Uh-oh, it looks like your Internet Explorer is out of date.
For a better shopping experience, please upgrade now.
One out of nine women in the United States will develop breast cancer in her lifetime. In fact, it is the second leading cause of cancer death for women (after lung cancer) and the leading overall cause of death in women between the ages of forty and fifty-five. For too long women have erroneously believed that there is little or nothing they can do to prevent this dread illness. Our major medical efforts are directed toward detecting and treating, rather than preventing, breast cancer.
Professor Jane Plant, one of Britain's most eminent scientists, contracted breast cancer in 1987. She had five recurrences, and, by 1993, the cancer had spread to her lymph system. When orthodox medicine gave up and she was told that she only had three months to live, she determined to use her extensive scientific training and her knowledge of other cultures to find a way to survive. In her research, she was startled to find that in China breast cancer affects far fewer women than in Western countries. Plant considered that there could be a dietary trigger for the illness. As she continued her scientific investigations, she became convinced that there was a causal link between consumption of dairy products and breast cancer.
Jane Plant finally defeated her breast cancer, in part because she used her training and knowledge as a natural scientist to understand it and then overcome it. Combining the diet her research had led to with traditional medical treatment, Professor Plant was not only able to triumph over her own disease but also to pass on what she had discovered to help more than sixty other women successfully fight their breast cancer.
In this book, women will be presented for the first time with a compelling body of evidence strongly suggesting that consumption of dairy products may cause breast cancer. It will demonstrate the specific changes that women can make in their day-to-day lives to help prevent and treat breast cancer. With a clear statement of the scientific principles behind her discovery, Professor Plant includes detailed suggestions for ways to alter your diet by eliminating or reducing consumption of many suspected cancer-causing agents, especially dairy products, and replacing them with healthful alternatives. She offers as well detailed menus and recipes to help you make the transition and enjoy it.
Your Life in Your Hands is a revolutionary book that will change the lives of millions of women.
|Publisher:||St. Martin's Press|
|Edition description:||First Edition|
|Product dimensions:||6.40(w) x 9.58(h) x 1.21(d)|
About the Author
Jane A. Plant, Ph.D., C.B.E., is one of Britain's most distinguished female scientists. She is chief scientist of the British Geological Survey and continues to sit on many influential government and international committees. In 1999, she was awarded Britain's most prestigious science honor, the Lord Lloyd of Kilgerran Prize (previous recipients include the inventor of DNA fingerprinting, and the scientist who cloned "Dolly," the sheep). Professor Plant lives in Nottingham with her husband and children.
Read an Excerpt
This book has come about as a result of many hundreds of conversations I have had with women who want answers.
Breast cancer is a puzzling, and frightening, subject. As someone who has suffered five times from progressively more advanced breast cancer, which eventually spread to my lymph system before it was finally defeated, I know from firsthand experience just how terrifying it can be. But although breast cancer is a subject that frightens many women, this is not a frightening book. Quite the opposite, in fact: it is empowering and optimistic. It is a story of hope.
Over the past century, Western women have achieved extraordinary progress in a great many areas. We now have the power to vote for our governance and the methods to plan our families and to ensure that a high proportion of our children survive, and we can be educated alongside men in any subject we choose. Despite all these impressive and valuable gains, today's "epidemic" of breast cancer now jeopardizes our wellbeing, assaults the very symbols of our femininity and motherhood, and indeed menaces our lives as few other threats do.
The facts are stark and shocking. For adult women (aged between 25 and 75) the leading cause of death is cancers: and the type of cancer that kills most women is breast cancer. Out of about every ten women you know, one of them (I hope, not you) is likely to contract breast cancer. These dry statistics actually understate the severity of the situation because breast cancer affects the lives of far more people than that: when you include all the spouses, sons, daughters, mothers, fathers, friends, colleagues, and loved ones whose lives are blighted by this disease, then you begin to realize just what a modernday scourge we are dealing with. Almost no one in the Western world can consider themselves immune from its impact. Indeed, our increasing affluence appears to make matters worse. Most diseases affect the poorer rather than the wealthier, more educated members of society, but breast and prostate cancer are different. They mainly affect the higher socioeconomic groups. Indeed, the slang name for breast cancer in China translates as "Rich Woman's Disease" as it mainly attacks women who follow a Western middleclass lifestyle.
