Books on Alternative Therapies

Cancer Therapy: The Independent Consumer’s Guide to Non-Toxic Treatment and Prevention by Ralph W. Moss Ph.D. 1992 Equinox Press. NY, NY

This focuses mainly on specific non toxic or less toxic substances or drugs that may have an effect on cancer, but it also includes some complete therapies as well. Nearly 100 substances are surveyed. The book includes extensive references to the scientific literature as well as information on obtaining the substances or treatments. Special care is taken to detail evidence that some of these substances can enhance conventional therapy or reduce its side effects. Moss also has some of his work on his Cancer Chronicles Website.

Options: The Alternative Cancer Therapy Book by Richard Walters. 1993 Avery Publishing Group Inc., Garden City Park, NY

This focuses mainly on complete therapies. It includes extensive references to both the popular and alternative therapy literature, with some references to the scientific literature. In my opinion, this book sometimes puts too much credence in marginal therapies for which evidence is lacking, but it is still useful.

Choices in Healing, Michael Lerner, Ph.D. 1994 MIT Press, Cambridge MA

This is a remarkable book which contains much thoughtful advice on how to think about alternative treatments for cancer. The book is like a meditation, and the author tries very hard to take a balanced view of things. Specific information on many different kinds of therapies is included. There are fewer treatments covered than in the previous two books, but what is covered, is covered in more depth. If I had to have only one book on alternative treatment, this would be it. Wonderfully, the entire 600 page text of Choices In Healing has been put on-line by Commonweal, Lerner’s organization.

Cancer and Natural Medicine: A Text Book of Basic Science and Clinical Research by John Boik. 1996 Oregon Medical Press, Princeton MN

John Boik is an acupuncturist and practitioner of Chinese herbal medicine. With this background it is perhaps surprising that he has written a rigorously technical review of non-toxic treatments for cancer intended for professionals. You won’t find encouraging anecdotes or credulous promotion of “miracle cures”. Instead you will find a careful review of the published scientific evidence for a wide range of therapies including herbs, vitamins and minerals, dietary factors, electrotherapy, psychological approaches, and a grab bag of other interesting substances. Herbs are covered the best, especially Chinese herbs.

Cancer and Natural Medicine is unique in its emphasis on possible mechanisms of action for natural agents. Much of this material is extremely technical and will be difficult for non-professionals to follow. It was hard for me. But you don’t need to understand all of this material to be able to tell when there are promising results. You do need to understand that not every agent listed as possibly acting by some particular mechanism is something for which there is actual evidence for anti-cancer effect. There is a very useful list of the most promising agents (Table 17.1) which is easy to overlook. More information can be found on Mr. Boik’s web site. David Ungar, MD’s review of Cancer and Natural Medicine is also well worth a look.

The Doctor’s Vitamin and Mineral Encyclopedia by Sheldon Saul Hendler, M.D., Ph.D. 1990 Simon and Schuster

This book has a corny title, but is an excellent general reference on supplements of all types including herbs and amino acids. The author is an M.D., with a Ph.D. in biochemistry who works in the nutrition field. He takes an open minded but scientific approach. I.E. you get facts, not B.S. Includes extensive references to the scientific literature.

2008 additions: Two books by Jonathan Chamberlain.

[The following two reviews are by P. Feist, 9/08]

Cancer Recovery Guide: 15 Alternative and Complementary Strategies for Restoring Health. By Jonathan Chamberlain. 2008, Clairview Books.

Cancer Recovery Guide is intended as a quick run-through of the current strategies for fighting cancer via complementary and alternative methods. Fifteen strategies are listed, from emotional/psychological aspects in “Embrace Hope – Cancer is Curable” and “Love and Forgive Yourself and Others”, to treatment aspects such as “Empower the Body” and “Feed the Body with the Right Nutrients”.

Cancer, The Complete Recovery Guide. By Jonathan Chamberlain. 2008, Long Island Press.

Cancer, The Complete Recovery Guide is a long and detailed book, expanding on the shorter Cancer Recovery Guide. Covered are methods for reducing the side effects of conventional chemotherapy and radiation, the importance of attitude and emotions, and numerous therapies outside conventional western medical treatments. Well-covered are herbal and vitamin strategies. I think these books are useful to anyone who wants to sift through the current (2008) CAM strategies. The books are upbeat, clearly written, easy to read, and well-referenced. I like how the author’s foreword addresses the situation where you are helping someone who has cancer, and the fact that not everyone wants information or that you may disagree, and the importance of relationships in fighting cancer. More information on Jonathan Chamberlain’s web site.

As a side note, Jonathan sent me copies of his books, and I was going to offer to send these review copies on to someone else on the his list of potential reviewers. This did not happen because, quite frankly, I especially wanted to keep the Complete Recovery Guide because it is an excellent, up-to-date resource. I am the list administrator for several ACOR pediatric cancer support lists, and often need to look something up, as many listmembers are interested in CAM. [PF]

This CancerGuide Page By Steve Dunn. © Steve Dunn
Page Created: 1995, Last Updated: September 2008.