- Series: Alternative Medicine Definative Guide
- Hardcover: 576 pages
- Publisher: Celestial Arts; 2 edition (June 1, 2007)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1587612801
- ISBN-13: 978-1587612800
- Product Dimensions: 6.2 x 1.6 x 9.2 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 3.4 out of 5 stars See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #182,267 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Alternative Medicine Magazine's Definitive Guide to Cancer: An Integrated Approach to Prevention, Treatment, and Healing (Alternative Medicine Definative Guide) Hardcover – June 1, 2007
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From the Publisher
* An extensively revised and updated second edition of Alternative Medicine magazine's definitive guide to integrative cancer prevention and treatment.
* Includes current cancer research, expert interviews, and real-life stories from practitioners, patients, and caregivers.
* Peer reviewed by an editorial board of integrative practitioners.
* The American Cancer Society reports that one in four Americans dies from cancer.
About the Author
LISE ALSCHULER, ND, is the director of naturopathic medicine at Midwestern Regional Medical Center--Cancer Treatment Centers of America, an accredited regional hospital specializing in comprehensive integrative cancer care in Zion, Illinois.
KAROLYN A. GAZELLA is a research journalist and health writer, the founding publisher of the journal Integrative Medicine, and currently executive director of a nonprofit alternative healing program in Boulder, Colorado.
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Top Customer Reviews
Coincidentally, I knew the author when she was a teen and her father was the Chair of my doctoral committee. I did watch keep tabs on her career and was not at all surprised that she turned out o be a phenomenal doctor and all-around good person.
Overall I found the book vastly understated the potential value of natural therapies, and deferred to conventional cancer therapy as 'the way.' The stance the authors/editors take is one of supporting conventional therapies more or less without question, with 'alternative medicine' taking a back seat and offering palliative care. Thus this book is not really about Alternative Medicine and what it has to offer; it should rather be titled, "What Alternative Medicine can do to support Chemotherapy and Radiation." This is a very salient point, given the overwhelming level of PR in favor of surgery, radiation and chemotherapy, even when they have a relatively poor track record. And on the other hand, there are dozens and dozens of natural therapies which have been suppressed in this country, but are widely used outside of it, in combination with low-dose chemo, etc. to great effect and to the benefit of the patient. That is what I wanted to hear about, in a thoughtful and definitive way. I did not get anything close to that from this book.
For instance, the most progressive and successful cancer clinics in the world on the whole tend to be the German, Mexican and progressive US clinics (in that order). Practitioners in those settings have been using substances such as Mistletoe, Shark Cartilage, Vitamin B-17 (Laetrile), hyperthermia, vitamins and minerals, polyMVA, Intravenous Vitamin C and many others for decades, and to great advantage. What I had hoped to learn was which of these should we ask our oncologist to add to our regimen for a given cancer, not according to what the FDA, NCI and ACS say, but according to the full body of unbiased research and clinical experience around the world? Which substances are likely to get an easy yes, which ones do we need to take documentation with us into the oncologist's office to support their value? What other questions should we be asking them to determine whether they are an open, progressive caregiver that will take our wants and preferences into account as we try to protect our bodies from the ravages of chemotherapy?
The book omits mention of the critical factor of general nutritional status in determining how well people come out of (cancer) surgery...and even whether they do survive surgery. For example, magnesium stores in the body are critical for protecting against blood clots and other brain and cardiovascular surgical and post-surgical complications. 2/3 of the general public are siginificantly deficient in Magnesium. The role of Vitamin D in preventing and treating cancers of all kinds if very significant...but in this book it gets scattered one line references when it deserves a chapter of its own. A like percentage of individuals are deficient in Vitamin D.
The book treats antioxidants as potentially useful, but further research is needed, it says on page 184. There is more than a significant amount of evidence supporting the value of antioxidants in reducing normal tissue damage from chemotherapy and radiation. See for instance the book on antioxidants by Ralph Moss, PhD, and his update on his Cancer Decisions web site, a special report on antioxidants. Further, Russell Blaylock MD, a surgeon and nutritionist, used a combination of diet and supplements along with conventional cancer therapies for more than two decades and found that his experience validates the body of scientific research: healthy cells are better protected, and chemo is more effective on cancer cells when antioxidants are added to the regimen. I don't understand why the authors of this book have such a tentative understanding of and approach to the use of such a basic tool, and their lack of expertise here throws the validity of the book as a whole into question.
As a whole, the book promotes the usefulness of supplements, but never addresses the key issues of supplement sourcing and quality, and the fact that many available supplements can be detrimental to health...they may actually contain carcinogens (talcum powder), immune system suppressants (stearic acid), prions (animal gelatin caps) and are often made from petroleum derivatives rather than natural sources, which perforce means they will include other unhealthy tagalongs (traces of chemical reagents, etc.). The bottom line is that synthetic supplements may not be in the specific form that the body actually benefits from.
The section describing chemotherapy admits that the treatment typically causes numerous side effects, and gives a lot of attention to ways to minimize the experience of those. It does not cover what are to the patient much more essential issues, such as what is defined as a 'successful' chemo treatment. Is a 'successful response' defined as a reduction in tumor size for a specific (short) period of time, which has been a typical cancer industry measure? Or is it 5-year survival, or is it actual increased longevity and quality of life over no treatment at all (the true measure to the patient of whether it really works)? Often chemo studies report shrinking tumors as a successful response and imply to the lay public that it equals living longer, but the two are absolutely not the same thing. How does a patient honestly and critically evaluate the therapies offered?
