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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: State of the Art

Nutrition and Cancer: State of the Art says it how it is. Dr Sandra Goodman presents a host of well-selected data about the potential role of diet and specific nutrients in both the prevention and management of cancer, demonstrating the rigour of a true scientist whose mission is to seek and state the truth.

In appropriate places she bluntly states the ostrich approach by many scientists, medics and oncologists who dismiss the potential role of nutrition in the management of cancer or, indeed, consider it to be outright quackery and an abuse of a vulnerable sick individual.

The reader is left questioning whether such revered scientists, medics and oncologists have ever taken the time to evaluate the research or are just so fixated in relying on quantitative research data that they are fearful of making a clinical application in a world of scientific uncertainty, or even applying sound logic from the plethora of persuasive data that currently exists. Courageous and far-sighted health professionals who have braved the hostility of their colleagues are given special acknowledgement in her dedication.

Her aim for the text is clear and will, I trust, achieve its objective. Without doubt it provides the discerning health professional, both orthodox and complementary, with key sources of research in the field and to feel confidant that their therapeutic principles are based on sound scientific research.

Individuals suffering with cancer, the concerned relative or friend, or the person who wants to prevent cancer particularly where there is a strong genetic risk, should find this book invaluable. It supports the 'lay' reader through provision of the research and science base for using nutrition as part of their management plan and strengthens their case for pursuing support rather than expecting derision from their doctors and specialists in successfully implementing a sound nutritional protocol.

The hard work over the past decade that Sandra Goodman has put into compiling the database of research for the Bristol Cancer Help Centre is a resource to all. The book has taken key data from the database and those studies included in this, the third printing, covers key research from 1998-2003. I strongly recommend that health professionals and the public alike make maximum use of the research database to further the clinical application of nutrition in the prevention and management of cancer.

The synergy of nutrients is superbly highlighted helping to explain the anomaly of the Alpha-Tocopherol, Beta Carotene Cancer Prevention Study Group, which found an 18% higher incidence of lung cancer in Finnish male smokers, aged 50-69, who received beta carotene, as compared to those who did not.

This research finding left the author with many questions, which were addressed in the Update research section of the book. Recent in vitro and in vivo studies have demonstrated that beta-carotene itself may act as an anti-carcinogen, but carcinogenesis may be facilitated by its oxidized products. The lungs produce an oxygen-rich environment providing the right medium for the unstable beta-carotene molecule to be oxidized in the free-radical-rich environment of a smoker's lungs. Vitamin E and C help protect the unoxidised form of beta-carotene. A complex of antioxidant nutrients is suggested as an appropriate way forward.

The continued belief that 'hard' scientific data represents the ultimate in scientific research is somewhat naive when applied to complex, multivariate, highly adaptive systems as found in the human organism. Scientific inquiry for the 21st century must find ways of addressing complexity and draw logical conclusions and strategies for prevention and intervention that are free of personal, political and industrial vested interest.

Dr Sandra Goodman has contributed professionally to the future of nutrition and cancer by this book. It should be a well-thumbed text on the shelves of every health care professional, academic and public library. Given that almost all of us will have a brush with cancer either personally or through a close relation or friend, it would not go amiss as a reference book in every home.

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