Customer Review

17 of 35 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars A very unhelpful book, 18 April 2009
This review is from: Everything You Need to Know to Help you Beat Cancer (Paperback)
I read this book which had been given to my girlfriend, who had breast cancer, by a well meaning friend. It's a compendium of every new age fantasy about nutrition and cancer. Some of the recommendations are for products that have actually resulted in fraud convictions. Almost none of the supposed facts about beating cancer, beyond basic common sense (eat sensibly, do some exercise, don't drink much, and minimise stress), have any evidence at all behind them. Wish all you want, but wishing won't make the cancer go away. Following the advice in this book won't make the cancer go away either - it's another form of wishing - but you will be a lot poorer when you die and will have drunk and done some really quite unpleasant things in the meantime.

If you have cancer, or you love someone who has cancer, find a better book. Look for one with endorsements from cancer support charities or where there are lots of references supporting the asserted facts. Consider whether you trust those references (personally I'd prefer references to reputable independent science journals). Cancer is a time when you should be interested in what works, not what you thought was trendy.
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Showing 1-10 of 10 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 28 Dec 2011 13:21:07 GMT
anna says:
I think this gentleman works for Big Pharma!

In reply to an earlier post on 1 Jan 2012 16:52:12 GMT
Actually I work for a UK nature conservation charity and have a healthy cynicism about the drugs companies too, hence my interest in evidence whoever is making the claims.

Btw, did you know Big Pharma owns most of the "alternative" pills and potions companies?

In reply to an earlier post on 18 Jan 2012 18:43:24 GMT
Big Pharma don't want anyone to find out about Apricot kernels and B17 so they had the FDA in the USA put a ban on importing them. The reason there is no evidence is because TPTB refuse to do trials on the said compounds found in certain foods that attack cancer cells such as vitamin B17 ie amygdalin, laetrile, nitrilosides found in apricot kernels and other fruit pips. The cancer drug trade is worth well over $70 billion in the USA alone. If you believe MP's and congressmen have no vested interest in Big Pharma's profits on orthodox cancer treatment, I'm afraid your very naive IMO and need to WAKE UP!!

In reply to an earlier post on 18 Jan 2012 18:47:41 GMT
[Deleted by Amazon on 18 Jan 2012 19:00:30 GMT]

In reply to an earlier post on 18 Jan 2012 19:43:55 GMT
Hi Simon. I don't think I mentioned MPs and being British I certainly wouldn't have thought of congressmen. I simply said that I'm interested in evidence. If there's evidence that a nature-based treatment works, I think that information should be made available, just as if something the drug companies are selling doesn't work we should be told that too. My problem with Woollam's book is that he enthusiastically promotes things that there is clear evidence do not work. He even enthusiastically talks about things that simply don't exist, like auras.

My point to Anna is that it is exactly the same companies - the ones you call big pharma - that also make and sell most of the "alternative" products. If big pharma is bad when it's peddling conventional drugs, why is the same company suddenly trustworthy and beyond criticism when it's selling herbal remedies? Which part of "I have a healthy cynicism about the drugs companies too" led you to believe I was giving them my unqualified endorsement?

I'm not on anyone's side except that of people with cancer. I just say follow the evidence and don't assume that "natural" means good any more than I'd buy a conventional drug just cos Pharmacorp is selling it. Woollams does promote the idea that natural = good (even when the evidence is that the product in question is actually really really bad for you).

How you interpret all this as naiviety about Big Pharma is beyond me. But hey, if you want to watch your loved one spend their money on remedies that don't work while they die that's your gig. Just as long as they are making an informed choice whatever they choose. My bottom line is that this book doesn't help people to make an informed choice, and that's why I don't recommend it.

In reply to an earlier post on 2 Jun 2012 19:05:14 BDT
kathy says:
But the book does give people hope, which is a precious commodity when you have just been given the estimated date of your death! I think you are a very negative man, and should stick to posting your 'reviews' on works of fiction, that dont effect peoples mental strength toward beating a terminal illness. Trust me, you will try anything!!