For too long women have unquestioningly accepted that a proportion of us will be affected by breast cancer. We have been persuaded to be too passive about prevention, accepting the idea that there is little or nothing we can do ourselves to prevent a disease that, quite literally, decimates the female population. And the overwhelming majority of our medical, scientific, political, and financial efforts are directed toward detecting and treating, rather than preventing, this awful disease.
The message you'll read in these pages is very different.
I believe that all women have the right to the best available information so that they can make informed decisions for themselves. My aim in this book is to set before you, clearly and plainly, vital information that can help you drastically cut your risk of contractingand dying frombreast cancer. One of the frustrations for most women is not knowing how to help themselves. We know that if we smoke we increase our risk of lung cancer and if we sunbathe too much we increase our risk of skin cancer, so we can choose whether to take these risks. But in the case of breast cancer, we are too often made to feel helpless because we are rarely told about anything we can do to protect ourselves. Although we are told of many risk factors for breast cancer, they do not translate into anything we can actually do. This makes us feel powerless.
For the first time, this book makes available to all women a compelling body of new evidence that points to the underlying causes of breast cancer. It is my hope that women will use this information to prevent or treat this disease in themselves or those close to them. There is much useful information gleaned from my own personal experience on the very practical aspects of dealing with the disease, including diagnosis and treatment. In addition, I have observed in my research that much of the data and information about prostate cancer leads to conclusions similar to those regarding the cause and treatment of breast cancer. Anticipating the care that the women who read this will extend to the men in their lives, I have included much about prostate cancer. You will also find suggestions on how by changing values and behavior patterns, with the aim of improving the environment, we can reduce our exposure as a society to some of the factors that may contribute to these diseases.
This book chronicles, in part, my journey through five progressively worse episodes of breast cancer and describes how I used my training as a scientist to cope with both the disease and the treatments I was given for it. That scientific training had taught me to observe and record everything, to root out every fragment of information, to sift the relevant from the irrelevant, the rational from the irrational, and to keep asking those two key questions that are at the very heart of science: why and how? This book contains what I believe to be the answers to those two questions regarding breast cancer.
If this book had been around even two years before my first diagnosis of breast cancer, I am sure that I would never have had the disease. I hope very much that you can put the information it contains to the best possible use in your own life.
Before you begin, it might help if I give you a few tips on how to use the book. The first chapter is about my knowledge and experience as a scientist and as a breast cancer sufferer.
Chapters 2 and 4 provide scientific information aimed especially at health professionals wishing to help their patients. The information is mainly from peerreviewed gold standard scientific literature translated into simple, straightforward English. Many women who are not scientists but who want to know the basis for my approach have enjoyed reading the information and found it helpful.
If, however, you have active cancer and just want to grasp the essentials as quickly as possible, you may wish to begin at Chapter 3 and then read Chapters 5 and 6.
The last chapter is about the politics of it all, just to remind everyone that some scientific messages are there to confuse. (There is now mounting information about how the tobacco industry funded research to confuse people about the health effects of smoking tobacco.) I should like to reassure everyone that I wrote the book on my own time with no funding or influence from any vested interest group, and did my best to ensure that the science I used was, to the best of my knowledge, objective, authoritative, and as free as possible from commercial or political influences.
The Hat, The Boa Constrictor, and The Scientist
In this chapter I explain to you why, as a natural scientist, I ap proach the problem of breast cancer differently than doctors and orthodox medical researchers. I then go on to explain how I used my training and experience to cope with all the orthodox types of treatment a breast cancer patient is likely to undergo, including surgery, radiation therapy, and chemotherapy. I explain the treatments clearly and simply and give lots of practical tips to help you cope: for example, how to avoid or minimize hair loss during chemotherapy. In this chapter I have tried to make you feel as if you have a good and caring friend guiding you toward the light at the end of the tunnel.
Scientists can often seem to be rather strange people.
Let me give you a wellknown example to show you what I mean. What sort of person sees an apple fall from a tree, wonders what force is drawing it down toward the earthand then goes on to develop the whole concept of gravity?
Here's another example. What sort of person leaves a plate of glass coated with photographic emulsion next to a piece of granite in a drawer and, when he notices that the emulsion appears to have been damaged by "emanations" coming from the granite, does not simply curse and throw it away but instead deduces that previously unknown particles and rays have been emitted from the rockand discovers radioactivity?
