806 of 811 people found the following review helpful
on February 12, 2011
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.) In fact the PET scan commonly used to detect cancer simply measures the areas in the body that consume the most glucose. If a particular area stands out because it consumes too much sugar, cancer is very likely the cause."
I never thought I could kick the sugar habit, but after the first two weeks it wasn't hard. I found substitutes to feed my sweet tooth - berries, fruits, cinnamon, stevia, and baker's chocolate (which is unsweetened) with any of the above.
If you have the right motivation I believe you can do just about anything. My plan is to live well and long!
March 25, 2015 - It has been 5 1/2 years since my original diagnosis. My latest MRI shows no enhancement (a signal of cancer growth) and the tumor continues to slowly get smaller. I still eat an anticancer diet (very low in sugar, high in green vegetables). I've changed my lifestyle in other ways too, but diet and supplements are very key for me.
I keep doing this for a few reasons:
1. The diet works.
My MRI images show a dramatic decrease in the size of the brain tumor even after I completed a year of chemotherapy in January, 2011. Tumor size went from 5.1 x 5.9 cm in 2009 to less than 2 x 3 cm in 2014 WITHOUT SURGERY.
2. I needed to do something tangible in between MRI appointments so I felt like I had some control over my health. Now I only feel anxious for a few days before each MRI rather than thinking about it all the time and worrying. I can concentrate on other things besides my health and for this, I am very grateful.
3. I actually like the food I eat, so it's no hardship. I still have sugar cravings and eat more dark chocolate and nuts that I should, but I'm working on it.... sigh. Drinking green smoothies and eating fruits fill that need for something sweet without raising my blood sugar too much.
310 of 319 people found the following review helpful
on June 3, 2011
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. We were pretty healthy eaters to beging with (well, I was more than my hubby), but, after reading this book, I told my husband that I was taking over the cooking (and he's a fabulous cook), throwing out all white flour and sugar products, filling the fridge with colorful fruits and veggies, experimenting with a variety of alternative grains, buying healthy sweetening alternatives and eating less meat and more fish. I have gone from craving chips to craving strawberries, cherries, and even loving brussel sprouts (with lots of garlic, of course).
The key benfit has been the empowerment I have felt from making these changes. When you finish cancer treatment, you ask the Dr what can I do to help myself. The Dr's answer is usually - "go live your life." Your first thought is, "yea, that didn't work out so well the first time (or for me the 2nd either). Dr's can't prescribe food because there is no "double blind randomized human trial" behind it. If they did, they would be open to a lawsuit if things didn't turn out well. Besides that, food people aren't the ones making sales calls on the medical community, because as Dr. Servan-Schreiber says, there's no patent money in raspberries! This book provides concrete information about food science that I have found nowhere else in a single source, coupled with Servan-Schreibers insights as both an MD and a cancer patient.
So, I actually bought multiple copies of this book and gave one to my oncologist and one to my radiation oncologist, told them I was giving this a try and asked them to read it. They can't make recommendations, but they can legally say, "here's a book you might want to buy and read." I have challenged them to do just that.
My husband and I have been "eating new" for a month. I feel fabulous and he has lost 15 lbs. We are also taking more time to do things now rather than being so darn responsible and overworked - we got a new puppy and we are having a ball! Work is still there, but I am learning to "let it go." This may not change the outcome of my journey, but I can tell you that I have used the practical suggestions in this book to make some important changes that are making the journey better, more relaxed and just more fun. The "I shoulds" have become more "I want tos."
Thank you Dr. David, for opening your heart and sharing your insights. I know you say you don't believe in God, but I can see how he has used you in my life just like he did in the young man you mention in the book. You have shown that you are open to change - I think that your journey has a lot more to do with finding faith than you want to admit.
208 of 218 people found the following review helpful
on November 24, 2010
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.
159 of 173 people found the following review helpful
on March 7, 2010
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!
53 of 58 people found the following review helpful
on October 17, 2011
Steve Jobs' pancreatic cancer was cured in 1994. It came back and the results were different. John Edwards' wife Elizabeth had her breast cancer cured. She later died of breast cancer. The author of this book is an MD and his cancer was cured by MDs. But then it camce back.
So then he went on to learn all that he could about how lifestyle affects cancer and changed his lifestyle. Then he waited 15 years of being free before writing this book. This is an excellent book with a wealth of information. Each little bit of information lowers your chances of getting cancer and it all adds up fast.
