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Nutrition and Cancer - State of the Art

Preface | Preface (3rd edition) | Introduction | Review by Beata Bishop | Review by Kate Neil
Preface by Richard A. Passwater
Preface for the third edition by Pat Pilkington MBE
Introduction for the third edition
Book Review by Beata Bishop
Book Review by Kate Neil

Nutrition and Cancer : Preface for the third edition by Pat Pilkington MBE


Who would have believed when we started the Bristol Cancer Help Centre in 1980 that nutrition and health would command such wide and general public interest by the turn of the century? We were labelled as cranks and quacks then, and the whole idea that a disease like cancer could be influenced by what you eat was ridiculed and derided.
It was to demonstrate that serious, widespread and scientifically sound research existed for nutritional approaches to cancer, that in 1993 we called on Sandra Goodman PhD to create a substantial and far reaching cancer and nutrition database. From this widespread evidence base, it was possible to see how much hard work had gone into providing the medical profession with life saving information. Almost all of this research has been completely disregarded and ignored. It is astonishing! So much good time, so much money, such years of hard work, all ignored.
The database, however, proved very popular and to further explain and describe the scientific basis for nutritional approaches to cancer, Sandra Goodman PhD wrote the book Nutrition and Cancer. From the start it had wide appeal and quickly went to a second edition. Patients found it a godsend to have all the information they needed at their fingertips. Complementary practitioners were delighted to have the evidence they sought from reputable scientific sources and quickly added it to their reference libraries. And slowly, bit by bit, doctors here and there began to get the message, learning from their patients that nutrition had a part to play in the recovery of health.

At the time of this printing of the third edition of Nutrition and Cancer it is true to say that patients are still advised to eat cream buns by hospital dieticians! Nevertheless the message coming from the Department of Health has changed radically. You can hardly read a magazine or open a newspaper without being advised to eat five portions of fresh fruit and vegetables a day. Listing the causes of cancer, Government places nutrition firmly ahead of all other risks, except smoking. Finally the message is getting home that fresh, whole and if possible, organic food can and will lead to a healthier nation. Even if this change of heart is dictated by the outrageous costs of the NHS, nevertheless it is heartening to know that the pendulum is beginning to swing in favour of healthy nutrition.

Change is most needed, of course, in the field of cancer prevention. People may be prepared to change the dietary habits of a lifetime when they are faced with a diagnosis of cancer but it is an uphill task to convince people that prevention is better than cure. There has, however, been an enormous shift of consciousness in a comparatively short time. Books like Sandra Goodman's Nutrition and Cancer have played a vital role in persuading people that the evidence is out there, that the research already exists to prove the point. We owe a great debt of gratitude to scientists like Dr Goodman for doing the hard work for us; for collecting and collating the evidence to show that what you eat can have a profound influence on your health. Now patients and doctors can see for themselves how far research in the field of nutrition and cancer has progressed over the past decade.

To anyone who has just picked up this book in idle curiosity and has read thus far I would say: you have pure gold in your hands! Contained within these covers is information that can change and shape your life. If you have responsibility for the health of others, you have here enough evidence to help and heal those who look to you for guidance and succour. I know from the past decade what this book has done for patients who have come from far and wide to the Bristol Cancer Help Centre. The vital information contained here is easily accessed, and enjoyable to read.

A marked change is taking place in the very fabric of society's approach to medical care. It is important that patients take responsibility for their own health as far as possible. Commitment to this care of self is proportional to self-esteem and self-empowerment, and may most tangibly be observed in the daily relationship each one of us has to food and to nourishment.

Pat Pilkington MBE
Bristol Cancer Help Centre
February 2003



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