And one more. What sort of person attempts to culture bacteria in a petri dish, finds the experiment has gone "moldy," yet does not simply throw it away but instead looks carefully, observes that something in the fungus has killed the bacteria, and discovers penicillinthereby establishing the basis for the development of modern antibiotics?
All three peopleSir Isaac Newton, Henri Bequerel, and Sir Alexander Flemingsaw things a little bit differently. It is this ability to see a familiar situation from a different viewpoint or angle that probably makes scientists seem rather odd to other people. But sometimes it results in a major leap forward in our understanding of the natural world.
Thinking like a creative scientist is more a state of mind than anything to do with training or education (although increasingly, we need to know and understand more and more facts before we can contribute new ideas).
HOW MY STORY BEGAN
I didn't choose to study breast cancerit chose me.
I first stumbled into science because I was an instinctive feminist. The boys at my local grammar school could choose among Latin, art, and physics as options, while at the girls' school we could choose from only Latin, art, and cookery. Although Latin was my best subject, I did not like it and resented the time spent on something that, as a teenager, I could see little point in. So I led a campaign for the girls to be offered the same choices as the boys and, for my efforts, became hoist with my own petard when I was obliged to study physics just as the boys did. Without quite realizing it, I had started on the road to becoming a scientist.
At school I occasionally regretted what I had done, but at university I literally fell in love with the scientific subject I had chosen to dogeochemistry. I was the only woman to pursue the subject in the final year; however, I was so dedicated and such a perfectionist that I had some problems. For example, after my final year examinations I ran away because I believed I had failed my exams. In fact, when my professor finally tracked me down it was to tell me that I had gained a first class honors degree.
After leaving university I married a young doctor who subsequently trained as an army psychiatrist, and had a son, named Mark. Our marriage failed and, in a protracted and painful custody battle, I lost my son to my exhusband and his new wife, a psychologist. This has been a source of intense and chronic stress for the last thirty years of my life. Four years after we separated, I married my present husband, Peter, who, like me, is an earth scientist. We have two children, Emma, now twentyfive, and Tom, now eighteen. You will read about them later.
I was lucky to be employed by the British Geological Survey (BGS) as only the second woman scientist in its history. (Women had previously been employed only in a technical capacity.) I am now the Chief Scientist of the organization, and I hope my position is helping to encourage other women to progress in what in the past has been a very maledominated subject.
Geochemistry is about the chemistry of the earth. My specialty is in understanding the chemistry of the surface of the earth, especially concentrations of chemicals where these occur either as natural concentrations in ore deposits or as a result of man's activity; for example, where there are landfill sites or contaminated land. I have frequently worked with biochemists, veterinarians, epidemiologists, and medical geographers looking at the impact of chemicals in the environment on the health of humans, animals, and crops. Early in my career, between 1975 and 1977, I served on a Royal Society committee concerned with geochemistry and health.' Since that time, my team of scientists at the British Geological Survey has been concerned with a wide range of human health problems related to the environment. Some of the methods we have developed allow us to make highly reproducible highresolution maps showing the distribution of chemicals over the surface of the earth. We are able to look on our computer screens at the distribution of, say, arsenic and uranium (as potentially toxic elements) or zinc or iron (trace elements essential to animal and human health) in the same way people can look at Earth's physiographyusing remotely sensed photographs from space.2 .Almost from the beginning, these images, although intended for geologists, created a lot of interest among veterinarians, who found them helpful in diagnosing environmental and nutritional animal diseases in Britain. It was by working with them that I first began to learn of some of the amazing connections between geochemistry and biochemistry. I also learned, when I was ill, that veterinary rather than medical literature provided the most fundamental answers based on biochemistry. Eventually I established a team that is regarded as the best in the world in tackling health problems related to anomalous levels of trace elements in the environmentfor example, diseases caused by high levels of arsenic or fluoride or by deficiencies in iodine, selenium, cobalt, or zinc in soils and/ or water supplies. This is a particular problem in many developing countries.
Very recent work that the BGS team has conducted, which has received wide publicity, deals with the problem of arsenic contamination in water from wells in Bangladesh. There the levels of arsenic in water can be so high that many people develop skin lesionstheir skin becomes black and thickenedthat in a significant proportion of sufferers become cancerous.
