surgery and chemo, some residual undetectable cancer cells likely remain. It has been estimated that approximately half of all cancer patients in remission actually have metastases, malignant cells that have broken off the original tumor, traveled through the bloodstream to far-flung sites in the body, and begun the insidious process of growing into another dangerous tumor. Just because you have achieved remission through elimination of the primary tumor does not mean you are home free. Cancer is not like an infection, where you wipe it out and move on. It is a chronic condition that needs constant vigilance. While conventional cancer treatments often remove much of the disease burden —and it is critical to remove tumor bulk from your body—that is only half the battle. Even when the primary tumor is eliminated, micro- metastases may already have migrated to and seed other parts of the body. These dormant cells can rear up and reestablish themselves.
That’s why for my patients, complete remission does not mean the end of treatment. Instead, it means the start of the containment or growth control phase, when we focus on stopping or slowing further growth of any residual disease (visible tumors) or invisible metastatic cancer cells. Post-treatment is a time to be particularly aggressive.
To continue the Everest metaphor, a successful climb is not only about summiting
Excerpted from Life over Cancer: The Block Center Program for Integrative Cancer Treatment by Keith Block All rights reserved by the original copyright owners. Excerpts are provided for display purposes only and may not be reproduced, reprinted or distributed without the written permission of the publisher.