Book Review: Anticancer Living by Lorenzo Cohen, Ph.D. and Allison Jefferies, M.Ed. Viking Press, 2018
BY VICTOR S. SIERPINA, MD, ABFM, ABIHM, Director, Medical Student Education Program, WD and Laura Nell Nicholson Family Professor of Integrative Medicine, Professor, Family Medicine University of Texas Distinguished Teaching Professor
By now, we are all familiar with the literature that lifestyle factors make up a large part of our risk for chronic disease. In a new book, Anticancer Living, Dr. Lorenzo Cohen of the MD Anderson Integrative Oncology program and his wife and co-author Alison Jefferies offer some fresh perspectives a n d evidence on how such approache s may relate to cancer. See their website at Anticancer- Living.com.
The book is a nice balance of Cohen’s scientifically grounded approach and the practical techniques of Jefferies background as an educator. This gives sophisticated readers a solid understanding of the evidence behind the suggestions and tools to facilitate health and wellness promoting lifestyle changes in the face of cancer.
Part One introduces the biology of healing and cancer. Pertinent studies in such areas as the nature of self-healing, epigenetics, psychosocial science, lifestyle medicine, and evolving advances in cancer treatment are enriched and colored by carefully selected case studies. These stories of real cancer patients who have succeeded in adopting one or typically several behavioral changes to facilitate their cancer treatment or survivorship make the book readable and real.
Further illustrating the balance between scientific writing and applied behavioral change in Part Two, the authors have assembled “The Mix of Six.” These are basic, sustainable, synergistic lifestyle adjustments that can reframe how we deal with cancer at any stage, including prevention:
1. The foundation is love and social support
2. Stress and resilience
3. The need for rest and recovery
4. Moving for wellness
5. Food as medicine
6. The environment and the quest for health
Each topic is a subject in itself and applicable to many areas of wellness and illness, not just to cancer. Daily choices matter in our quality of life and ability to prevent and be resilient in the face of chronic disease.
A quote from chapter one, appropriately titled The Anticancer Revolution, nicely summarizes the key theme and message of this well written book: “What is becoming increasingly evident based on solid science and our improved ability to measure and document the biological effects of lifestyle changes is this: comprehensive lifestyle change, combined with conventional cancer care, is powerful medicine that can help control, and potentially prevent, cancer.”
Integrative Oncology practitioners are increasingly adopting such core, step-bystep lifestyle factors into patient care plans. Anticancer Living is a must read for those caring for cancer patients as well as patients themselves who will find it informative and inspirational.