Reviewer: Sharon W. Ewing, PhD, FNP, APRN, BS (University of Arizona College of Nursing)
Description: The authors review the scientific evidence behind a very comprehensive list of dietetic interventions thought to prevent, ameliorate, delay, or cure, cancer. Written by members of the American Institute for Cancer Research and edited by Glen Waldon, the book presents in clear language the pros and cons of a comprehensive list of dietary approaches thought to be beneficial to cancer victims.
Purpose: The authors intend this book for cancer victims who want to minimize their chance of a recurrence of their cancer, are worried that scientific innovations for a cure are too far in the future, or who believe that the conventional approach to treating cancer may not work for them. Any of these people may turn to alternative cancer treatments. This book gives clear guidance for people who are looking for additional or different treatments for cancer. It fills a much needed niche in the literature by presenting the latest information developed by the scientific community.
Audience: The book is designed for people who use the Internet, magazine articles, and their friends to learn about alternative treatments to cancer. The authors present an authoritative view of the current literature. Its scientific approach shines a light through the clouds of opinions and rumors that currently dominate the field. The many references that close each chapter will allow readers to judge for themselves the value of the authors' recommendations. That in itself is worth the price of the book.
Features: Throughout the book, the authors draw on their extensive experience working with cancer survivors. The first chapter introduces "the scientific method" and teaches the nonscientist how to weigh the evidence found on the Internet and in magazine articles or presented by helpful friends. The final chapter presents the personal stories of three people who represent the approach taken by many who survive cancer. Their stories should inspire anyone who reads this book. In between, the authors make useful recommendations for diet and exercise. In separate chapters, they discuss various approaches, including foods, micronutrients, herbs, and therapies or regimens. When they find supportive evidence in the scientific literature, they say so. And when the literature is not supportive, they say that, too, and explain why. The glossary and index are helpful and complete.
Assessment: Oncologists should offer this book to cancer survivors, but regardless of how they get the book, patients who are looking into alternative therapies should read it. It offers a superior approach to answering the thorny question of what to do when conventional medicine has done all it can for you. It compares very favorably to books such as Options: The Alternative Cancer Therapy Book, by Walters (Avery Publishing Group,1993), which presents 28 approaches to alternative treatments for cancer by introducing the history of the development of each treatment. What is meant to be a balanced approach allowing readers to decide for themselves the value of a treatment, ends as a simple presentation of the controversies that surround them. References are limited to historical citations of the controversies; references to the scientific literature are rare. Cancer and Nutrition A Ten-Point Plan to Reduce Your Risk of Getting Cancer, by Simone (Avery Publishing Group,1992), not updated since its original publication, is still available and still widely read. It introduces the concepts behind the author's ideas for a diet and exercise plan that may lessen the chances of getting cancer. He offers 36 pages of references to the literature in support of his plan; none could now be considered current.