A Comprehensive Primer to Alternative Cancer Therapies.
Article Type: Book review
Subject: Books (Book reviews)
Author: Collin, Jonathan
Pub Date: 08/01/2012
Publication: Name: Townsend Letter Publisher: The Townsend Letter Group Audience: General; Professional Format: Magazine/Journal Subject: Health Copyright: COPYRIGHT 2012 The Townsend Letter Group ISSN: 1940-5464
Issue: Date: August-Sept, 2012 Source Issue: 349-350
Topic: NamedWork: The Cancer Survivor's Bible (Nonfiction work)
Persons: Reviewee: Chamberlain, Jonathan
Accession Number: 303012913
Full Text: The Cancer Survivor's Bible, by Jonathan Chamberlain

Long Island Press; www.fightingcancer.com; [c]2012; paperback; 516 pp.

A new diagnosis of cancer is perhaps the most fearsome event that we face in life. Whether the diagnosis is made early for an in situ lesion or late for a metastatic tumor, recommended treatment nearly always involves a combination of surgery, radiation, chemotherapy, and antihormone therapies. Invariably, timing for treatment initiation is immediate--there is very limited time for second opinions. And second opinions may represent variations in conventional therapies and options for different surgeons and oncologists--not consideration of alternative cancer treatments.

While there may be concern by the patient or family that alternative therapies may be appropriate, it is very difficult to educate oneself about medical alternatives when cancer is first diagnosed. A search on the Internet yields opinions offered by a variety of commercial sites selling proprietary products or treatments. Informed educational resources for treating cancer with alternative medicine are offered by the National Cancer Institute; unfortunately, such information is invariably negative or dismissed as not supported by evidence-based medicine. It is nearly impossible for a patient to get a comprehensive understanding of alternative medicine cancer treatments.

Jonathan Chamberlain has devoted the past several years to establishing such a primer of alternative cancer therapies. In 2008 he authored both Cancer: The Complete Recovery Guide and Cancer Recovery Guide: 15 Alternative and Complementary Strategies for Restoring Health. In 2012 he authored Cancer: The Complete Recovery Guides Books 1-8. Chamberlain is not a scientist or doctor. He came into the world of cancer the same way that most people do--his wife, Bernadette, was diagnosed with the disease. At the time of diagnosis and during the initial months of treatment, he and his wife followed the conventional approaches offered by the surgeon and oncologist. However, his wife did not respond well to the treatments. Chamberlain investigated options and discovered that not only were there options in alternative medicine but also his wife's medical doctors were wholly uninterested in these treatments. He also found that there was no easy, rational means to evaluate alternative cancer treatments. However, Chamberlain did appreciate that medical authorities generally offered negatively biased reviews of such therapies. While discussions by alternative practitioners offered limited studies, Chamberlain examined and reviewed the pros and cons for treatment approaches. Admittedly, some therapies and products were limited to anecdotal reports or promotional testimonies. Still Chamberlain believed that there was value in providing a complete review of all alternative therapies available not constrained by "standard of care" requirements. The Cancer Survivor's Bible is perhaps the only resource for comprehensively evaluating alternative cancer treatments. Published in July 2012, it is the most up-to-date resource.

Chamberlain defines what distinguishes conventional treatment approaches from the alternative medicine strategies. Conventional therapies seek to destroy and eradicate tumor and metastases. Alternative approaches seek to systematically change the tumor's environment in the body. What enables the tumor process to thrive despite the body's mounting an ineffective immune system attack? Detoxification, changes in diet, herbal therapies, and anticancer nutritional products seek to increase oxygenation of the tumor cell, alter cancer metabolism, and modify the immune system response. Unlike conventional cancer treatment, there are a great many alternative treatment approaches. Chamberlain's review provides a basis to compare treatments and offers additional resources to study different therapies and products. The text is useful for not only patients and families but also practitioners. Chamberlain also offers a website to update the text. The Cancer Survivor's Bible also provides the stories of 20 survivors using very differing approaches--but all surviving terminal diagnoses.

review by Jonathan Collin, MD
Gale Copyright: Copyright 2012 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.