I am a two-time breast cancer survivor of 11 1/2 years with a strong faith in God, but cancer is a scary thing that can just get to you over and over again. Anticancer: A New Way of Life, spoke both to my heart and to my head. I am "in remission" (I strongly prefer a shorter word - cured). However, there's one cancer marker that keeps creeping up ever so slightly and making me lose sleep at night although there is still no clinical sign of cancer 3 years after recurrence. I tell you this not to wear my heart on my sleeve but as evidence that I have more than just a passing experience with the subject matter of this book.
This is the best nutritional resource I have found thusfar on this journey (equally useful for those of you who want to avoid the ride). Dr. Servan-Schreiber has "been there" and brings a perspective to the topic that you can't have unless you have walked the road personally. He has approached the topic of how to best equip your body for maximum health in the face of cancer in a realistic, intelligent and science-based way. The statement by Dr. Mendelsohn, President of MD Anderson, in the introduction about this book filling "an important gap in our knowledge of how patients can contribute to their own care by supplementing conventional medical treatment" really persuaded me to make the purchase.
Most important insights gained: There is something (actually a lot of somethings) that we can do to better equip our bodies to fight cancer - diet, exercise, sleep, stress relief. Finally, I have an outline of food suggestions with footnotes to the research itself and even a shopping list to eat what my body needs - no excuses. We were pretty healthy eaters to beging with (well, I was more than my hubby), but, after reading this book, I told my husband that I was taking over the cooking (and he's a fabulous cook), throwing out all white flour and sugar products, filling the fridge with colorful fruits and veggies, experimenting with a variety of alternative grains, buying healthy sweetening alternatives and eating less meat and more fish. I have gone from craving chips to craving strawberries, cherries, and even loving brussel sprouts (with lots of garlic, of course).
The key benfit has been the empowerment I have felt from making these changes. When you finish cancer treatment, you ask the Dr what can I do to help myself. The Dr's answer is usually - "go live your life." Your first thought is, "yea, that didn't work out so well the first time (or for me the 2nd either). Dr's can't prescribe food because there is no "double blind randomized human trial" behind it. If they did, they would be open to a lawsuit if things didn't turn out well. Besides that, food people aren't the ones making sales calls on the medical community, because as Dr. Servan-Schreiber says, there's no patent money in raspberries! This book provides concrete information about food science that I have found nowhere else in a single source, coupled with Servan-Schreibers insights as both an MD and a cancer patient.
So, I actually bought multiple copies of this book and gave one to my oncologist and one to my radiation oncologist, told them I was giving this a try and asked them to read it. They can't make recommendations, but they can legally say, "here's a book you might want to buy and read." I have challenged them to do just that.
My husband and I have been "eating new" for a month. I feel fabulous and he has lost 15 lbs. We are also taking more time to do things now rather than being so darn responsible and overworked - we got a new puppy and we are having a ball! Work is still there, but I am learning to "let it go." This may not change the outcome of my journey, but I can tell you that I have used the practical suggestions in this book to make some important changes that are making the journey better, more relaxed and just more fun. The "I shoulds" have become more "I want tos."
Thank you Dr. David, for opening your heart and sharing your insights. I know you say you don't believe in God, but I can see how he has used you in my life just like he did in the young man you mention in the book. You have shown that you are open to change - I think that your journey has a lot more to do with finding faith than you want to admit.