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The Breast Cancer Prevention and Recovery Diet

by Suzannah Olivier

listed in cancer

[Image: The Breast Cancer Prevention and Recovery Diet]

Suzannah Olivier has produced a nutritional tour de force. Her book will be assured of a prominent place among my most stalwart bibles of nutritional references. There are several reasons for this high praise:

1 The author is herself a breast cancer survivor of some 10 years, and she therefore brings to this book all the necessary technical understanding and empathy from having undergone the trauma of a diagnosis of breast cancer;

2 Suzannah Olivier is a qualified nutritionist and demonstrates in this book her mastery of the subject, not only with regard to breast cancer, but in relation to so many other health conditions, including heart disease, diabetes, hormonal imbalances, thyroid and digestive imbalances;

3 This massive book (some 430 pages) covers in ample detail, all the major subjects of diet and nutrition, including fats, fibre, sugar, vitamins, minerals, phytoestrogens, herbs such as astragalus and echinacea, "superfoods" such as linseeds, garlic, alfalfa, seaweed, soy foods, and other supplements including probiotics, milk thistle, quercitin, soy isoflavones, lycopene, chlorella and many others;

4 The book is professionally referenced throughout, providing the reader access to hundreds of published journal articles and books on a wide range of topics. There are appendices with a highly useful list of Resources, a Medical Glossary, defining many medical and scientific terms, and some 45 pages of Bibliography with those highly precious notes and scientific references to the literature. In addition to the General Index, there is also a useful Recipe Index to the many delicious culinary recipes within the book.

In addition to covering, in detail, the many facets of each of the nutritional categories, Suzannah Olivier also provides the reader with a highly charged description of what happens following a diagnosis of breast cancer, true stories of other women's (including her own) experiences, as well as highly informative discussions of the many investigative diagnosis and treatment options, including mammography, surgery, radiotherapy, hormone treatment and chemotherapy.

What makes this book outstanding both to the breast cancer patient, as well as to the health professional, is the thorough treatment of many issues vital to everyone's general health, including environmental issues including pesticides and antibiotics, hormones, particularly phytoestrogens and especially natural progesterone.

Other invaluable sections include chapters about building strong immunity, harmonising hormones, optimising digestion, detoxification and reducing and handling stress.

The author has managed the rare achievement of integrating the technical and the practical, especially when it applies to making changes to our diet and lifestyle. In discussing the various vitamins, for example, she includes a list of food sources, as well as a section regarding their uses for breast cancer. There is an entire chapter of daily menu suggestions, including choices for the non-vegetarian, vegetarian and gluten-free, as well as a daily plan of supplements.

In general, I found her information and advice to be well-rounded and non-judgmental; she sometimes gives her personal preferences, but also mentions dissent among other health professionals. My one criticism concerns the author's perpetuation of the misinformation regarding the concern that vitamin C might interfere with the excretion of methotrexate during chemotherapy. This hypothetical concern, put forward in a published paper by Sketris and Farmer in 1984, was tested and refuted in this same paper. The authors did the experiment to compare vitamin C's effect upon methotrexate in a cancer patient, and found that vitamin C did not have any effect at all. It is infuriating that patients have been told for over 15 years to refrain from taking vitamin C during methotrexate chemotherapy, when this hypo-thesis was tested and proved not to be true!

One other omission, which I trust will be correct in subsequent printings of this book, is the non-inclusion of Positive Health's Cancer section within this massive internet site – Accessed from the home page, readers should select Articles, then Cancer. In addition to many authoritative and highly informative articles on breast cancer and many other types of cancer, there is an extensive section providing links to major cancer internet sites around the world.

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
Penguin Books

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