One in four people in the Westerner world will die of cancer, which makes it a popular subject these days. On Lulu.com you can buy over 700 books on cancer. A search on Amazon brings up almost 250,000 results (some, no doubt, having to do with horoscopes). Still, there are a few titles that don’t exist, but should:
Chemosabe: Famous People Who Beat Cancer – Jay Silverheels (aka Tonto)
What’s In It For Me? Using Cancer To Get Your Way – Dennis Leary
Born Under the Wrong Sign: Avoid Cancer By Changing Your Birthday – Jeanne Dixon
Procrastinator’s Guide To Cancer – Tom DeLay
Cancer: Miracle Cure For Old Age – Dr. Al Zheimer
The Secret Life Of Angiogenesis Inhibitors – Sue Monk Kid
Outwitting Your Oncologist – Scott (Deadbeat) Monteith (Based on the true story of a patient whose oncologist gave him six months to live. When Scott couldn’t pay his bill, the doctor gave him another six months.)
Then there are the books on specific cancers:
Lymphoma: The Weight-Loss Cure “They” Don’t Want You To Know About – Kevin Trudeau
Tapeworms and Colon Cancer – J. Wentworth Wigglebottom
Simply Bursting: Relief From Bladder Cancer – April Showers
Licking Tongue Cancer – Professor Grievous Maw
The Pocket Guide To Testicular Cancer – Lance Armstrong
Coming To Grips With Breast Cancer: A Hands-On Approach – Dr. Joy Mounds
The best book I’ve read on the subject to date is Anticancer: A New Way of Life by David Servan-Schreiber.
After undergoing chemotherapy and surgery for brain cancer, Servan-Schreiber, a clinical professor of psychiatry at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, asked his oncologist if any lifestyle changes would prevent a relapse; the answer was no. Certain this was wrong, Servan-Schreiber spent months researching a mass of scientific data on natural defenses against cancer. After a lucid introduction to cancer and its causes, he points out studies indicating that a poor diet, unhealthy habits (like smoking), some hormones, and environmental toxins increase risk. – Publishers Weekly
The recent review in the New York Times by Abigail Zuger, MD misses the mark:
It is worthy of the finest in nighttime television infomercials, where among all the financial advisers, kitchen gadget guys and acne specialists is one with a story so personal, heartfelt and sensible that you suddenly need exactly what he has to sell. Not that Dr. Servan-Schreiber is peddling a product (other than his book). Rather, it is a way of life he wants you to buy into, a guide to staying cancer-free (or, if he has reached you too late, fighting off your cancer) by paying careful attention to what you eat and how you behave.
The Anticancer approach isn’t new, but with his medical training and personal experience, Servan-Schreiber is in a unique position to teach from the head and the heart. He doesn’t disparage conventional medicine, as many alternative advocates do, nor does he dismiss the vast amount of data on the benefits of nutritional and lifestyle changes.
I’ll include some of my favorite passages in a future post.