Anticancer: A New Way of Life

Anticancer: A New Way of Life

by David Servan-Schreiber MD, PhD


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The revolutionary, New York Times bestselling guide to the powerful lifestyle changes that fight and prevent cancer—an integrative approach based on the latest scientific research
“A common-sense blueprint for healthy living.” —Chicago Tribune
“Resonating with cancer support communities and recommended nationwide.” —Los Angeles Times
“Life affirming . . . filled with practical advice.” —The Seattle Times
David Servan-Schreiber was a rising neuroscientist with his own brain imaging laboratory when, in the middle of an equipment test, he discovered a tumor the size of a walnut in his own brain. Forced to confront what medicine knows about cancer, and all that we still do not know, Servan-Schreiber marshaled his will to live and set out to understand the complex inner workings of the body’s natural cancer-fighting capabilities. He soon found himself on a decades-long journey from disease and relapse into scientific exploration and, finally, a new view of health.
Anticancer is at once the moving story of one doctor’s inner and outer search for wellness and a radical exposition of the roles that lifestyle, environment, and trauma play in our health. Drawing on the latest research in integrative medicine that blends conventional and alternative approaches, Servan-Schreiber concisely explains what makes cancer cells thrive, what inhibits them, and how we can empower ourselves to prevent their growth. His advice details how to develop a science-based anticancer diet (and the small changes that can make a big difference); how to reap the benefits of exercise, yoga, and meditation; which toxic, unsafe products to replace in your home; and how to stave off the effects of helplessness and unhealed wounds to regain balance.
Anticancer’s synthesis of science and personal experience marks a transformation in the way we understand and confront cancer. A long-running bestseller that has changed the lives of millions around the world, Anticancer remains a pioneering and peerless resource, an inspirational and revolutionary guide to “a new way of life.”

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780452295728
Publisher: Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date: 10/03/2017
Edition description: Reprint
Pages: 288
Sales rank: 47,838
Product dimensions: 5.40(w) x 8.30(h) x 0.90(d)

About the Author

David Servan-Schreiber, MD, PhD, was a clinical professor of psychiatry at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine and cofounder of the Center for Integrative Medicine. He codirected an NIH laboratory for the study of cognitive neuroscience and published more than ninety articles in scientific journals. His pioneering book Anticancer: A New Way of Life became an international bestseller and was translated into more than forty languages. He is also the author of The Instinct to Heal and Not the Last Goodbye. Servan-Schreiber died in July 2011, leaving us a profound legacy of new understandings and pioneering work in disease prevention.

Read an Excerpt

Foods That Act Like Medications

From ANTICANCER: A New Way of Life by David Servan-Schreiber, MD, PhD

Foods That Act Like Medications

If certain foods in our diet can act as fertilizers for tumors, others, to the contrary, harborprecious anticancer molecules. As recent discoveries show, these go far beyond the usual vitamins,minerals, and antioxidants.

In nature, when confronted with aggression, vegetables can neither fight nor flee. To survive,they must be armed with powerful molecules capable of defending them against bacteria,insects, and bad weather. These molecules are phytochemical compounds with antimicrobial,antifungal, and insecticide properties that act on the biological mechanisms of potentialaggressors. They also have antioxidant properties that protect the plant’s cells from dampnessand the sun’s rays (by preventing cellular “rust” from forming when the cell’s fragile mechanismsare exposed to the corrosive effects of oxygen).

Plums, Peaches, and Nectarines: It’s Time for Stone Fruit

Berries have recently found some competition: peaches, plums, nectarines, etc. (collectivelyknown as stone fruit), whose anticancer virtues were previously unknown. According to agroup of researchers in Texas who reviewed more than a hundred species, these fruits—particularlyplums—are at least as rich in anticancer elements as small berries. In this time ofeconomic recession, it’s good to know that a single plum contains as many antioxidants as ahandful of berries and costs far less. In laboratory tests, stone fruits have also demonstratedtheir efficacy against breast cancer cells and cholesterol.


The intestines ordinarily contain “friendly” bacteria, which help digestion and facilitate regularbowel movements. They also play an important stabilizing role for the immune system.Among the most common of these bacteria are Lactobacillus acidophilus and Lactobacillusbifidus.

