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96 of 97 people found the following review helpful
on 30 July 2012
When I was given the diagnosis of breast cancer last year, I shrank from 'researching' my condition on the internet, as that seemed to be too 'intellectual' and brain-based, and also I realised there would be an avalanche of information and opinion out there - too much for me to process. I wanted to nourish my emotional self and find out more about my body - what I could do to help myself get well.
Someone who had gone through the same as me a year or so before told me about this book, and I bought it. I found it immensely helpful.
Here we have a doctor, born and raised in France but working as a researcher in the United States, inadvertently discovering his own brain tumour and shocked to realise he is not treated as a doctor but as the totally passive recipient of a process of surgery, drugs, chemotherapy, etc.
When he asked what he could do to help his condition, he was told there was nothing he could do.
With his French/European cultural basis, this seemed to him to be quite wrong and he set out to research everything he could find about how his own choices and actions might improve his chances and his quality of life.
The book is therefore a humane and brave personal statement as well as a useful and highly informed guide to nutrition and self-care, and timely in its rejection of a passive or victim-like reaction to the diagnosis of cancer. It tackles full on the culture in which the food industry takes no responsibility for our health, and the medical/drugs industry takes no notice of nutrition as a means to acquire or maintain health.
With the help of this book I have changed my diet, kept up my morale, improved my daily life, and refused to be medicalised since my successful surgery. I am not a Luddite against medicines when they are needed, but I am deeply sceptical of a colossally powerful industry in which each pharmaceutical remedy has side-effects which then require further remedies, and each toxic treatment produces more and more horrible and debilitating side-effects.
The author gives a comprehensive reference section, including the famous 'China Syndrome' study and in fact I gave my first copy to my surgeon - I am not sure he read it, but it was my opportunity to try to change the working of the great panjandrum of modern medicine, which has become a 'sickness' service rather than a health service.
So far, I am well and would not have done anything different if I was in the same position again. For me, this book is an uplifting guide to anyone seeking an intelligent response to the dreaded diagnosis. I see it received a very good review from the Daily Mail when it was first published. It's all too easy to become part of the great sausage-machine of cancer treatment - 'cut, burn and poison' they call it (surgery, radiotherapy and chemotherapy). Meanwhile, our bodies are totally miraculous in their ability to self-regulate and heal - and anything we can do to understand what we can do to help is a good thing.
As an example: We have a diet high in dairy foods - and we are the only animal which continues to eat milk or milk products after infancy and using milk from other species, particularly cows. As a breast-cancer patient, for me, this relationship with milk has taken on a new focus. If you are eating beef or dairy products from cows fed on corn or soya instead of grass, you should know that their bodies are severely stressed on that (for them) un-natural diet, so their balance of omega-3, 6, 9 etc is wrong, and we are therefore taking in a food which is out of balance too. You can avoid that by eating only grass-fed beef products, or changing to (say) goats' milk because the farm diet of goats is less stressful to them, or avoiding beef and cow-dairy products.
The author writes lyrically about how cows were/are raised in his native Normandy - something I have seen for myself, where the animals are treated with respect and affection, and the milk, butter and cheeses produced there are works of art as much as anything else, in the artisan food sector.
I really do recommend this book. I have bought a new copy for myself and use it for browsing and for self-renewal. It has helped me out of any kind of victim-state I might have fallen into. People remarked on how resilient I was in my response to the diagnosis and treatment I had, and how well I look. This book is in large part responsible. It showed me how I could take a really active part in my own recovery, and gave me confidence when going to see my doctors and questioning them about their recommended treatments.
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109 of 113 people found the following review helpful
on 26 January 2011
This is one of the best books I have read in a long time, even though the title sounds a little tedious.

Firstly, Dr Servan-Schreiber is a research psychiatrist, so is in the medical profession himself; by chance, he discovered he had a brain tumour. He took the traditional route of surgery followed by radiotherapy/chemotherapy and recovered. Later on, he relapsed and devoted his time to finding out why. Bear in mind, he has access to published research that most complementary and alternative therapists don't.

