Add as bookmark

Your Life in Your Hands - Understanding, Preventing and Overcoming Breast Cancer

by Professor Jane Plant

listed in cancer

[Image: Your Life in Your Hands - Understanding, Preventing and Overcoming Breast Cancer]

Professor Jane Plant is the Chief Scientist of the British Geological Survey. She suffered breast cancer and four subsequent recurrences, at which time her prognosis was deemed 'terminal' and she was given only months to live. She tried a number of various diets, including Gerson and the original Forbes Bristol Cancer regimes; however her cancer progressed, despite surgery, chemotherapy and radiotherapy treatments.

Her husband is also an earth scientist, and both of them have spent a considerable amount of time working in China and Japan. They were both desperately engaged in trying to understand and explain the factor(s) responsible for the significantly lower rates of breast and prostate cancer among the Japanese and Chinese. The answer appeared to be the almost total lack of dairy consumption in these countries. Within days of eliminating dairy products her lump started to shrink. After one week the lump started to itch, soften and reduce in size. Within 6 weeks, it was totally undetectable, even to her oncologist!

The thrust of Professor Plant's arguments outlining the potential links between dairy products and breast cancer are wide-ranging and deserve serious consideration and further research. Some of the health risks of consuming dairy products include: babies fed on cow's milk are at risk of developing iron deficiency; the link between insulin-dependent diabetes and dairy products; that milk is one of the most common causes of food allergies; that milk can harbour many pathogenic microorganisms including Mycobacterium paratuberculosis (possibly associated with irritable bowel syndrome); that milk often contains toxic and hormone-disrupting chemicals, including antibiotics, growth promoters, most notably insulin-like growth factors (IGFs), anti-parasitic drugs, environmental toxins such as PCBs and dioxins. Research is cited demonstrating the relationship between IGF-1 and breast cancer.

Despite some serious reservations about this book, outlined below, I still feel on balance that Professor Plant's major contributions with this book are her recounting of her story, including the mistakes she made, and the assembling of the scientific information about the potential links between consumption of dairy products and breast cancer.

Professor Plant has obviously assimilated a great deal of information about nutrition and personal practices, particularly from the Macrobiotic school of thought and has developed a complete dietary and lifestyle programme, about which she is not shy in sharing and advising other people. One of the strong points about her book is that she has been a sufferer and survived. Another major point she makes numerous times in her book is that as a scientist, she is somehow a different sort of person from most, in that she needs to understand and develop a rational explanation and approach to explain developments in her life.

However, her propensity to intellectualize and demand rational, concrete approaches to everything has resulted in her being closed to and highly critical and dismissive of approaches which are not presently understandable, including homeopathy, kinesiology, allergy testing methods and alternative medicine in general. She has also, in my opinion, attempted to cover too much territory for her expertise (she has after all a Ph.D. in Geology, not in Nutrition or Immunology). This has resulted in errors in terminology (misnaming evening primrose oil as an omega-3 essential fatty acid[1]), selective, simplistic or incorrect interpretations of published research (justifying her assertion that vitamin supplements don't work by the results of the Finnish smokers beta-carotene lung cancer trials, which designs have been demonstrated to be flawed[2]); unnecessarily and incorrectly scaremongering about the potential dangers of aromatherapy essential oils (d-limonene has actually been shown to have anti-tumour properties[3], and the other oils mentioned – camphor, hyssop, sage, basil and tarragon – are all restricted for professional use only[4]); and assertions that no one else has ever brought together the evidence regarding environmental toxins and breast cancer (how can she have missed the massive tomes by eminent scientific giants such as Dr Samuel Epstein's The Politics of Cancer Revisited.[5] Her editors also have embarrassingly cited the sample references multiple times in the reference sections, rather than referring to the same number or using ibid, which has somewhat inflated these sections.

Dr Plant's supreme conviction that her way is the right way has probably been a factor in saving her life, and undoubtedly makes her a sought-after role model. Furthermore, much of what she says makes eminent common sense, and I agree with most of her dietary advice – to avoid alcohol, red meat, caffeine, chemicals, and to eat a wholefood diet with plenty of greens, vegetables and fruits, drink filtered water and nutritious juices. Despite her somewhat bossy, quirky and intolerant manner, I do feel that this book is worth reading, particularly regarding the dairy connection to breast cancer.

|References1. Erasmus U. Fats that Heal Fats that Kill. Alive Books. 1986, 1993.2. Terrass S. Beta Carotene and (from Home page, select Books, then Items of Interest, then Beta Carotene and Smokers.3. Brudnak M. Cancer-preventing properties of essential oil monoterpenes D-Limonene and perillyl alcohol. Positive Health 53: 23-25. 2000.4. Tisserand R and Balacs T. Essential Oil Safety – A Guide for Health Care Professionals. Churchill Livingstone. 1995.5. Epstein S. The Politics of Cancer Revisited. East Ridge Press NY. 1998.

This book can be ordered from the Positive Health bookstore. Please click the Bookshop image at the top of the column to your right, then click on Cancer.

Sandra Goodman PhD
Virgin Publishing Ltd
ISBN 0-7535-0596-7

top of the page