What I had learned as a Tesult 4 this type of environmental detective work time and time again was that until you identified the fundamental cause of such problems, there was little or nothing that could be done to help the affected individuals. And until you've found the cause (whether it's of breast cancer or any other disease) and effectively neutralized it, you can never, ever claim to have "solved" the problem.
After the initial shock had subsided somewhat, I tried to think what to do. My husband was working in Jamaica and I had no contact telephone number (this is common among geologists), and my children were both staying with their grandmother. In any case, I saw no point in upsetting them. The first thing I did was to telephone one of my oldest and dearest friends. Dr. John Camac had been my doctor throughout my childhood and was still my mother's doctor. Despite the fact that it must have been about midnight in Britain, he was wonderful to me. He guided me through a careful selfexamination. He knew me well enough not to give me false reassurances and we agreed that the lump that I had found probably was cancer but that it appeared to be very localized and could probably be treated by lumpectomy on my return to Britain. With his advice and the help of a friend in Canada, I decided to stay for the conference until I had honored my commitments, but also to go to the famous Princess Margaret Hospital in Toronto for an examination and diagnosis.
I thus spent the next week alternately being a professional scientist chairing sessions or giving lectures in front of an audience of about 800 people; attending a specialist breast clinic for examinations and biopsies, finally to be given the diagnosis of cancer; and sitting alone or with friends feeling like a terrified 5yearold worrying about what the future held. Most people have some attractive featurefor example, long legs, beautiful hair or eyes, and so on. In my case, it had been my boobs. I had a small waist and shapely breasts. Before I was married, my surname was Lunn and this led to two of my teenage nicknamesbusty Lunn or lusty bun! The thought of losing one of my breasts terrified me. Would it mean that people would treat me as an object of pity? Would my colleagues joke about me?
By the time I returned to London, my local doctor had already managed to get me an appointment with the breast cancer clinic in a leading London teaching hospital, the Charing Cross Hospital. I shall never forget the scene that greeted me on my first visit. The waiting room was full to bursting with strainedlooking women and their supporters; the atmosphere was thick with fear and anxiety; there was no conversation, and mostly we avoided even making eye contact with each other. Even then, I noted that most of the women appeared well groomed but were of different ages, different shapes and builds, and with different breast sizes. There were two black women, one woman of Indian appearance, one woman of Middle Eastern appearance, but no Eastern women. Looking back I realize that I was already searching for clues about the cause of breast cancer by looking for common factors among the women affected. Of course, if it were that easy someone would have identified the factors long ago, but it was impossible for me to suppress my instincts as a scientist. Seeing those scared facesand knowing how scared I felt, toowas the first time I fully understood what a common disease breast cancer is, and how dreadful and widespread is the damage it causes to women and their families and friends.
Table of Contents
|1.||The Hat, The Boa Constrictor, and The Scientist||1|
|2.||Cells Behaving Badly||52|
|3.||The Third Strawberry||63|
|4.||Rich Woman's Disease||84|
|5.||The Plant Program--The Food Factors||114|
|6.||The Plant Program--The Lifestyle Factors||198|
|7.||Reflections from West to East||232|
What People are Saying About This
Devra Lee Davis, Ph.D., M.P.H. Visiting Professor, Heinz School, Carnegie Mellon University; Advisor to the United Nations and World Bank; Presidential Appointee of the Clinton Administration; Author of more than 150 articles on cancer in prominent journals such as the Lancet, Journal of the American Medical Association, and Scientific American
This important, provocative book by an impressive author cannot be ignored. Through this breathtaking, personal odyssey, Jane Plant forces us all to think differently about the causes of breast cancer. Indispensable reading.
T. Colin Campbell, Ph.D.--Jacob Gould Schurman Professor of Nutritional Biochemistry at Cornell University;
Project Director of the China-Oxford-Cornell Diet and Health Project;
Joint Chairman of the American Institute For Cancer Research's Diet and Cancer Project; Co-chairman of the World Cancer Research Fund
...a compelling and very personal story on breast cancer that is a must read, not only for women interested in this disease but also for the scientific and medical communities who should sit up and take notice.
Jane Plant is an extraordinarily clever, resilient, and courageous
woman. . . a scientist of the highest calibre.
(Professor John Dewey, Oxford University)
Jane Plant is a well-known and highly respected scientist...
her story is astonishing and fascinating.
(Lord Oxburgh, Rector of Imperial College)