I was a huge advocate of Jonathan Chamberlain's earlier book Fighting Cancer: A Survival Guide (Headline 1997, 1998), in which Jonathan recounted how his wife Bernadette had been diagnosed with cancer, that she had followed the advice of the oncologists and underwent all the prescribed treatments – surgery, radiation and chemotherapy – and had died a year later.
Jonathan realized that the information that he desperately sought wasn't available, and set out to write a book that would inform cancer patients and their carers with the huge number of treatment options available, and hence patients with a strategy to pursue, if, and probably when, they suffered from cancer.
I have thought that Jonathan Chamberlain's attitude – that information is power, that the more one knows, the more empowered one can be in seeking out the mode(s) of treatment to which the cancer sufferer feels most attracted.
The author's two most recent books, really designed to be companions, are ideal exponents of this philosophy, which doesn't pretend to absolutely know or predict which is the one and only treatment option, but rather to provide to the cancer sufferer and carers, a guide to the considerable of cancer treatments available. Jonathan is not a medical practitioner; yet he has assembled a considerable array of options.
The Cancer Recovery Guide: 15 Alternative and Complementary Strategies for Restoring Health literally provides 15 strategies in a reasonable sized volume (168 pages) with a respectable Further Reading List, as well as an invaluable Index. The strategies include options which focus upon: mental, emotional and 'spiritual' approaches to healing and wellbeing; nutritional and herbal and other approaches to restore health; treatments which target the cancer itself; and support and obtaining further information and help.
There were numerous products and treatments which were new to my knowledge, including Curaderm (BEC5), developed by Australian biochemist Dr Bill Cham, based upon the plant Solanum sodomaeum, and Bloodroot Sanguinaria Canadensis, both useful for skin cancers. This book includes updated information about Laetrile, Zeolite, Graviola, as well as fasting diets and the grape diet. Included throughout the book are True Stories (Case Studies) of individuals who had in certain cases been given extremely grave prognoses yet had gone down their individual treatment routes and survived and thrived.
Cancer: The Complete Recovery Guide: Everything that everyone should know about cancer and how to recover from it
Published by Long Island Press. 2008. Softback. £17.05. ISBN 978-0-9545960-1-9.
Reviewed by Sandra Goodman PhD
Cancer: The Complete Recovery Guide is the much larger volume of the two books (about 365 pages, again with Index. The Contents are divided into 3 Sections: Section 1: Facts About Cancer; Section 2: Orthodox Approaches to Cancer Treatment and Section 3: Complementary and Alternative Approaches, by far the largest section (about 250 pages). Section 3 topics are very wide-ranging, including: Testing procedures, Detoxification, Dietary Approaches; Vitamins and Natural Supplements, Herbs and Botanicals, Other Cancer Formulations, Biological Therapies, Cancer Pioneers and Outcasts, Energy and Subtle Energy Therapies, Mind/Body and Emotional facets, Group Support, How to Make Decisions, and Inspirational Stories.
There is a huge amount of very helpful information, and the author frequently gives common sense advice that one doesn't have to make a decision and stick to it throughout treatment. He also doesn't advocate that people go down the alternative or complementary route; he suggests that knowing gives one options and that if one approach doesn't appear to be working, that another route may be possible.
The author suggests that people make a plan, preferably before becoming a cancer patient, so that they at least consider what types of treatments they might prefer, either to accompany their orthodox treatment, or adjuncts or alternatives to the medical orthodoxy.
As a research scientist, I would always like to see references to the published research literature, which this book is missing. However, it is difficult to find a better, more rounded history of the brilliant pioneering individuals who have made significant contributions to cancer, and who have been hounded and persecuted and ostracised, than these volumes by Jonathan Chamberlain.
I also have a few concerns that the stories included are so inspirational that they might engender overly high expectations. However, in view of the poor treatment prognosis for the majority of common cancers with the vilest of side effects, I feel that having some hope is positive, albeit that it should also be tinged with realism.
These two books should be on the shelves of every medical practitioner who counsels or treats cancer patients, as well as cancer patients and their families.
Publisher: Clairview Books