Remission often means the tumor mass in the body [not removed by surgery] has gone dormant -- but is not gone, and can be re-awakened down the road. How does integrative therapy address that dynamic? What kind of long-term (natural) follow up care is indicated? What kind of permanent life style changes are indicated? These subjects are critical, but also not covered.
And what about natural therapies alone? It is implied by this book that there are no viable natural therapies for treating cancer without cut, burn and poison...is that true? Substantial evidence from a number of practitioners might indicate otherwise. The conventional field treats recovery from cancer in such a manner as foolhardy before hand and spontaneous afterwards, showing no interest in how people achieved such a reversal of cancer without conventional therapies. While there is no black and white answer for all cancers (or all patients) a complex question like this is one that a 'definitive' guide to alternative medicine for cancer should thoroughly cover for the reader.
For me, one central shortcoming of this book is that it neglects to address the core issues of self-empowerment, of choice for the patient. This includes the process of finding and screening sympathetic practitioners for your integrative team, and together deciding when you should and should not choose chemotherapy, radiation, and other mainstream or integrative therapies.
This book has an unspoken attitude that the advice of the oncologist should be accepted without question, and the sole issue is whether and how to supplement his/her work with natural therapies. In terms of balance, while this book puts a fair amount of attention into debunking of alternative therapies and supplements that 'don't work,' [and I would question many of those conclusions in light of decades of clinical experience to the opposite], it does not address the frequent unnecessary use of chemo and the need to help patients exercise discretion (such as oncologists that use prophylatic systemic chemo after surgery to chase down 'micro-metastases', a procedure that weakens patients in search of a scientifically unproven entity.) It's yet another example of the lack of even-handed approach here that does not provoke the same attitude of critical thinking toward the mainstream therapies.
The invaluable and objective research of Ralph Moss PhD into all forms of cancer therapy, conventional and alternative, and the Moss Reports, the gold standard of layperson cancer treatment reviews (there are over 200 of them, which review current research on the clinical effectiveness of cancer therapies) are not mentioned. How could such a major resource be overlooked by a 'definitive' guide? Is it because Moss will raise the hackles of oncologists with his investigative reportage?
In discussing causes of cancer, vaccines are not mentioned, even though viruses such as SV-40 which has produced cancers in lab animals (but not yet shown to do so in humans) have inadvertently been included in widely-used vaccines. The ongoing practice of vaccination is certainly of questionable medical value in general, if you look at the actual data (and not just the summaries of the studies). With potent immune system provoking agents in common use as adjuvants (added ingredients) in many current vaccine recipes, many of which agents/vaccines have been shown by studies to lead to chronic inflammation of the brain and other tissues (and inflammatory processes often being a precursor to dysplasias and then cancers), shouldn't we be reviewing vaccine histories in cancer patients?
My overall impression is that this book works so hard to avoid areas of controversy between mainstream and alternative therapies that the big picture of truth suffers in the process. It reads like a book written by an ND with an MD oncologist looking over their shoulder, their presence acting as a silent censor. In a sidebar about aspartame, after listing all the health problems associated with it, regarding the question of aspartame and cancer the authors conclude: "Until additional human studies are done and a final verdict is determined, aspartame consumption should be minimized or avoided." Are they saying that if it doesn't cause cancer, we should eat it? Go on, just say it: 'Even if aspartame does not cause cancer, there are already more than sufficient reported health issues to warrant eliminating this poison from your diet immediately."
There are many other issues that could -- and should -- be thoughtfully covered in a definitive book covering the integration of mainstream and complementary methods for preventing, treating and healing cancer. This is a somewhat useful book, but there's a lot more to the story, and thus the claim of being a definitive guide to integrated therapy misleads the readership.
I would recommend a number of other books first, including Blaylock' Guide to Natural Strategies for Cancer Patients, the books and reports by Ralph Moss, and the successor to this book: Cancer Diagnosis: What to do Next by Diamond, Cowden and Goldberg. Bill Henderson's book Cancer-Free: Your Guide to Gentle, Non-toxic Healing (Third Edition) may not have the polish and shine of the others mentioned here, but on the whole it sheds 100 times the light on the power of natural therapies as the 2nd edition of the Definitive Guide. True, Henderson is neither a scientist nor a doctor, but his work provides a good example of what all potential cancer patients can learn by doing their own study and research, which is what we all should do, rather than deferring to any book that claims to be all-encompassing.
Also go out and purchase Doug Kaufman's book "The Germ that Causes Cancer" and Donnie Yance's Book "Herbal Medicine Healing and Cancer."
Naturopathic Medicine has sold out. They have sold their souls to the Allopathic Medicine way of thinking, are doing so just to attempt to be recognized by the powers in charge, and are the worse off for it. Most Evidence-based Medicine put out by the Allopathic Medical Community has precious little to do with evidence. All a new chemo drug has to do to be approved is to show that it can partially shrink tumors for 2 weeks, and actual survival rates from these cancer drugs are non-existent.
Even if you do choose to have regular chemo there are better books out there on how to attempt to minimize the damage. "Beating Cancer with Nutrition" by Patrick Quillin R.D. is a much better buy for your money.
Don't waste your money on this sham of a book!
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