Magazine article Vegetarian Times

21st-Century Medicine Man

Magazine article Vegetarian Times

21st-Century Medicine Man

Article excerpt

Keith Block, M.D., is at the forefront of complementary cancer treatment

When you first meet Keith Block, M.D., you'd never guess that this handsome, fit and healthylooking oncologist was once plagued with chronic migraines and bleeding ulcers. Yet it was his very own personal maladies that inspired the young doctor to seek out alternative healing methods when conventional therapies failed him.

As part of his treatments, Block learned about meditation, acupuncture and other holistic measures and adopted a plant-based diet. Almost immediately his migraines and ulcers disappeared, and he felt healthier than he ever had in the past. His experience taught him an invaluable lesson not only as a patient, but as a doctor, too. "When I was sick, no one considered me and how I felt," he recalls. "No one looked at what was going on in my life; instead, my illness was the focus. This made me realize that the biology of a disease is not all that matters. People's psychosocial and emotional states, plus their nutrition, fitness and other lifestyle factors, are also fundamental to getting well."

This revelation was a turning point for the then 20-something-year-old doctor, who went on to establish the Block Medical Center in Evanston, Ill., with his wife, Penny. "I elected to focus my career on cancer because I felt that if I could treat one of the most complicated disorders-the one that needs the most individualized fine-tuning-it would reveal answers to other diseases as well."

Today Block is a leading pioneer in integrative cancer treatment. He's gone way beyond his conventional training to pursue work in nutritional oncology and has studied acupuncture, herbal medicine, nutrition, massage and such mind/body therapies as tai chi, qigong, yoga meditation and aerobic exercise. "I believe in tailoring an optimal health regimen to the individual. To provide the best chances for a successful outcome, it's necessary to combine the best of conventional care with carefully selected and patient-specific alternative therapies."

For more than two decades, Block has treated thousands and thousands of cancer patients (many suffering from breast cancer) with astounding results. Some have come to him after they have been given up on by other physicians, and a good percentage are able to either overcome their illnesses completely or at least enjoy a better quality of life. "The focus of our approach is to help patients transform traumatizing diagnoses and concerning prognoses into more easily tolerated therapies to achieve better outcomes," he explains. …

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