Natural Strategies for Cancer Patients
by Russell L. Blaylock, MD
Kensington Publishing Corp. 850 Third Avenue, New York, New York 10022
Quality paperback, 2003, $15 US, $21 CAN, 364 pp.
There has been an ongoing controversy about the role of nutrition,
and especially, antioxidants, in the treatment of cancer, because they
might interfere with the standard treatment — chemotherapy. Dr.
Blaylock has been treating cancer patients with nutritional supplements
for about 30 years, and has "never seen a single case of tumor-growth
acceleration or interference with conventional treatments."
In Natural Strategies for Cancer Patients, he not only refutes these fears
as "myths," citing a growing number of scientific studies, he
also provides the evidence for nutritional supplements being able to enhance
the effectiveness of chemotherapy, as well as prevent the most serious side
effects. In fact, they powerfully protect normal cells from becoming cancer
cells..."This not only is important in preventing cancer from forming
in the first place, but is especially important in preventing secondary cancers
created by chemotherapy and radiation treatments themselves," says Blaylock.
He also writes about diet and nutrition in some of the clearest terms you'll
ever read, making "nutrition" much easier for the average patient
to understand, especially in the context of cancer. For instance, several studies
have found that eating large amounts of fruits and vegetables, especially vegetables,
not only retards the growth of cancers, but can convert very aggressive cancers
into much more benign tumors. Dr. Blaylock explains the cancer process (again
very clearly) and how cancer cells differ from normal cells..."Selected
nutritional supplements affect the cancer cell at multiple steps in its metabolism....
Nutritional supplements do this more effectively than either chemotherapy or
The author describes supplement use in detail, explaining the important difference
between natural and synthetic vitamins, and cautions against taking single
vitamins alone. In fact, Dr. Blaylock says depending on supplements alone will
fail, because first of all, nutrients work synergistically — that is, vitamins
never occur alone — they interact. Blaylock insists that cancer patients
change their diet, and not just depend on supplements.
Dr. Blaylock shares his considerable accumulated wisdom in treating cancer
patients, in this book. There are detailed explanations of dietary protocols,
from his experience, as well as citing many recent studies that explain, for
instance, that chronically ill people are much more likely to develop cancer
than healthier people, and their longterm medication use depletes nutrition,
so that cancer patients are usually undernourished when they begin treatment.
In explaining the cancer process, the author defines the role of free radicals
in both causing cancer, and in chemotherapy and why some people are more likely
to develop cancer. Our DNA repair ability depends on certain nutrients which
are often missing in the Western diet. He also talks about the years of exposure
to carcinogens in our environment, and the important nutrients needed for detoxification.
The many known causes of cancer are discussed: carcinogens which accumulate
in the body; oncogenic viruses; radiation (mammograms themselves increase breast
cancer risk by 3% per year because of the radiation exposure); high calorie
In a chapter titled "Chemotherapy: Poisoning Cancer (and You)," the
chemical compounds used to treat cancer are looked at, and how they work. The
many complications and side effects of chemotherapy are covered: fatigue; nausea
and vomiting; food aversion; hair loss; bone marrow depression (specific supplements
are recommended); cardiac toxicity (a major cause of death of cancer patients);
pulmonary complications; gastrointestinal complications; liver and kidney injury;
neurological complications; and of course, damage to the immune system.
Nowhere does Dr. Blaylock suggest that a cancer patient should avoid conventional
treatment — only that they learn and use nutritional supplements and dietary
changes to greatly improve their chances of recovery. He clearly differentiates
between theory and research, and has the ability to communicate complex processes
better than most. He gives the facts, studies, etc. and lets the reader come
to his/her own conclusions, although Blaylock lays out the oncology scenario
for all to see — that oncologists will try to dissuade the patient from
taking antioxidants — not out of knowledge, but out of ignorance. It's
probably not a comfortable place to be — defying the man who presumably
has your life in his hands. But the moderate tone throughout the book, the
clear explanations, and the research cited, will leave the reader with an idea
that might just save their life.
In 1994, the results of the Alpha-Tocopheral Beta-Carotene Study were announced,
supposedly indicating that beta-carotene causes lung cancer. Dr. Blaylock examines
the flaws in the study, including subjects who were longtime smokers and drinkers,
and the use of the synthetic form of the vitamin. These flaws are common to
many of the studies done on single vitamins. The argument for eating fruits
and vegetables vs supplementing alone, is made time and again in Natural Strategies
for Cancer Patients, because nutrients always work together, synergistically.
The role of immune surveillance is covered thoroughly, and the theory that
some cancer cells lay dormant until the immune system fails through lack of
essential nutrients, is examined. Conventional cancer treatments can severely
damage the immune system, which is another primary reason for providing a nutritional
program. The many researched immune-stimulating supplements such as thymus
protein, medicinal mushrooms, MGN-3, PC-SPES, olive leaf extract, Ginseng,
and Chinese herbs are discussed.
The special problems of cancer therapy such as fatigue and weight loss can
be dramatically improved, writes Dr. Blaylock, by simply taking a good multiple
vitamin. Apparently, oncologists seem to believe that supplying enhanced nutrition
will feed the cancer — a belief that the author of Nutritional Strategies
for Cancer Patients puts to rest with scientific studies, as well as his 30
years of experience in providing nutritional protocols to cancer patients.
He states that starvation is the most common cause of death in cancer patients — a
horrifying fact, especially if it can be prevented.
Russell Blaylock, MD has written a definitive text on the use of nutrition
in treating cancer patients. His book should encourage and bring hope to the
cancer patient, and lay the groundwork for positive change in the practice