It has been demonstrated that these probiotics inhibit the growth of colon cancer cells.Their effect on the facilitation of bowel movements also lowers the risk of colon cancer by reducingthe time the intestines are exposed to carcinogenic substances in food. Probiotics thusalso play a role in detoxification. In addition, according to a 2006 Korean study, probiotics improvethe performance of the immune system, as well as increasing the number of NK cells.Organic yogurts and kefir are good sources of probiotics. Soy yogurts are usually enrichedwith probiotics. These precious bacteria are also found in sauerkraut and kimchi.Finally, certain foods are prebiotics, which means they contain polymers of fructose, whichstimulate the growth of probiotic bacteria. Examples are garlic, onions, tomatoes, asparagus,bananas, and wheat.

Green Tea

Rich in polyphenols, including catechins (and particularly epigallocatechin gallate-3, orEGCG), which reduce the growth of the new vessels needed for tumor growth and metastases.It is also a powerful antioxidant and detoxifier (activating enzymes in the liver that eliminatetoxins from the body), and it facilitates the death of cancer cells by apoptosis. In the laboratory,it enhances the effects of radiotherapy on cancer cells.

Turmeric and Curry

Turmeric (the yellow powder that is one of the components of yellow curry) is the most powerfulnatural antiinflammatory identified today. It also helps stimulate apoptosis in cancercells and inhibit angiogenesis. In the laboratory, it enhances the effectiveness of chemotherapyand reduces tumor growth.

Take note: To be assimilated by the body, turmeric must be mixed with black pepper(not simply with peppers). Ideally, it must also be dissolved in oil (olive, canola, or linseed oil,preferably). In store-bought curry mixes, turmeric represents only 20 percent of the total. Soit’s better to obtain turmeric powder directly.

Recommendations for use: Mix ¼ teaspoon of turmeric powder with ½ tablespoon ofolive oil and a generous pinch of black pepper. Add to vegetables, soups, and salad dressings.A few drops of agave nectar can remove the slightly bitter taste.


Ginger root also acts as a powerful antiinflammatory and an antioxidant (more effectivethan vitamin E, for example) and has protective effects. It acts against certain cancer cells.Moreover, it helps reduce the creation of new blood vessels. A ginger infusion tea also helpsalleviate nausea from chemotherapy or radiotherapy.

Recommendations for use: Add grated ginger to a vegetable mix while it is cooking in awok or frying pan. Or marinate fruits in lime juice and grated ginger (a touch of agave nectarmay be added for those who prefer more sweetness). Make an infusion by cutting a smallpiece of ginger (about an inch) into slices and steeping in boiling water for ten to fifteenminutes. Can be drunk hot or cold.

Cruciform Vegetables

Cabbages (brussels sprouts, bok choy, Chinese cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, etc.) containsulforaphane and indole-3-carbinols (I3Cs), which are powerful anticancer molecules. Sulforaphaneand I3Cs are capable of detoxifying certain carcinogenic substances. They preventprecancerous cells from developing into malignant tumors. They also promote the suicideof cancer cells and block angiogenesis. In 2009, at the Cancer Research Center of the Universityof Pittsburgh, biologist Dr. Shivendra Singh and his team studied the impact of sulforaphane—an antioxidant contained in cruciform vegetables—on prostate cancer in mice.

They made two radical new discoveries. First, consumption of sulforaphane three times aweek considerably increases the action of NK cells against tumors (by more than 50 percent).Second, tumor-carrying rats that consumed sulforaphane were shown to have half as muchrisk of developing metastases as those that did not.

Take note: Avoid boiling cabbage and broccoli. Boiling risks destroying sulforaphaneand I3Cs.

Recommendations for use: Cover and steam briefly or stir-fry rapidly in a wok with alittle olive oil.


Excerpted from "Anticancer"
by .
Copyright © 2017 David Servan-Schreiber.
Excerpted by permission of Penguin Publishing Group.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Customer Reviews

