Sunday, August 2, 2009

Keith Block - Life Over Cancer: The Block Center for Integrative Cancer Treatment

Kepler's was pleased to have Dr. Keith Block come on July 30, 2009 to discuss his new book. Host Bobbi Emel reports:


A small, but extremely attentive crowd turned out to hear Dr. Keith Block discuss his work of the past 30 years which he has condensed into his book, Life Over Cancer: The Block Center Program for Integrative Cancer Treatment. Dr. Block was accompanied by his wife, psychologist Dr. Penny Block. Together, they have created a holistic, very individualized program to treat cancer in their clinic in Illinois. They were introduced by local clinical advocate, Dr. Gwen Stritter (http://www.strittermed.org/) who has referred many of her clients with cancer to the Block Center.

Keith Block brought a powerpoint presentation that was comprehensive, if not a bit technical at times. He quickly outlined the scientific evidence that forms the foundation of his integrative treatment theory and also shared some of the stories of cancer survivors who have successfully utilized the center's program. As the treatment is integrative, the Blocks combine traditional chemotherapy (although the administration of it is timed with the individual's particular body rhythms in mind) with behavioral, nutritional, and pychological therapies. I was fascinated to see pictures of chemotherapy patients taking a dance class while they were receiving chemo while another patient whizzed around the center on her rollerblades, thanks to chemo being administered by a portable pump in a fanny pack. It was much different than the personal experience I have had of visiting loved ones in chemotherapy. While they are very comfortable in their recliners with their IV poles and infusion pumps administering the chemo, it struck me during this presentation that this "traditional" method of chemotherapy tends to reinforce the label of "cancer patient" moreso than being active and taking a class during chemo. That said, it's also important to note that not all of the patients at the Block Center choose to participate in the activities offered and prefer the quiet of their private chemo rooms.

Many people in the audience took notes during Dr. Block's talk and there were a flood of questions about specific cancer conditions during the Q & A time. I felt uncomfortable ending the questioning period as I knew this topic is vital to many people. However, Drs Block, Block, and Stritter stayed as long as there were people with questions after the book signing, giving advice and offering hope. An uplifting session, Kepler's is proud to host events such as these.