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Anticancer: A New Way of Life (Thorndike Nonfiction) Hardcover – Large Print, 9 Sep 2008

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 507 pages
  • Publisher: Thorndike Press; Lrg edition (9 Sept. 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1410410560
  • ISBN-13: 978-1410410566
  • Product Dimensions: 21.6 x 14 x 2.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,605,309 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description


All of us have cancer cells in our bodies. But not all of us will develop cancer. This international bestseller examines what we can do every day to lower our chances of ever developing the illness, and also explains what to do to increase the chances of recovery from it. Dr David Servan-Schreiber was first confronted with cancer when he was working as a medical resident in Pittsburgh. Already a recognized pioneer in neuroscience, by his own admission David had all the arrogant and immortal confidence of a thirty-year-old over-achiever. Then he discovered he had cancer of the brain. And his life changed. Servan-Schreiber went on to research alternative medicine and became the founding director of the Centre of Integrative Medicine at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Centre. This book is the fruit of his experience in the field of cancer both as a doctor and as a patient. He alternates chapters that tell his personal story and cases he has come across, with chapters that focus on the disease and its mechanisms from a purely scientific and medical angle. He looks in particular at the relation between a body and its cancer, at the immune system, the new blood vessels necessary for cancer growth, and the roles played by environmental toxins, nutrition, emotions, and physical activity in containing cancer. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Clearly written easy to read for the non scientific reader. A very helpful book full of advice on how to change one's way of eating both for those who already have cancer and for those who may be susceptible to the disease.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) HASH(0x9b4fc5d0) out of 5 stars 263 reviews
341 of 347 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9b52e174) out of 5 stars "Enjoy the benefits of medical progress and the body's natural defenses." 2 Oct. 2008
By E. Bukowsky - Published on
Format: Hardcover
In "Anti-Cancer: A New Way of Life," French-born psychiatrist and neuroscientist Dr. David Servan-Schreiber discusses his fifteen-year battle with brain cancer. Although conventional treatments worked initially, the cancer recurred. Fortunately, he has been cancer-free for the past seven years, and he attributes his success to an anti-cancer regimen that, he asserts, boosts the body's natural defenses. Dr. Servan-Schreiber does NOT encourage cancer patients to reject their doctors' advice concerning surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation treatments. However, he does believe that there is nothing to lose and everything to gain by making changes in one's diet, level of physical activity, psychological attitude, and environment.

This book is an informative and eye-opening look at the mechanisms of cancer, explained in a way that a layman can understand. There are many helpful charts, tables, and illustrations that clarify the sometimes technical information about the latest research on the genesis and progression of cancer. The author maps out how rogue cells are nourished and conversely, how they can be starved of the nourishment that they need to multiply. Although researchers have undoubtedly made a great deal of progress, Servan-Schreiber assures us that we have a long way to go before we can declare victory over the many types of cancer that still plague mankind. In addition, he includes well-chosen quotations from literature (such as Tolstoy's "The Death of Ivan Ilyich"), philosophy, and other physicians and scientists to illustrate his points, some of which deal with our fear of dying without having lived a full and meaningful life.

"Anti-Cancer" is a personal, touching, instructive, and thought-provoking. Whether or not the reader is interested in adopting the author's recommendations concerning diet, exercise, meditation, and other lifestyle changes, no one who completes this book will ever think about cancer or about the human body in quite the same way. Servan-Schreiber is not a new-age charlatan who advocates far-out therapies. Everything that he suggests is based on solid and well-documented research, and he includes numerous citations from scientific journals.

Although no one wants to confront a fatal illness, Servan-Schreiber contends that his battle with cancer has had a positive aspect. "By exposing life's brevity, a diagnosis of cancer can restore life's true flavor." Forced for the first time to look into his soul and evaluate his approach to living, he realized that he had been caught up in a treadmill that allowed him little time to appreciate the importance of mind-body equilibrium, inner peace, relationships with loved ones, and personal fulfillment. Everyone, no matter what the state of his or her health, can benefit from this stimulating and provocative work.
218 of 222 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9b52e2c4) out of 5 stars Connecting the Dots 24 Oct. 2008
By Rita Arditti - Published on
Format: Hardcover
A REVIEW OF ANTICANCER: A NEW WAY OF LIFE by David Servan-Schreiber, MD, Ph.D.
Viking Penguin, 2008. 258 pages. Hardcover, $25.95.

