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Reviews of I Have Cancer: What Should I Do?

Vitamins Fight Cancer



“I recommend I Have Cancer: What Should I Do? to all of my patients. It is the best guide I have found.” (Victor Marcial, M.D., Oncologist)

[En español: Video de los comentarios Dr. Victor Marcial]

This book is a welcome addition for anyone who desires information about using orthomolecular medicine and nutrition to prevent and treat cancer. It is not your average book about cancer. The authors explain in great detail, using scientific data to clearly show how to manage various cancers with nutrition. Chapter Three, "Food as a Cancer Medicine," is a must-read for those with a family history of, or those who have, cancer. Chapter Seven lists success stories of patients with various types of malignancy who have successfully used orthomolecular/nutritional treatment. The authors base their findings on published, peer-reviewed research as well as their own personal experience with this deadly disease. I would strongly recommend this book to anyone with an interest in nutrition and cancer treatment and prevention. (James A. Jackson, Ph.D.)


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Book Offers Guidance on Nutrition and Supplements in Cancer Treatment
Townsend Letter, August-Sept, 2010. Reviewed by Jule Klotter

All too often, oncologists give cancer patients little guidance on ways to use nutrition and supplements to aid their recovery and prevent recurrence. The book I Have Cancer: What Should I Do? by Michael J. Gonzalez, DSc, PhD; Jorge R. Miranda-Massari, PharmD; and Andrew W. Saul, PhD, fills this gap. Gonzalez and Miranda-Massari are members of RECNAC II at the University of Puerto Rico. RECNAC II is a research initiative that was inspired by Dr. Hugh Riordan's RECNAC project at the Center for the Improvement of Human Functioning (Wichita, Kansas). Saul is assistant editor of the Journal of Orthomolecular Medicine and author of Fire Your Doctor! and Doctor Yourself.

I Have Cancer: What Should I Do? gives readers the basics about nutrition, supplements, and lifestyle that can be used with conventional cancer treatment. It explains the orthomolecular (high-dose supplement) program that the authors themselves would follow if diagnosed with cancer. It is also the program that Saul uses to prevent cancer. "Cancer is a multifactorial disease that requires a multifactorial treatment plan: medical, nutritional, and lifestyle changes as well as mental, emotional, social, and spiritual support," assert the authors. "You cannot just take some pills and not change your diet, or change the diet and ignore important emotional or spiritual issues in your life, and then expect that everything will be fine. Any effective approach for cancer must be truly integrated." Keeping that in mind, the authors explain why nutrition is such an important part of any treatment plan. Food choices can reduce toxic effects of oncology treatments, strengthen the immune response, and aid recovery. The dietary guidelines are the basics: a whole-food diet that includes pulses (beans and lentils), whole grains (particularly sprouted grains), nuts, and an abundance of fresh vegetables and fruits. The authors recommend limiting red meat and salt and avoiding sugar and dairy foods altogether, particularly if the cancer is hormone related. Fresh air, exercise, and drinking plenty of pure water are strongly encouraged. The book also discusses dietary supplements that reinforce and augment the benefits of this diet plan.

In his foreword for I Have Cancer: What Should I Do? the late Dr. Abram Hoffer wrote: "Oncologists have to learn not to destroy hope. It is essential that patients not be deprived of hope even with what appears to be terminal cases. I have seen too many of these so-called hopeless cases recover." He tells of a middle-aged woman with kidney cancer that had spread to her back and aorta. Conventional oncologists had no treatment for her, so she entered hospice care. She also consulted Hoffer about orthomolecular treatment. Two years later, hospice discharged her because she was too healthy to die. Six years after consulting Hoffer, the woman was "still well." "Should you be afraid that it might be too late for you," Saul writes, "remember this: some 98 percent of the atoms in your body are replaced every year. And every one of those atoms can only come from what you breathe, drink, and eat."

I Have Cancer: What Should I Do? is well worth the $18.95 cost. The book teaches people self-care and gives much-needed words of hope. It is published by Basic Health Publications.