46 of 52 people found the following review helpful
on February 19, 2010
I was looking for the book by a guest on Oprah who had cancer and had changed the progress of cancer through her diet. I found the book, but she had changed the format and didn't include any recipes or details, just her journey. So I kept looking and found this book. It's a find that changed my hubby's lifespan and one I wish I had found before.
My husband had been diagnosed with cancer 9 months previously, and after chemo, radiation and surgery in September, it was found to be terminal, and I was told he would not live til Christmas. I bought the book to help him, and made all his meals from recipes in the book, and he loved them. Instead of not living to see Christmas, he was out snowblowing in February and March, happy. He was still losing weight and his condition not getting any better, but he was still comfortable and had energy.
I credit this book with that. My hubby had esophageal cancer, and eating sometimes was hard, but he managed to eat everything I gave him, and even asked for seconds. It was chemo that killed him at the end of April, probably given to him by his oncologist because he was tired of hearing "I'm still here".
The recipes are tasty, and most of the recipes are fairly easy to make. Some recipes are very involved and require a lot of prep work, but if you buy yourself a coffee grinder for spices you will need to mash up, you will be well on your way.
I still make recipes from the book, and some are great enough to be served as meals for guests, and you don't have to tell them it's good for them.
32 of 35 people found the following review helpful
on January 17, 2012
Like some other review said, it is almost like a collection of common anti-cancer things out there put into one place. It does contain things (food, types of containers, shampoos, chemicals, etc) to avoid and what you can use to replace it. The center color insert is great, it has a chart and a scale of food from most contaminated (pesticides and other chemicals) to least, this helped us transition to organic foods. You can start by switch to organic with the most contaminated food and with the less contaminated, you can still get the cheaper, non-organic stuff.
This book still follows the traditional idea that fish and chicken is good for you compared to red meat, which we have come to learn may not necessarily be true. Since getting the book, we have switched to a plant based whole foods diet and about 90% organic. (Some things are just hard to find in organic)
This is a good book with good information, but I would also recommend investigating in a vegan, raw, or plant base whole foods diet. Some good resources I have found are the movies Healing Cancer From Inside Out - 2nd Edition and Eating - 3rd Edition with Mike Anderson. There is also the Gerson therapy and diet: The Gerson Miracle,The Beautiful Truth: The World's Simplest Cure for Cancer, and Dying to Have Known: The Evidence Behind Natural Healing.
17 of 17 people found the following review helpful
on July 11, 2011
A relative's oncologist recommended this book to us when the relative was being treated for prostate cancer and said that following the diet recommendations in it would increase his chances of not having a recurrence by up to 50%. We were already swayed in that direction after reading The China Study. The China Study tells you what not to eat, while Anticancer tells you what you should eat. The ideas are senstible and backed by science, while the presentation is easy to read and follow. There's a nice glossy section that summarizes recommendations.
15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
on August 21, 2011
For a cancer patient, one of the greatest frustrations is the feeling of helplessness. After reading "Anti Cancer", both my husband and I had a new lease on our job - using food, exercise and meditation to enhance, perhaps potentiate, the treatments used.
This is a very positive, uplifting book. We highly recommend it.
45 of 53 people found the following review helpful
on May 18, 2010
It was no accident that I went to Borders for another book and came across this book, which is the answer to my prayers. I will not add much to the incredibly thoughtful and informational reviews that have been written with the following exceptions:
Kudos to those of you who have followed Dr. Servan-Schreiber's protocols and have seen any measure of success in your cancer journey and have shared it in your reviews. There is never too much hope.
I will be checking back here in four months because my 85 year old mother has had a reoccurance of her lung cancer but her oncologist has recommended a wait and see and check again in four months with a PET scan. Needless to say, I have no intention of taking a "wait and see" attitude but instead am in the process of implementing Dr. S-S's protocols with her. Because at least for four months there will be no conventional treatment, it should be an interesting experiment. I am not hoping for a cure, but simply no further growth.
I am inspired by two particular passages in the book: The Battle of Stalingrad story and the really incredible cancer statistics in India. No, I'm going to be really mean and not tell you the page numbers because you need to buy and read the whole book.
I would like to finish by saying thank you again to Dr. S-S in sharing his experience, strength, and hope. There is no "magic bullet" for a cancer cure but the closest we can come is the synergy of multiple approaches to attacking this fiend. And by the way, my husband died of multiple myeloma in 2007 and I intend to fight with all my strength to see that cancer doesn't take another family member.