I finished Anticancer: A New Way of Life by David Servan-Schreiber, MD, PhD in about two days. I found it fascinating: what it did cover, and what it didn’t even mention.
First, it didn’t mention any specific alternative cancer treatments, such as the Macrobiotic diet or the Budwig diet. On the other hand, what it did cover was extensive: summaries of research studies, information about nutrition and cancer, mind/body research and the resistance of Western doctors to any cancer treatment beyond chemotherapy, radiation and pharmaceuticals.
If you want to read about Dr. Servan-Schreiber’s careful summaries of recent research and how they provide new hope for cancer patients, I recommend you read the book. He does give an analogy to the World War II battle of Stalingrad as a way to understand new approaches to cancer treatment. At Stalingrad, instead of attacking the powerful German army directly, the Russian army attacked the German supply lines, thus enabling the beginning of the retreat of the Nazi cancer. A Navy surgeon named Dr. Judah Folkman paved the way for attacking the supply lines of cancer in the human body.
One of the best parts of the books is Dr. Servan-Schreiber’s commentary on why so many oncologists are reluctant to refer to nutrition or diet as part of their practice. Here are a few of his notes:
- Western doctors receive little or no training in nutrition.
- Evidence-based medicine: “If it were true, we’d know about it.”
- “If there’s a problem, there’s a drug.”
- “People don’t want to change. It’s useless to tell them that.”
About doctors needing evidence-based medicine and why the nutrition studies don’t exist:
It is not financially feasible to invest such sums [as do the pharmaceuticals in drug research] in demonstrating the usefulness of broccoli, raspberries or green tea, because they can’t be patented and their sale will never cover the cost of the original investment… I am convinced there is no need to wait for such large-scale results before beginning to include anticancer foods in one’s diet.
As some of the best parts of the book are some nutritional and other anticancer suggestions, I’ll save those for later posts. Stay tuned.
Other books I would like to read:
The China Study: The Most Comprehensive Study of Nutrition Ever Conducted
by T. Colin Campbell (recommended by my friend H.)
Foods to Fight Cancer: Essential foods to help prevent cancer
by Dr. Richard Beliveau (discussed in the Anticancer book)
A book I previously reviewed that is mentioned in the Anticancer book:
A Secret History of the War on Cancer by Devra Davis