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David Servan-Schreiber, M.D., Ph.D, is a clinical professor of psychiatry at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine and cofounder of the Centre for Integrative Medicine at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Centre. He's lectured at leading international academic centres, including Stanford, Columbia, Cornell and Cambridge Universities. His first book The Instinct to Heal was an international bestseller and France's bestselling non-fiction book of the year in 2004, selling over 600,000 copies in the trade edition alone. His latest book is Anticancer (2008).
It came as a total shock when I found out I had a brain tumor in October, 2009. I am a non-smoker, a vegetarian, I've always been slim and I exercised 3-4 days a week. I'd seen this book before my diagnosis and thought it looked good, but didn't buy it. I thought I didn't need it.
Once I realized the author also had brain cancer and had been able to keep it in check for over 15 years through diet and other means, I knew this was the book for me. If you want to learn how to do something, go to someone who has done it! So I bought the book. It's an easy read and is backed up by scientific research and 28 pages of footnotes in case you want to learn more. The book is very specific in its recommendations.
I took the plunge around Christmas, 2009 and have been following the diet ever since. I underwent a year of chemotherapy treatments at the same time. During that time I periodically had MRI's that showed the tumor was shrinking. The tumor has continued to shrink even after I finished chemotherapy in January, 2011, so the diet change and supplements are having the intended effect.
Reading this book and changing what I eat has been incredibly empowering for me. I thought I knew a lot about nutrition before, but I learned some important things from Dr. Servan-Schreiber:
- Vegetables to eat daily (broccoli, cauliflower, brussel sprouts, all cabbages) - Good oils to use (olive and canola) - Spices to add (garlic, ginger, turmeric)
I also learned some sobering facts about sugar (see page 61):
"The German biologist Otto Heinrick Warburg won the Nobel Prize in medicine for his discovery that the metabolism of malignant tumors is largely dependent on glucose consumption. (Glucose is the form of digested sugar in the body.Read more ›
I am a two-time breast cancer survivor of 11 1/2 years with a strong faith in God, but cancer is a scary thing that can just get to you over and over again. Anticancer: A New Way of Life, spoke both to my heart and to my head. I am "in remission" (I strongly prefer a shorter word - cured). However, there's one cancer marker that keeps creeping up ever so slightly and making me lose sleep at night although there is still no clinical sign of cancer 3 years after recurrence. I tell you this not to wear my heart on my sleeve but as evidence that I have more than just a passing experience with the subject matter of this book.
This is the best nutritional resource I have found thusfar on this journey (equally useful for those of you who want to avoid the ride). Dr. Servan-Schreiber has "been there" and brings a perspective to the topic that you can't have unless you have walked the road personally. He has approached the topic of how to best equip your body for maximum health in the face of cancer in a realistic, intelligent and science-based way. The statement by Dr. Mendelsohn, President of MD Anderson, in the introduction about this book filling "an important gap in our knowledge of how patients can contribute to their own care by supplementing conventional medical treatment" really persuaded me to make the purchase.
Most important insights gained: There is something (actually a lot of somethings) that we can do to better equip our bodies to fight cancer - diet, exercise, sleep, stress relief. Finally, I have an outline of food suggestions with footnotes to the research itself and even a shopping list to eat what my body needs - no excuses.Read more ›
The shame about David Servan-Schreiber's book "Anticancer" is that if you don't have cancer, you're unlikely to read it.
It's a shame because the book's recommendations for lifestyle changes apply to everyone, whether you're battling cancer or not.
Besides, everyone has cancer cells and everyone is bombarded with carcinogenics, so it behooves us to do all we can to protect our health in the face of these internal and external threats.
Servan-Schreiber covers an enormous amount of ground in 220 pages, dispensing advice in the areas of diet, meditation, spirituality, exercise, and even cell phone use (thank you, Devra Davis).
But only on the topic of diet and nutrition does he really go into depth, and here even people well-read on the topic might learn a thing or two. For instance, did you know that cooked tomatoes offer more lycopene, especially when they're cooked in olive oil?
"Anticancer," though, is mainly a repackaging and compiling of some of the most common-sense ideas out there.
Unfortunately, most people never stop to consider these ideas, which explains why we have epidemics of cancer, diabetes and obesity in our country, not to mention of personal and family dysfunction.
As a medical oncologist, I thoroughly enjoy this book! The story is compelling that it comes from a cancer survivor and an outstanding scientist who really put together wonderful information in regard to life style management to fight cancer. The information provided is not from one's wild imagination but with sound scientific data. This is what we were desperately lacking in oncology practice for so long. It is not only a good read for cancer patients and care providers, also a wonderful book for anyone who cares about a healthy life style to prevent diseases in general. I have bought many copies for colleagues and friends. I recommend this book highly to all my patients!