Note: I'm interviewing members of the Nutritional Oncology Research Institute (NORI) support group.
Cancer strikes anyone regardless of profession, background, race or age. It can strike a model and yoga teacher in their 20s (Candice-Marie Fox) or a business executive in his late 60s (Gene Slattery). Cancer struck Blaine LeCesne, Associate Dean of Diversity, Education and Inclusion and Professor of Law at Loyola Law School in New Orleans in his mid-60s.
The Columbia University (both JD and BA) graduate received a diagnosis of prostate cancer with a Gleason score of 4+3 in May 2021. Most prostate cancers have cells of different grades. Grade 1 means the cells look normal and grade 10 means the cells look very different from normal where they are poorly differentiated. The first number indicates how abnormal most of the cells look with 4 being intermediate and unfavorable. The second number indicates how abnormal the remaining cells look. In the Gleason scoring system a 4+3 is worse than a 3+4 because the 4 in 4+3 shows that most of the cells look intermediate and unfavorable.
Blaine’s doctors told him he must start treatment, but Blaine wanted to dive into research and avoid the invasive and toxic treatments he was being offered: surgery, radiation, and androgen deprivation. All of these treatments can cause pain, incontinence (both urine and bowel), inflammation, erectile dysfunction, and secondary cancer. “Surgical or chemical castration and potential urinary and bowel incontinence for the rest of your life?” Blaine said, “No thank you.” He adds, “Even with the best guided radiation, a high percent of people have symptoms. I love my doctor: a sweet, kind man but he was not trained in natural alternative cancer treatments.”
Blaine told his urologist, “I’m not going to follow your suggested treatments because I think there’s another way,” and his urologist supported him as best he could. Although Blaine was already 80 percent vegetarian, he ate generous amounts of eggs and fish and considered himself a foodie and chef. Blaine learned about the Nutritional Oncology Research Institute (NORI) low-methionine diet and decided that changing his diet was a better choice than invasive therapies.
When asked about the reaction of his family and friends to his decisions, Blaine says, “Some pleaded with me to listen to the doctor and get treatment. Others listened and supported me but were skeptical.”
A favorite and trusted teacher (as shown by his awards from the Student Bar Association), Blaine felt he wasn’t in immediate danger. He considered his Gleason score to be more like a “check engine” light and he would be under active surveillance. Five weeks after his cancer diagnosis, Blaine lost his son in an accident. Grief devastated him so he turned to many ways to heal: meditation, qi gong (Chinese energy work), breath work, Reiki (energy healing), and reflexology (massage of points on the feet, hands, and ears). These therapies might have also helped control his cancer in that he was learning to activate his parasympathetic system to promote overall healing.
Blaine emphasizes that "meditation has been a transformative experience" for him both spiritually and metabolically. He believes it is key to controlling the spread of any cancer.
Blaine LeCesne's cancer at a glance
Age at diagnosis: 65
Surgery, radiation, chemo, drugs: None
Treatments: low-methionine plant-based diet, nutraceuticals, methioninase
Tracking strategies: MRIs (3 Tesla) every 6 months, but may switch to color doppler ultrasound
Blaine says, “the low-methionine diet is conceptually simple and made sense.” Blaine starved the cancer of what it needed and the results followed. In July 2021, Blaine began the Nutritional Oncology Research Institute (NORI) protocol and six weeks later, his prostate-specific antigen (PSA) test dropped from 10 to 8.7, a statistically significant drop. On top of that, his Prostate Imaging Reporting and Data System (PI-RADS) score taken from his magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) went from high (PI-RADS 4) to intermediate and undetermined (PI-RADS 3). The MRI showed that his lesions had shrunk a bit as well.
The urologist agreed that Blaine, who felt great, was on the right track. The New Orleans, Louisiana foodie in Blaine is still there. He often starts his day with a green smoothie made of spinach or kale with frozen banana, lemon and ginger powder or a giant bowl of fruit with his favorite being pineapple. For lunch, he munches on salads with lots of cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli, cauliflower, or brussel sprouts with mustard dipping sauce. He adds a half cup of probiotics like sauerkraut or kimchi. In the evening, Blaine relaxes with a big salad and a vegetable soup or stew with sweet potato, turnip, squash or rutabaga. He now has a whole new world of foods to try, recipes to discover, and culinary adventures to explore.