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PostPosted: Wed Jan 20, 2010 9:55 pm 
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"Anticancer - A New Way of Life" by David Servan-Schreiber

Summary

The best cancer book I have read so far - highly recommended. There are so many things to like about this book. Whereas other cancer books seem to say, 'I've survived cancer so why can't you?', this book deals with all aspects of cancer including its modern history.

Insight

One of the best things that I say is that I have already adopted some things from this book. My normal approach is to only change one thing at a time and see if there is a noticable effect.

Also I usually take the entire loan period of a library book and then still don't finish all. This one I finished in five days, although its less than 300 pages.

I have a psychology degree and am often sceptical about personality types. David is a psychiatrist, but it is due to my trust in him that I gained by the previous chapters that I became open to the idea of a cancer C personality type. I reflected that while I had a tragic upbringing, I didn't react with violence but became the class clown; while remaining profoundly unhappy.

Not Anti Medicine

David recognises the benefits of conventional medicine. His main criticism is its success in treating acute patients and lack of success with chronic illnesses. He realises that while we are at the mercy of doctors when we are first diagnosed, it becomes as important to your prognosis afterwards what you do when you have had medical treatment.

No Magic Bullet

Realising there is no cure can be strangely empowering. Amore fati, a love of fate, can be a source of power; although this phrase is not used in the book. He has the research, the personal story and cases to back up what he says, but he knows there are no guarantees. It is in realising that we all share the same fate, that we will have cancer cells in us, is a source of this power.

We can focus on what we can control and on the weaknesses of cancer. Most of us when medicine has offered us all it can look for alternatives. This book offers a well thought out lifestyle changes that is complementary with the medicine that we receive. Many suggestions actually either help the standard treatments or lessen their side effects.

Chronic Disease Chronic Treatment

There are things that could be improved on in this book. It would have been nice for we brain cancer patients to have the diagnosis and treatment information in an appendix; I could not find these details in the book. However, this is not an autobiography. In fact, he finishes the book worried that his colleagues won't think less of him for it. The quality of this book is such that we cancer patients will think highly of him regardless.

He summarises the books key ideas as follows:

1. The importance of our 'terrain'. Here he is referring to diet, mental strength and exercise.

2. The effects of awareness. Here we can even change the planet. An awareness that livestock are the greatest contributors to global warming, that their feed is bad for their health too and that by eating 25 times more meat than the Asian diet we are causing great harm to our health.

3. The synergy of Natural Forces. When we exercise this has mental benefits or improving our diet has both mental and physical benefits. One by one the things we do to improve our health and there are cumulative benefits.

Highly Recommended

Rather than selling a set of theories or retreats, this author encourages us to try different suggestions in this book and see whether they work for you. It may have been the right book at the right time for me, but I will be adding this one to my personal library to re-read.


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PostPosted: Mon Mar 29, 2010 10:10 am 
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More than a survivor

By Andy Perdue, tricityherald.com

In a few days, I will mark the one-year anniversary of my final chemotherapy treatment. And with that, I will bring this blog to a close.

Cancer is in my rear view mirror. I'll always be looking over my shoulder, wondering if it will make a reappearance, but I need to move on. I have better things to do with my life.

I will always be a cancer survivor; that's a title bestowed on me last April when I was declared cancer free. But life is so much more than surviving - and I plan to thrive. As a father, a husband, a son, a brother. For all the nastiness of cancer, mine had made me stronger.

I take very little for granted anymore. Holding my little girl's hand is a treat and a blessing. I can no longer live a life of gluttony and excess, as my family and friends deserve better. I have sought out a more personal connection with my creator, a piece of my life that has been basically missing for many years.

Last fall, fellow Herald blogger Lucy Luginbill (also a cancer thriver) mentioned a book called Anticancer: A New Way of Life by David Servan-Schreiber. The author is a doctor who happened to discover his own brain cancer. After having it removed and seeing it come back (and removed again), Servan-Schreiber decided to find a better way to live. He found that through nutrition, exercise and mindfulness, we can battle cancer before it arrives. I quickly purchased the book, read it and bought six more copies for members of my family. I suspect I've been responsible for another dozen copies being purchased since then.

I'm not normally too much of the preachy type, but I don't want my family and friends to go through my experiences. They don't need a mediport installed in their chests. They don't need toxic chemicals pumped into their bloodstreams. They can do simple things to help decrease their chances of getting cancer, things like eating blueberries or broccoli, drinking green tea, getting a bit more exercise and focusing their minds.

Watch this short video, then go order the book.

I am not diving into every single thing Servan-Schreiber suggests. I am adding a little here and there. This approach has a better chance of me making these more of a lifestyle change rather than a passing fad.

I don't know if my cancer will return. I have to live as though it will. When I don't feel like heading to the court club, I motivate myself by remembering that I'm in a war against cancer every waking moment. That's a good way to get myself off the couch and into Club Max.

This is the end of this blog, but my battle continues.

http://www.tri-cityherald.com/2010/03/2 ... vivor.html


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PostPosted: Thu Jul 22, 2010 4:22 pm 
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I read the book and put it on my short list of best books. I used a lot of it's followings in my wife's treatment as it concurred with a lot of the other things I had read and believed. A conventional doctor finding a strategy that steps outside the orthodox to save his own life is a powerful message. It helped give us success.


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