Mind and heart come together in this remarkable book, making it a must read. As a person living with cancer I found it impossible to put down. Servan-Schreiber, a physician and neuroscience researcher, co-founder of the Center for Integrative Medicine at the University of Pittsburgh was diagnosed with brain cancer when he was 31 years old, received treatment and went into remission. Eventually though, he had a recurrence. After the recurrence he started to look into natural approaches to prevent or help treat cancer. The book is both a memoir and a riveting journey through recent developments in the ideas about cancer. We learn about his personal story and how he slowly transformed himself from a laboratory scientist mainly interested in writing papers into a proponent of an integrative approach to cancer treatment who is keenly interested in human beings. He does a marvelous job of connecting the dots in widely dispersed areas of knowledge-all relevant to his interest in cancer and our natural defense mechanisms.

Key ideas presented are: 1) everybody has cancer cells in their bodies, but not everybody develops cancer; 2) we must include the concept of "terrain," our whole being, in any discussion about cancer; and 3) at this point in history, we cannot attempt to deal with cancer without the tools of conventional Western medicine. Based on these ideas, he presents an updated view on cancer growth and how to mobilize our vital mechanisms and use the resources of the body to defend ourselves.

Chapter 4, "Cancer's Weaknesses," presents some of the current thinking about the immune system, inflammation, and angiogenesis. He discusses "natural killer" cells (NK cells), white blood cells that attack cancer cells, and activate their self-destruction. The more active NK cells are the more they can stop tumor's growth. It follows that we must do all we can to activate them through a healthy diet, clean environment, physical exercise, and stress reducing activities.
The discussion on inflammation is clear and concise. Inflammation is the normal process that our bodies use to repair tissues after a wound. But, as it turns out, inflammation can be diverted to promote cancer growth, as if cancer were the outcome of a wound repair mechanism gone wrong. Cancer cells need to produce inflammation to sustain their growth and block the natural process of apoptosis-the suicide of cells. As Servan-Schreiber aptly puts it "Thanks to the inflammation they create they infiltrate neighboring tissues, slip into the bloodstream, migrate, and establish remote colonies called metastases" (page 37). Dietary imbalance in the ratio of essential fatty acids has led us to an incredibly higher consumption of omega-6s oils compared to omega-3s, which increases inflammation.
Judah Folkman was a surgeon whose great contribution to cancer research was to highlight angiogenesis, the fact that tumors need new capillaries to feed themselves and expand. Tumors hijack blood vessels by producing a chemical substance that attracts them and stimulates them to grow new branches. Though it took quite a while for Folkman's ideas to be accepted, how to block angiogenesis is now one of the central areas of cancer research. There are some foods, spices, and herbs that reduce angiogenesis and diminishing inflammation will also prevent new vessel growth.
Servan-Schreiber gives very practical suggestions about these three areas of knowledge, so that we can stimulate our defense mechanisms, while receiving conventional treatment. Just this chapter is worth the price of the book!