Essentially, autopsies done on Asians show that they have just as many micro tumours as Westerners do. But they just don't develop into cancer. There are three main things which affect our chances of cancer gaining a hold: diet, exercise and stress.

Dr Servan-Schreiber stresses we should take the best that medicine has to offer us and -at the same time - take responsibility for how we live our lives. Certain foods are shown to have amazing effects, especially green tea and turmeric. Organic is best, but even if it is not available, if we eat the right foods, exercise moderately and learn to manage stress properly, this is enough to manage the "terrain" so the seeds of cancer cannot take root.

I have had treatment for a large brain tumour in the last 6 months, and this book reassures me that I can continue living without a relapse. Dr Servan-Schreiber has now done so for many years, so it can be done.

I found this book to be so inspiring and informative (and not anti-conventional treatment, as so many of these books are), that I bought a copy for my oncologist. I might well buy another one for my local doctors' surgery as well. It's a message that needs spreading.
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87 of 90 people found the following review helpful
VINE VOICEon 15 February 2009
I work in Nutrition and support people with Cancer and this is probably just one of a handful of books I recommend to patients and their families. Well written, excellent scientific support and good personal input from the Author. Too many health / Cancer books put the fear of God into patients and create additional stress and anxiety; whilst this one provides good, honest information and support. The pull out mini booklet is a useful bonus.
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15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
on 5 October 2011
A very informative read.What he says makes sense and corroborates what Michael Pollan says in his In Defence of Food and Food Rules. I am sure if we took more notice of what Dr Schreiber advocates we would all enjoy a far more healthy life. The book is not only interesting but written in words that the ordinary person can understand. It is a book I keep for ready reference.
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82 of 86 people found the following review helpful
on 17 February 2011
I think this book has to be read by everyone: doesn't matter if you are sick or not.
The title scares people, i wish it was called something like AWARENESS instead.
The author is a doctor, so he is still for any kind of modern medicine and treatment. But he tells you what you could do to make things easier.
Why doesn't everybody know that we all have cancer cells but not everyone has to get sick? A solid body is less likely to get sick than a week and stressed one.
The authors tells you what you could do to make your body stronger so that these cancer cells do not get "activated". Or if you do have cancer, what you could do to try to make things easier during these difficult times. Do all cancer patience know that green tea or shiitake mushrooms lower the side effects of Chemotherapy?
When my mother got breast cancer, her doctor did not tell us this.
Learn what food does to your body, learn the importance of thing around you and their effect on your body.
I think everyone should read this. For our own good. Some commentators complained about "it does not work" or "how do you know if it works". All suggestions in this book are natural good things. So it really CAN NOT harm to apply them to our daily stressful lives. There is no 100% medical cure for cancer today, but if we can try to make things better in other ways, why not try?
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95 of 100 people found the following review helpful
on 29 October 2008
There are many books and websites out there that claim to 'cure' cancer, that the medical profession is involved in a giant conspiracy theory to keep the drugs companies in business.

