Book Review: The Cancer Whisperer

The epithet author Sophie Sabbage attributes to her book ‘The Cancer Whisperer’ is: ‘I have cancer, it does not have me’. This is a solid foundation to her approach towards cancer, and the central philosophy behind the book.

Sophie’s resounding message of working with, not against cancer, turns more widespread attitudes towards cancer on their head.  She likens her determination to listen to what her cancer was trying to teach her, to the relationship horse whisperers develop; learning to understand the horse’s ‘language, and communicate with them at a whole new level’.

Sophie was a business consultant and mother of a young daughter when she was told she had stage 4 terminal lung cancer, as well as multiple tumours in her brain and spine. The prognosis was poor. Since then, she has been on a remarkable journey. Sabbage claims that as soon as she believed she was going to die, she started to die. The turning point came when one of her consultants told her not to ‘become a patient. Live your life’. This was the beginning of the transformation of her relationship with cancer; from a point of fear, to one of strength. She views her cancer as a process of discovery. She is using the book to share the research she has done; the resources, from diets to treatments that she feels have had the biggest positive impact on her, to help others navigate their way more easily through the vast supply of (at times conflicting) information. Surgical oncologist Dr Contreras describes the book as ‘sharing the keys to unlock the possibilities of living life to the fullest in spite of, even because of, cancer’.

She documents her journey in a very succinct readable style; refreshingly honest, insightful, practical, intense, passionate and vulnerable. Sophie does not offer a cure for cancer, but offers a cure for fear of cancer; her aim is not to ‘change the condition, but to change the conditioning’. As such she has written to help those ‘who want to remain a dignified, empowered human being even when your doctors and diagnosis are scaring the hell out of you. It is also for the cancer patient who has a hunch that there is something for them to learn, gain or even be transformed by’. I would go a step further, and say that everyone has something to learn from this book; a reminder of how to live our lives fully, taking charge, taking responsibility, making choices and being aware of our own truths.

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