In discussing the contribution of the environment to the cancer epidemic, Servan-Schreiber writes about the typical Western diet, the changes in farming and raising animals during the last century, and the chemical contamination of our planet since the forties. Sugar and white flours dominate our diet and raise rapidly the level of glucose. Insulin and IGF-1 (insulin Growth Factor 1, a powerful growth hormone) are released to allow glucose to enter cells. Insulin and IGF1 also promote inflammation. He argues convincingly that we should eliminate sugar and white flour from our diet.
There is a detailed section about anticancer foods in daily practice. Servan-Schreiber has been influenced by the work of Richard Béliveau, at the University of Montreal. Béliveau, a cancer biologist working in medical pharmacology for twenty years, shifted to working on diet, through a series of interesting circumstances that I won't tell you about here. Read the book! It is a fascinating story and it has led to the concept of anticancer foods, like phytochemicals, components of some vegetables/fruits, which have antimicrobial, antifungal, insecticidal, and antioxidants properties. They also act as detoxifiers of the body. There is also a wonderful description of the research on traditional spices, like turmeric, by Professor Bharat Aggarwal at the M.D. Anderson Cancer Research Center. A key substance called nuclear factor-kappa B (NF-kappaB) is secreted by tumor cells, it promotes cancer cell growth and spread. The whole pharmaceutical industry is trying to find out drugs that inhibit NF-kappaB. Servan-Schreiber points out that two substances that do so are available easily, catechins, found in green tea and resveratrol, found in red wine. And as it happens, turmeric is also an antagonist to NF-kappaB. He also states that since the pharmaceutical industry and the food industry are not interested in any changes we badly need "... public institutions and foundations to finance human studies on the anticancer benefits of food" (page 115). Indeed!

The book emphasizes the importance of a healthy mindset that will stimulate the will to live in cancer patients and the need to find support, to deal with emotions, and to find ways to relieve stress. There is a lot of work going on about the link between psychological factors and the immune system. White blood cells can detect the presence of stress hormones and react according to the levels of these hormones in the bloodstream by releasing inflammatory substances. Natural killer cells can be blocked by stress hormones, and become passive instead of reacting to viruses or cancer cells. Feelings of helplessness can influence directly our immune system. Meditation, yoga, and other practices that develop awareness and attention to the present moment can help the body's harmonious functioning and in so doing stimulate the life force that keeps us healthy. Our bodies need touch and physical exercise, we can benefit from massage, and we must increase our sense of connection with others that it is so important to give meaning and purpose to our lives. A holistic approach needs to take all the dimensions of living into consideration and Servan-Schreiber pushes us to leave nothing out of the picture and to pay attention to our inner selves so that we can live fully and gracefully.

The book ends by stressing three points: the importance of our "terrain," the effects of awareness, and the synergy of natural forces. This last point is important. The body is a system in equilibrium, each function interacts with all the others. If we just change one of these functions the whole is affected. So, we can start with one thing, diet, psychological work, whatever makes sense to us and nourishes the will to live. Awareness in one area will automatically lead to progress in others, and little by little, the equilibrium will shift to greater health and will make changes easier. Finally, he addresses an important point, the worry that some oncologists have "not to give false hope." He turns this idea around, and points out that "...this comes down to restricting ourselves to a conception of medicine that withholds the power every one of us has to take charge of ourselves. As if we couldn't do anything to protect ourselves actively against cancer- before and after the disease. Encouraging this passivity creates a culture of hopelessness" (page 203).

One reservation that I have about the book is that the discussion about chemical contamination of the environment seems weak in comparison to the depth with which other topics are discussed. This is an area where individually we can do very little. This needs to be addressed at a system level, and in fact it is beginning to happen. For instance, in Massachusetts, the Alliance for a Healthy Tomorrow, a coalition of over 160 organizations, has relentlessly pursued legislation that will require the use of Safer Alternatives, when feasible, to dangerous chemicals. This year, the Senate voted unanimously in support of this but the House did not get to vote. The law will be introduced again in the 2009 legislative session. Keep an eye on it.

The book has eight pages in color on glossy paper that summarize visually the information about foods, inflammation, contamination in fruits and vegetables, effects of certain foods on specific cancers, detoxification, and an anticancer shopping list. And a list of ten precautions for cell phone use. Very useful!

If you want to take a look at Servan-Schreiber go to [....] and look for the video Anticancer, in English. He conveys intelligence and warmth. I highly recommend this book for everybody.

