What Every Cancer Patient Needs To Know Before Starting Chemotherapy

Early in his practice, Dr. Block was seeing two distinct patient groups. The first, a “conventional medicine” patient population, often responded well to treatment; however, they struggled with treatment side effects. The second group, from the “alternative medicine” community, tolerated their treatments well; unfortunately, they frequently saw their disease progress. When conventional medicine patients were given a personalized integrative treatment regimen alongside their treatment, and alternative leaning patients were encouraged to include mainstream treatment along with scientifically sound complementary therapies, both groups did far better. So by combining the best of both approaches, each group fared substantially better with treatment tolerance as well as treatment response. It was clear, as Dr. Block has frequently said, that “the middle ground was the optimal ground.”

This “middle ground” approach to treatment is fundamental to our philosophy of care. Back in the early nineties, Dr. Block was looking for additional strategies to help his patients better tolerate some of the more invasive treatments, including chemotherapy. His research led him to bring chronomodulated chemotherapy to the Block Center (https://blockmd.com/2022/12/16/chronomodulated-chemotherapy-improving-treatment-tolerance-and-boosting-overall-survival/). In addition, he and his research team continued to study and implement innovative, science-based complementary therapies that, when used in conjunction with conventional treatment, would not only help reduce side effects of treatment, but help boost treatment efficacy, as well as increase survival.

This approach to care begins even before a patient begins treatment with us. Because, as Dr. Block explains: “There isn’t a single surgeon – or at least there shouldn’t be – who wouldn’t rather have their patient more physically, nutritionally, emotionally and immunologically fit before bringing them into the operating room. Why should this be any different for a cancer specialist about to start a patient on conventional therapies that are likely to have considerable toxicity? The obvious answer: it shouldn’t be.”

In fact, Dr. Block won’t even start chemotherapy with a patient who is not fit enough to undergo it. “It is unfair to the patient and gives the cancer a decided unfair advantage. The disease already has a head start, so cancer patients must be physically and psychologically strong enough to take it on.”

This is why, prior to starting a patient on a treatment protocol, we first do a thorough assessment of their status and evaluate their metabolic, biological, biochemical, molecular, circadian and immune biology. We then implement a “Cancer Prehab” protocol: an individually tailored program to help correct any deficiencies or imbalances, so that when a patient begins their treatment with us, they are stronger physically, biologically, nutritionally, and psychologically. These Cancer Prehab programs include research-based complementary interventions such as therapeutic nutrition, selective supplementation, personalized fitness recommendations and bio-behavioral therapies. Each program is tailored to the individual needs of the patient, and modified as a patient’s needs change.

For additional information about our Cancer Prehab programs, please call one of our Patient Advocates at 1-877-412-5625.

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