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Understanding Cancer: what it is, research and treatment


The Cancer Solution taking charge of your life with cancer  A cancer handbook for inquisitive laypersons and health care professionals by Jack C Westman


This book is entirely US focused.
The title is a bit misleading. Though I can’t think of a title that would do it justice. It is quite broad in its aims. Which brings us to . . .


The Aims of the Book (pp.vii-ix)

  • A broad overview of cancer treatment and research
  • Give a reference for questions about specific aspects of cancer
  • Stimulate interest in complementary health care
  • Encourage the reader to be an informed advocate for funding focused on preventing and treating the underlying cause of cancer.


Is it an “I have the cure for cancer” type book?
No. Thankfully.

It sticks to data from clinical trials. There is no woo-woo. (How you respond to this will depend on how much you like the ‘woo-woo’.)

However it does assess the evidence for treating cancer with diet and alternative and complementary medicine. It also advocates for prevention of cancer and a less mainstream approach of treating cancer earlier.


The Approach

  • Is advocating for treating neoplasia – somewhat like catching the problem early rather than waiting until it has fully developed.
  • Is advocating prevention – healthy food and exercise and lowering stress.
  • Investigates treatment strategies that work – conventional or not so conventional. Such as strengthening the body’s immune system and diet therapy.

There is lots of data on cell physiology, drugs, and clinical trials. In some places this means that it is quite jargon heavy (lots of acronyms). You can skip this stuff if you aren’t interested in that kind of detail. This is all well footnoted, so it is a great place to start if you want to investigate further.


What You Can Do Now (ch.11)
This chapter is devoted to complementary therapies for cancer treatment.

For complementary treatments it recommends, ketogenic diet, curcumin, milk thistle, aspirin, vitamin D3, meditation (to relieve stress), exercise and support systems. Plus a couple of others I’m unfamiliar with.


Receiving and Giving Care (ch.12)
This chapter is the gem for me. Well worth the price of the book on its own.
This chapter discusses the often neglected aspect of care – that people need to give and receive it.

There is good stuff on the care giver and recipient being clear in communication – even to the extent of making contracts. And mentions spirituality as well! Often a taboo topic. And contains a series of quotes from various spiritual traditions about living well.

It concludes with stories about people dying well. From those refusing intervention to those who use all options. It is moving in places and conveys very well the human dimension of living/dying well.


There is a great deal else in this book – a survey of where cancer research currently is, the authors own story (about his wife’s battle with cancer over 17 years). Lots about the physiology of our bodies and cancer’s effect on it. And a good deal about the US medical system.


A Handbook
The author describes this book well, as,
a handbook to be skimmed at first reading and used for later reference as needed. (p.vii)

It is also clearly and engagingly written. With copious footnotes and a good index. To get a good overview of what cancer is about, and the current state of its research and treatment this book is an excellent resource.


The Cancer Solution by Jack C Westman is available from Amazon and in Australia also from The Nile (price includes postage to anywhere).

I'm Evan Hadkins. To find out how to live a more satisfying life you can download my manifesto on living authentically. It is a book of exercises to guide you to finding, nourishing and living from the core of who you are.

If you would like me to write about some aspect of living an authentic life please don't hesitate to get in touch. There is a box in the sidebar where you can leave a question anonymously if you wish, or you can email me, use the contact page, or comment on this post.

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