Rita Arditti
184 of 191 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9bf1ae10) out of 5 stars A Must-Read for Everyone! 7 Sept. 2008
By Jomana Papillo - Published on
Format: Hardcover
Being a mom of two small children, I rarely have time to read a book from start to finish without interruption. However, the day I bought this book I had read 40 pages in one sitting and only put it down because the hours sped past midnight before I knew it! I'm very impressed with how Dr. Servan-Schreiber is able to break down extremely complex subjects in cellular and molecular biology in such a way that everyone can understand them. Cancer runs in my family, so I'm always trying to stay current on the science of living healthfully in order to avoid it. This book explains vital information about how to do that. It thoroghly describes what cancer is, how it behaves, and what things are necessary for it to grow. Then Dr. Servan-Schreiber shows you how to deprive a cancer of those things, thus avoiding mestasteses and prolonging life.

Given the cancer epidemic we are currently experiencing in the West, I truly believe this is an important book for everyone to read. You won't regret buying this one.
74 of 74 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9b52e480) out of 5 stars Why Don't We All Get Cancer? 29 Sept. 2008
By Kelly Jadon - Published on
Format: Hardcover
From: [...]

Book Review: Anticancer: A New Way of Life (Viking, 2008) by David Servan-Schreiber

Both an informational book and an autobiography, Anticancer begins with the premise that all of us have cancer in our bodies, but not all of us will develop the disease. The author, David Servan-Schreiber tells his story of how he discovered his own brain cancer while testing an MRI machine, how he felt about his diagnosis, and what issues he faced. This autobiography is truly fascinating as Servan-Schreiber lowers the privacy walls surrounding his life, to allow us in. He has been a cancer survivor for 16 years. David Servan-Schreiber, MD, PhD, is a clinical professor of psychiatry at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine and cofounder of the Center for Integrative Medicine.

As a physician who has also been a patient himself, Servan-Schreiber wants the West to know what the recent discoveries in the world of cancer research are and how they can benefit us. The major points of Anticancer:

* The Western diet creates conditions for the disease.
* Our bodies are making defective cells all of the time.
* Each of us also has a body designed to fight the process of tumor development.
* Sugar and stress do feed cancer.
* There are physical effects from feelings of helplessness and unhealed wounds which affect our ability to restore our health.

Benefits of reading Anticancer: Servan-Schreiber explains:

* How to find the right blend of traditional and alternative care
* How to minimize environmental toxins
* How to reap the benefits of exercise, yoga, and meditation
* How to learn about ways to achieve life balance and good nutrition to combat it
* How to develop a science-based anticancer diet

Servan-Schreiber places a major emphasis on our food. Many cancer patients, relying on their oncologists' advice, believe that they can eat whatever they wish, thinking it will have no bearing on their wellness. Servan-Schreiber states that this simply isn't true. He outlines the importance of food and its synergy with the body showing the research behind eating well. Key topics include refined sugars, red meat, fats, organic, garlic, turmeric, and toxins.

Also included within the book's middle is an Anticancer Action Plan, for quick reference. The Plan highlights foods to eat regularly and is well designed. (The number one vegetable is garlic.)

Anticancer also discusses how to avoid toxins, the need for exercise, how our mind and body works together, how to overcome fear, talking about death, and notes the recent research into cell phone risks.

Anticancer should be read by everyone. It is a tool for cancer prevention, and a wellness guide for those living with the disease. Anticancer offers considerable scientific-backed research to support its lifetime living plan. The only negative--it wasn't published quickly enough. I have personally recommended this book to others who live with cancer.

5 Stars
59 of 59 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9b52e69c) out of 5 stars Traveling on the same path... 23 Sept. 2008
By Night Flight - Published on
Format: Hardcover
When I stumbled upon this book I was simply amazed to read that the author had asked the same questions I asked my doctors and he received the same answers I got which was "there is nothing you can do for yourself". Grrr...

I searched and searched the internet for answers as I wanted to fight my cancer or at the very least make a big improvement in my survivability. In time I learned to change my diet drastically (adding omega-3 via flaxseed oil), exercise daily, get out into the Sun, and learn to meditate to reduce stress. I now follow the Budwig protocol which basically agrees with the author's suggestions.

I wish I had found this book sooner as it would have shortened my search for answers. Nonetheless, I love the book and highly recommend it to everyone who needs a good dose of reality about cancer.
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