Ten years ago, Patrick Holford’s slim volume Say No to Cancer was an excellent resource for people with cancer, opening up avenues of self help and self determination to a British public almost totally unaware of any options other than lying back and passively enduring some of the most gruelling treatments the health service has on offer. His new and totally revised edition of the same name is a huge step forward, completely rewritten and significantly expanded and reflecting the significant steps taken over the last ten years to establish the validity and effectiveness of complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) as a means of controlling cancer.
Ten years on, the British public is still largely unaware of just how much is on offer in the field of CAM for cancer, as the fear of cancer still generates such widespread aversion to knowing anything much about cancer, even what chemotherapy or radiotherapy treatments are, let alone anything else. But as the statistics for cancer incidence continue to rise relentlessly, there are fewer and fewer of us who have the luxury of avoiding an encounter with cancer firsthand. Meanwhile the willingness to consider CAM options for health has grown considerably, particularly for chronic conditions, creating an increasingly receptive environment for this new edition.
As probably the leading British writer in his field, with this new book, Patrick is pushing the agenda forward for taking what is now termed an ’integrative’ approach – one that combines the best of both orthodox and complementary & alternative approaches. Say No to Cancer is both informative and well grounded in evidence, meeting the usual criticism levelled against CAM head on, with thirty pages of scientific references.
As it progresses, the book arms readers with an understanding of cancer itself, the factors in our lifestyle and environment that can accumulate and trigger a malignancy, and the specific roles of a wide range of nutrients in protecting against and containing the spread of cancer and in preventing a recurrence.
The later sections become very specific in giving advice on integrating CAM strategies alongside conventional treatments in order to maximise recovery, to reduce unpleasant and damaging side effects and to avoid a recurrence. A short section is dedicated to each of the main cancer types containing cancer-specific advice.
If I have one reservation, it is that the book begins with a chapter entitled ’What is Cancer’ that quickly embraces some fairly complex language and concepts, not to mention some heady diagrams, that may possibly be challenging enough to dissuade some readers from going further. This would be a sad state of affairs as the remainder of the book contains so much straightforward and enormously useful information. Many people will be content to know what to do, without wanting to know quite this much about the ’whys and hows’.