Cancer and Natural Medicine: Reviewed by David Ungar, MD

David Ungar, MD is a pediatric oncologist at the University of Pennslyvania. He posted his review to the CANCER-L mailing list, and it is reproduced here with his permission.

I have recently finished reading “Cancer and Natural Medicine: A Textbook of Basic Science and Clinical Research” by John Boik. This is a worthy attempt at covering an impossibly broad subject in a rigorous and analytical fashion. It provides a broad overview of both traditional cancer therapies as well as many non-traditional therapies. The major strength of this book is its scope. Mr. Boik discusses herbal therapy (particularly Chinese Traditional Medicine), diet, vitamins, physical and psychological therapies, and other methods used for treating cancer. He has done a nice job of gathering available scientific reports concerning these various treatments and summarizing them in a nice, concise format. The book is well referenced and contains many nice tables, particularly some extensive ones detailing various botanical preparations.

The broad scope of this book and the lack of published research on many alternative therapies means that many of the subjects are touched on only briefly. There is enough information to whet the appetite, but many readers, especially those who are trying to make clinical decisions, will need to go beyond the material in this book. Like any textbook, some of the material is out of date as soon as it is printed. However, the overall content is quite sound. On a minor note, the author also vacillates between being very technical, using a lot of scientific terms and chemical names, and providing very simplistic explanations for less complicated terms. This is not a major flaw, but sort of bugged me.

The reader should be warned that this book is not light reading. Mr. Boik approaches his subject matter in a comprehensive and scholarly fashion. I would definitely recommended this book to the health practitioner and sophisticated patient who want to gain a better understanding of alternative therapies.

David Ungar, M.D.
Penn State University College of Medicine
Hershey Medical Center, Dept of Pediatrics
Hershey PA 17033
e-mail: [email protected]

This CancerGuide Page By David Ungar, MD. © David Ungar, MD
Last Updated: July 2, 1996