David Servan-Schrieber takes a thorough, no-nonsense approach to cancer and how it develops. As both a doctor and a cancer survivor, he looks at case studies along with his own and outlines a number of mechanisms which, whilst not proven through clinical trials, have had enough positives effects on a substantial number of sufferers to have a significance. A combination of diet (not proscriptive), good mental attitudes and exercise - have in very many cases enabled patients with advanced stages of cancer to live beyond doctors' expectations with a good quality of life. Much is common sense, but it is easy to read and offers a number of easy alterations to your life, which may help prevent the onset of cancer, or further development of existing disease. Highly recommended.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on 26 September 2010
This book is in plain english. It explains which foods may/will help you if you have been diagnosed with Cancer. None of the foods are strange or freaky - you will find them all in the supermarket.
It does not pretend it will be a miracle cure, but it will talk you through giving yourself the best chance of coping with your diagnosis and treatment.
I bought this for my mother who followed it about 80% of the time.(she didn't have any red wine because she didn't want to and she didn't think she could stomach the dark chocolate either so she didn't bother trying.) She has had all the conventional treatments - surgeries and chemo - and thinks of this diet as her insurance policy.
She is now in remission and as a total bonus her blood pressure and cholesterol are better than they have been in 20 years.
I do not write this to give anyone false hope. I understand that the psychological impact of a Cancer diagnosis is massive and I would highly recommend that you call Macmillan who are wonderful. But would I recommend this book? Yes, and I do to everyone I meet.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on 21 August 2010
I love this book. Servan-Schreiber writes in a very accessible style. Since my own cancer treatment I have read a number of books and this is one that I keep returning to. It not only offers hope for cancer sufferers, it also covers a range of topics and research. There is a great section on cancer fighting foods and diet, as well as one devoted to the mind body connection. Servan-Schreiber's views are supported with numerous citations of research and some real life stories as well. I have adopted a number of the suggestions made in the book easily and painlessly. For example, did you know that turmeric and black pepper is a powerful anti-cancer combination? I didn't until I read the book. It's not expensive so the worst that can happen if you buy it is that you don't like it as much as I do!
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on 25 November 2010
This is a fantastic book!

I ordered this book in order to learn how I could help a close person with a metastatic cancer. I ended up ordering several copies and giving them to all the people who are important in my life, even those currently in good health.

There is a lot of contents in this book on many seemingly removed topics, from chemistry to nutrition to medical phychiatry to meditation practices. This is quite an area to cover, yet David succeeds at making it very easy to read for anyone with little or no background in science. For more inquisitive minds, David makes frequent references to well documented scientific research papers. So if you have access to some of those sources (like I did), you can use this book as a great starting point for more detailed research into the topic.

There is a lot of information in this book that I already knew, having been serious about my own nutrition for the last 3 years at least. But even people well-read on the topic will find new information about the role of different components of well-being. More importantly, the author adds his own experiences of helping other cancer patients "to beat the survival curve", and does an excellent job at integrating most powerful and effective methods from the widest variety of fields.

The best part of the book is the author's style: it is a well accomplished story, based on a strict and logical approach of a scientist yet told via a prism of deeply personal experience of a cancer patient. I found my mind fully engaged while reading the book, but also could not escape tears in my eyes on more than one occasion. Those were not tears of sadness though, but the kind that you feel when you are a witness of the most pure and extraordinary beauty, strength and meaning of life.

If you have cancer or know someone who has, and even if you have nothing to do with it, buy this book now and read it the day it arrives! It will radically alter the choices you make every day.

Cancer is a lifestyle disease, and consciously changing your lifestyle to a balanced one, both from a nutrition and attitude point of view, will generate huge improvements to your health and mental well-being.

Of course, nothing is for sure in this world, it's all about probabilities. But it is these little choices we make every day that ultimately lead to how a fulfilled life we live. Make yours count!
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on 21 July 2010
This book is broad, well researched, and detailed in its coverage of dealing with a cancer diagnosis and what changes to ones lifestyle can be made to make the outlook better. What uplifts it from very good to excellent, however, is that the author has experienced cancer himself and so writes with realism and power. Having just been diagnosed with cancer myself, I was totally drawn into the book and at night resented the fact that I was too tired to read any more. Somehow, reading it, I didn't feel quite so alone; the thoughts and feelings that I had been having were quite typical. I think that for anyone with cancer, this book is a must read.

Incidentally, I also bought the book 'Foods to Fight Cancer' at the same time. Whilst its coverage on foods is more detailed than comparable sections in the Anticancer book, if you are trying to save money, you could do without the 'Foods ...' book altogether as the Anticancer book provides enough information.
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