Penny Brohn UK

Help change life with cancer. For good

Book Review: Anti-cancer: A new way of life

anti-cancer-bookby Dr David Servan-Schreiber, 2007 pub Michael Joseph

In my opinion this is still the classic book on integrating whole person approaches with cancer treatments. David Servan-Schreiber was a doctor and researcher who passed away from a brain tumour in July 2011 aged 50 having received his first cancer diagnosis at the age of 31.

He had far outlived the prognosis he was originally given and lived a successful and productive life including the publication of three international best-sellers.

This one, originally written in 2007, has a very useful chapter called “Escaping Statistics” which helps explain how to translate the “numbers” you may be given by your doctors into something which means something to you as an individual.

Other chapters look at food, physical activity stress management techniques, your environment, your thoughts and feelings, your relationships and your reasons for living, as things that can support your health. I often suggest that people read the book like a “menu”, choosing the aspects that appeal to start working on first, rather than feeling that they have to tackle everything the book covers.

There is very little that needs updating since 2011 when it was last revised, but Agave, the sugar substitute that he mentions as being beneficial, is now recognised to have some unhelpful effects, like increasing blood levels of fructose, so is no longer recommended in large amounts. Otherwise, I feel the book embraces the true spirit of the Bristol Whole Life Approach.

It gives a balanced, research-based overview of this complex subject, and is written in a style which makes it easy and interesting to read. The story of his journey with his own cancer is interwoven with descriptions of cutting edge research experiments which throw new light on how to reduce the chances of cancer developing and growing.

Dr Catherine Zollman


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