In reply to an earlier post on 13 Jun 2012 22:21:33 BDT
There are most certainly reasons to hope and to love and to find joy and understanding and forgiveness if you're staring cancer in the eye. I just don't see having a serious illness as an invitation to be taken advantage of.

Just a few of dozens of examples of what I find so disturbing about this book;

P35 The whole acid/alkali body thing is just fantasy. It is so poorly evidenced it's hard to trace the origin of the idea.

P40 He repeats uncritically the claim that "...some homeopaths believe they can eradicate HIV from the body". Some people claim that having sex with a virgin cures AIDS, too. Lots of dead people can attest that it doesn't work that way.

P43 Water - here in the UK drinking water quality is as tightly regulated as anywhere on the planet. The idea that it contains parasites, heavy and toxic metals, pesticide residues, radioactivity above background levels, etc, is little short of a lie.

P48 If antibiotics and anti-inflamatories were "brain poisons" I think we'd have noticed by now.

Advocating going to cranial osteopaths, homeopaths, or an acupuncturist instead of a qualified doctor is highly irresponsible. They don't cause cancer but neither do they detect or cure it. His general claim that they can find the "underlying reason for the problem" and a doctor cannot is a dangerous fantasy where life threatening conditions are concerned.

His gross prejudice against science in general and medicine in particular is illustrated further by his criminally irresponsible section against vaccines.

In what "toxic" way are vaccines prepared? He is making a serious and libellous claim, that health care programme knowingly use toxic vaccines!

P61 Acrylamides aren't "highly toxic" in the lay sense - it makes them sound like arsenic or cyanide. If crisps and chips were "highly toxic" no child would survive their first birthday party. They're just not good for you.

P69 Vitamin E contains C, H, and O atoms - made by plants from water and air. Nothing to do with soil and not reduced by "soil depletion". This is really basic pre GCSE chemistry he really ought to know. Would you choose a plumber on the basis that they know less about plumbing than your average 15 year old?

P95 Noni Juice. No evidence to support claims for anti cancer properties.
The companies promoting noni juice were taken to court by the US FDA for making unsubstantiated claims about the health benefits of their product. They were fined $100,000 and required to cease making such claims.

These are a few examples of the most basic and/or most irresponsible stuff in the book to support my very low opinion of it. I prefer my hope to have some basis in reality.

If you're reading this because you are where my loved one was a few years ago, I'm sending you my warmest thoughts. Gather those who love you close and don't bother with the ones who don't. Save your money and treat yourself with something you find beautiful instead. You ARE worth it; this book isn't! xx

Posted on 10 Mar 2013 09:17:09 GMT
K. Rose says:
If you was so against alternative therapy and pro pharma, as you clearly are, then why would you take the time to choose and read this book in the first place. Your looking highly suspicious Doc.

In reply to an earlier post on 10 Mar 2013 17:55:03 GMT
Hi K Rose

RE "pro pharma" please see above. Re Why did I choose it please see 1st line of original review - I didn't choose it, someone else did. RE "why did I read it?" please also see 1st line of original review. If your parter had cancer would you really have had so little interest in their welfare that you wouldn't have read a book like this that they'd been given?

Did you actually read the review or just assume that 1 star must = pro pharma because everything alternative must be true and good and everyone who says otherwise must be bad? That does seem to be Woollam's approach. Maybe this book is for you after all.

In reply to an earlier post on 7 Aug 2014 04:43:41 BDT
marie knox says:
Thank you so much as a nurse just starting chemo, I cam across this book in one of my many google early wakening google trawls! It madr me doubt the information I had been given by the chemo nurse the day befor and being vulnerable I decided to look at the revues thank God (or any other higher order) I found your common sense review. I have to say did some more research on the author and his ideas are very dangerous his advice on not screening women using mammogramms would perhaps put them off going....very dangerous thats how mine was picked up thankfully! so again thanks and I hope your loved one is doing ok
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