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A Review by Robert G. Smith, Ph.D.

Research Associate Professor, Department of Neuroscience, University of Pennsylvania:

Applying the principles of nutritional medicine specifically to the treatment of cancer, Gonzalez, Miranda & Saul in I Have Cancer: What Should I Do? have written a surprisingly hopeful book. I say surprisingly because one might think, if the methods for treating this disease are as successful as described therein, that everyone would have already heard about them and the face of medicine would be changed forever.  That is the promise and I imagine the likely outcome of this book.  If read and appreciated by the medical establishment, the book may very well provide a new and fresh outlook to a difficult medical specialty -- and save many lives.


The book starts by establishing the authors' background and expertise. All have had personal experience with cancer, so they are personally motivated; all are experts in orthomolecular medicine; and all recommend working cooperatively with doctors to enhance the patient's treatment. They explain that it is important for the patient to find a health-care provider who can listen and help -- and for the cancer patient, this means someone who is knowledgeable about therapeutic nutrition as well as hopeful.  Orthomolecular medicine works by providing nutrients like vitamins and minerals that the body recognizes and needs, in sufficiently high quantities to allow the body to overcome disease. In addition to proper nutrition, the book describes a comprehensive and integrative program of treatment, personally motivated, that will be most effective in inducing health. Patience is what a patient needs -- some may find the book's advice difficult to follow, but the important thing is to seriously consider the different therapies and learn for yourself. Don't self-diagnose, but along with your medical professional, own your own case. If you are aware of your body and the treatment, you are going to be much more effective in an informed team.


Some doctors have advised that nutritional supplements should not be taken along with chemotherapy.  The book explains that this is incorrect. Many doctors, aware that cancer drugs are toxic, simply haven't read up on the benefits of optimizing the nutritional state. Bad nutrition does not fight cancer. Nutrients given at high enough doses can optimize the body's biochemistry to allow it to react to stress which helps during treatment. Proper nutrition can reduce the secondary effects of the oncology treatment, strengthen the patient's immune system to prevent disease and reinforce the patient's health and recovery, and with appropriate macro and micro quantities of nutrients, treat the disease directly.


In fact, high doses of vitamin C and other nutrients can specifically target cancer cells. This may seem unbelievable at first. We have all heard of the healing aspects of vitamin C (ascorbate) -- it is non-toxic and unlike drugs isn't harmful when we take large quantities. It is a vitamin for us because our bodies require it for health but can't make it, so we must get it from the food we eat. But how much is enough, especially if we are fighting cancer? Most animal species except primates and guinea pigs make vitamin C in an amount equivalent to our bodies making 5,000-10,000 mg/day -- and they make more when they are sick or stressed. Vitamin C is concentrated into cells by transporters, special proteins on the surface of all cells that selectively take up biochemicals needed by the cell. It is a powerful anti-oxidant that helps the body to prevent oxidative stress that comes from disease. Every cell needs anti-oxidants, especially vitamin C, to prevent harmful free radicals that damage enzymes and can cause mutations in DNA. Additionally, the authors explain, vitamin C is selectively toxic to cancer cells.


The book goes into an adequate amount of depth on the attributes of cancer, what it is, how it starts, and what allows it to progress. Even if you don't have a good understanding of biology and molecules, you will likely be able to follow the reasoning. Cancers start by mutations that unregulate genes controlling the division and metabolism of the cell. Many cancers don't use oxygen like normal cells, but utilize anaerobic metabolism, which means they need more blood sugar (glucose) than normal cells do, because they don't use it as efficiently.  The growth of cancer cells is thought to be regulated and targeted by vitamin C because they take up large amounts of vitamin C along with their huge need for glucose. The vitamin C is thought to act in the cancer cell paradoxically as a pro-oxidant, generating hydrogen peroxide which stops the cell from dividing. Thus vitamin C can specifically target cancer cells, and along with its function to enhance the immune system, regress tumors. The effect is robust and has been shown many times in the clinical treatment of cancer patients. The amounts of vitamin C needed for this effect are large, and may require intravenous application of buffered ascorbate to achieve the high blood levels necessary, along with high doses of vitamin C taken orally. A study done by the Mayo Clinic didn't find any effect of ascorbate on cancer -- but the book explains that the lack of the anti-cancer effect was likely because the Mayo study didn't use enough vitamin C, discontinued therapy too soon, and doses were oral only, not intravenous. Vitamin C at high doses is known to be a very effective treatment for many types of cancer -- and it is non-toxic.


