Lance Armstrong Calls for United States to Renew Its "War on Cancer"

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Lance Armstrong, seven time Tour de France champion and cancer survivor, has challenged the American government to renew the "war on cancer," first initiated by President Nixon in 1971. He announced this call to action on CNN's "Saving Your Life," a program hosted by Dr. Sanjay Gupta that aired this past weekend.

Lance Armstrong, seven time Tour de France champion and cancer survivor, has challenged the American government to renew the "war on cancer," first initiated by President Nixon in 1971. He announced this call to action on CNN's "Saving Your Life," a program hosted by Dr. Sanjay Gupta that aired this past weekend.

Armstrong believes that there is strength in numbers and that by building an "army of people, hopefully to the tune of several million," recent cuts in funding cancer research will be reinstated.

While acknowledging that there are many different entities fighting for the same dollars, he made his plea that a significant portion of these dollars be directed to cancer research. "How about the disease that's quickly approaching the number one killer status in this country? I think it deserves some attention. It's not acceptable that the budget shrinks."

There is particular concern regarding research for cancer metastasis. Explains Dr. Gupta, "Metastasis is a dreaded word among cancer patients. It means the cancer has spread. Metastatic cancer kills at an alarming rate, yet there is very little being done about it. It's the most complex part of cancer research, and the least studied." How can this be?

After pouring over the nearly $5,000,000,000 annual cancer budget, Clifton Leaf, Executive Editor of Fortune Magazine, and himself a cancer survivor, thinks he has the answer. He says that less than 1% of research money is being used for studies that focus on the thing that kills … metastasis. "When this is truly the heart and soul of death from cancer, that, to me, is a little frightening," he said.

It certainly is to patients such as Randy Lopez, who was first diagnosed with Stage 3 colon cancer at the age of 35. Following surgery and chemotherapy, Randy thought he had won his fight against the disease. However, a year later it had not only returned, it had spread to his liver. He now had Stage 4 colon cancer, and was told he had as few as 5 months to live.

Randy wasn't willing to give up. "A cancer diagnosis doesn't mean you're going to die," he told CNN. "You have to get angry at the cancer, you have to be willing to fight." And fight he did. Extensive research brought the California resident to a Chicago-area hospital, where he had surgery on his liver, and then sought treatment at the Block Center for Integrative Cancer Treatment, in Evanston , Illinois . There, Randy began chemotherapy, receiving his treatments via a small, portable pump, which allows the chemo drugs to be administered at the optimal time for each patient. This process is called chronomodulated chemotherapy (or chronotherapy). Randy credits the Block Center's program of chronotherapy and diet and lifestyle changes with saving his life.

"Randy came to us with advanced disease," said Keith I. Block, MD, Medical Director of the Block Center. "He was further debilitated by his previous chemotherapy treatments. By changing his biochemical environment through food and natural medicines, and administering his chemotherapy using optimal circadian timing of his drugs, we believed we would be able to improve his outcome."

Today, Randy is 43 and cancer-free. He remains active in educating other cancer patients about the important role of diet and nutrition in the treatment of cancer, and the prevention of a recurrence. He's looking forward to many healthy years ahead.

The Block Center for Integrative Cancer Treatment, located in Evanston, Illinois, was founded in 1980 by Penny and Keith Block, MD, with a focus on treating the patient as a whole person, not simply treating the diagnosis. The Center's research-based treatment integrates an innovative approach to the best of conventional medicine with scientifically sound complementary therapies -- therapeutic nutrition, botanical and phytonutrient supplementation, prescriptive exercise, and systematic mind-body strategies, to enhance the recovery process. Block has pioneered this "middle ground" approach to cancer care and optimal health - designing a total treatment plan that is tailored to the precise needs of each patient, using a unique set of clinical and laboratory assessments. The Block Center is breaking new ground with the creation and development of Cancer Rehab as an innovative treatment modality, and is currently the only private North American medical center using chronomodulated chemotherapy. Dr. Block is a member of the National Cancer Institute's PDQ Cancer Complementary and Alternative Medicine (CAM) Editorial Board in Bethesda, MD, and Director of Integrative Medical Education at the College of Medicine at the University of Illinois, Chicago. The Block Center is a full treatment clinic, has served as a CCOP site through the National Cancer Institute, and is currently engaged in clinical cancer research with the University of Illinois and other university facilities in the United States and Israel (http://www.blockmd.com).

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