Routing Cancer with Rutabagas! No More Anger: No More Cancer! You have seen the titles like these in the bookstores promising cancer cures based on shaky research and unsustainable life styles.
Anticancer: A New Way of Life by David Servan-Schreiber, MD, PhD sounds like another book in this genre. However, the tone is more moderate. Servan-Schreiber admits that some of his suggestions are based on guesses and preliminary research, but his recommendations are the kinds of changes that can make all of us healthier.
Unlike many books in the “lifestyle-cures-cancer” genre, Dr. Sevan-Schreiber does not attack conventional cancer treatment. He encourages people to use chemotherapy, surgery, radiation, and all the other available treatments for cancer. He wants them to also add some healthy habits to help those treatments work.
Servan-Schreiber’s book relates his own cancer story with brain cancer and a relapse. He believes that all of us have cancer cells in our bodies and that healthy habits can help our immune systems keep the cancer in check. His personal story is interesting, and he explains his recommendations with their theoretical basis and statistical data where available. Ample endnotes provide data on how to find the studies he cites. For those who don’t care about all the theory and details, there is a center section with bullet-point lists of his anticancer plan.
I like that these lists recognize the complexity of modern life and use words like “reduce” and “avoid as much as possible.” He also doesn’t fall into the “blame the victim” mentality that permeates many self-help cancer books. Not everyone in the case studies he relates gets well, but they find hope and peace by changing the parts of their life they can control.
Servan-Schreiber’s anticancer plan has five parts:
- Avoiding pollutants like cigarette smoke and industrial chemicals
- Eating a balanced healthy diet rich omega-3 fats and anti-oxidant fruits and vegetables
- Exercising 20 to 30 minutes a day
- Meditating to reduce stress and increase the body’s ability to fight disease
- Resolving past traumas to reduce the negative effects of post-traumatic stress on the immune system
The details are too complex to relate in a short book review, so you will want to check out the book yourself and see if there are ideas you can use in your own life.