Along with information about cancer and how it can be targeted by vitamin C, there is a generous section about good nutrition and its helpful effects on preventing and reversing cancer. The body recognizes cancer cells and actively works to defeat them with its immune system, but it needs help. We must provide the materials that can enhance the body's immune system and reduce contaminants and stress that can cause free radicals and initiation of cancer. The biological terrain of the body is important but delicate, and can be damaged by eating the wrong foods or smoking. We are encouraged to eat a healthy diet of pure water, whole grains, lots of fresh vegetables and fruits, enhance our intake of omega-3 fatty acids, and avoid an excess of high-calorie foods and animal foods such as red meat and dairy products. This diet is known to prevent cancer, for example, in Japan, where cancer rates are low and life expectancy is long. We all differ in our biochemistry because of genetic differences and our different daily lives, and so, as Dr. Roger J. Williams pointed out, an average diet is likely to cause deficiency in some nutrients. Thus we can help the body fight off disease by supplementing our food with an adequate intake of macro minerals such as magnesium and potassium, and micro minerals and vitamins. Vitamin D has recently been shown to prevent many types of cancer, and vitamin E and vitamin C are important in preventing heart disease and cancer. The book includes a complete program of excellent nutrition, applicable to all of us, with or without cancer.


Do I understand and believe every word? No, I found several ideas to be on the fringe of strict science, such as energy therapy; the role of magnetic fields in the body; how eating lots of protein depletes pancreatic enzymes; and why food containing active enzymes helps with cancer. But then, if you want to check the statements and theories, the authors provide references throughout. There is a short section of patient success stories -- people (including physicians) who have received orthomolecular treatment and survived, with or without standard cancer therapy.


Overall, I think the book is excellent.  It is chock full of helpful information, much of which will be new to many readers. The book is very well-written and easy to read, and it has an extremely positive tone -- most likely because orthomolecular therapy works -- and not only for cancer!


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Others say:

“This is an important book: all three authors were colleagues of Hugh D. Riordan, MD, one of the very first physicians to give high-dose intravenous vitamin C to effectively fight cancer. The authors are remarkably cheerful for wounded healers. Each has experienced loss due to cancer; one of the authors lost his wife. You might say, well, if they are so smart, then how did THAT happen? But the authors are not preachy nor do they come across as know-it-alls. They recommend conventional cancer therapy along with natural adjunctive therapy. It is not a one-or-the-other ultimatum. Better nutrition means better quality of life, and almost always improved length of life. After all, when is the last time that poor nutrition cured anything? There is truly good news in this book. Vitamins taken along with chemo results in undiminished drug effect plus fewer side effects. Intravenous vitamin C is selectively toxic to cancer cells, and does not interfere with chemo. If you have been told differently, this is the book for you. The authors back up their statements with a large number of peer-reviewed scientific studies. You do not have to "believe" in vitamins or nutrition or alternative medicine. The proof is here, and it is good news for cancer patients and their families. This book is not the sure cure. But it is a big step towards ultimate cure of this dreaded disease that affects so many. Here is information you really need to read.”



Andrew Saul is the author of the books FIRE YOUR DOCTOR! How to be Independently Healthy (reader reviews at ) and DOCTOR YOURSELF: Natural Healing that Works. (reviewed at )


Andrew W. Saul


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