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Anticancer 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 73 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Being I lived what most would consider a pretty healthy life style and still to have gotten breast cancer, I wanted answers to the many questions I had about changes I could make to increase my chances of no reoccurance. It seemed very difficult to get straight answers from my oncologist. This book provided that for me, backed and footnoted for my fairly cynical mind. This Book is full of useful informations about diet, environment and lifestyle in an easy to read format. Plus it tells the journey of the author a doctor and a survivor himself. It works. It empowered me to feel I can make a difference in my future. I love this book.
Pat-RN More than 1 year ago
I am an RN, and I know the information in this book is physiologically accurate. We have too many people developing cancer, and other diseases at younger, and younger ages. We need to take responsibility for what we put into our bodies. This author shows you why, what we need, and how much. He spent 15 years doing research to examine (among other things) how cancer cells use our poor diet to grow and spread, and how we can prevent many threats to our health. The information is easy to understand the way it is written. I highly recommend this book.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book will make you think about nutrition as it relates to cancer. It might prompt you to consider changing your diet toward a more organic and vegetarian one. Of course, there is more to holistic health than food and this book covers those aspects well. It is relatively easy to read with not a lot of medical terminology so the layman can understand it well. It should be widely read.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I got this book when my mother-in-law tested positive for cancer last month. What I wasn't expecting was to find a new way to look at what I myself eat, the amount I exercise and how I choose to proceive stress. This is a great read for anybody looking to improve their lifestyle. I highly recommend it.
Celeste51 More than 1 year ago
I truly liked this book. I am interested in maintaining good health and helping my family do the same. If you are ready for a change or at the very least - looking in a new direction for health tips - then this book is for you.
KathleenCA More than 1 year ago
I assigned this book as part of a health credit for my 13 and 15 yo homeschooled highschoolers after I read it. Great charts/graphs/diagrams and a heartfelt biography by the author/Dr. who encourages us to have hope instead of fear. This is a book that anyone can read to better equip themselves with the knowledge of how cancer starts and grows and what you can do (diet/exercise/meditation) to lower your risk of developing cancer. I highly recommend this book.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Working with cancer patients for 18 years this book was an absolute page turner. What an absolute factual, heartwarming and sad at times, this book is number one. I will be sharing this one!
kdub25 More than 1 year ago
This book was a little technical and scientific, but the heart of it gives hope to cancer patients and their families. I bought this for my Nook and it wasn't that kind of book. There were charts and footnotes, etc that couldn't be read, so I will buy hardcover or paperback reference books from now on.
JLM53 More than 1 year ago
This is a very readable book written by a psychiatrist who twice developed brain cancer. He was dissatisfied with the lack of information he received on how to avoid future cancer episodes so he started researching cancer. He discovered that even in populations with low incidence of cancer (oriental groups, etc.), people who died from other causes were often found to have microtumors in their bodies and he wondered why they remained small. He searched out information on what limits and what stimulates cancer growth and presents that information in this book. He also discusses why cancer is prevalent (epidemic) and concludes it is due to 3 factors: environmental (pollution & chemicals in our food); the type of food that we eat and the stressful and also sedentary nature of our lives. He gives specific suggestions for lifestyle changes that people can take to improve all 3 of these areas and feels that there are no harmful side effects from his suggestions, only the possibility of improved health. After reading it, I am buying 2 copies of this book -- one for me to keep for reference and lifestyle change and one for a friend who is going through chemotherapy.
Zeke48 More than 1 year ago
This book does a good job of blending Western and Eastern medical approaches to something that scares most people -- cancer. With language that is readable, the author maps out a way of living that helps a body fight off cancer cells. I appreciate the way this book does more than name things that are healthy, such as Omega-3s; it explains why these things are healthy. That gives the book more scientific credibility than any 30 second sound bite you might run across on the TV newscast. This books is well-worth reading for both cancer patients and those who want to support them, but also for all those who want to avoid getting the dreaded disease.
pshealth52 More than 1 year ago
My husband was recently diagnosed with cancer and at one of our appointsments with our hemotology oncologist he mentioned that he was reading this book. I drove straight to the bookstore after the appointment to buy this book. It is MUST reading for everybody. Cancer is not going away.... it is getting stronger. They predict one out of four will be diagnosed with cancer. I saw that U.S. News and World Report also plugged this book in their recent Feb. '09 issue.
livoniagal More than 1 year ago
Every person should read this book and pass the knowledge onto others. This is one of the best researched, well written books detailing causes of cancer and the environments which create it. We can protect ourselves and make significant changes AND CHOICES in our lives and others. Cancer is not a mystery disease and people need to know how they contribute to their health -or not. We are not powerless or at the mercy of disease. We CAN make better choices. The information in this book is not new - what it does is validate with research what we've suspected about the causes of this disease and how we can combat it.
crescentcutie More than 1 year ago
This book should be on every high school reading list. It has a wealth of information about what everyone should consume and not consume to be healthy. The author comments in detail about how profit drives the food industry, regardless of the effect of unhealthy production practices such as corn fed cattle. You might have to wade through the first few chapters, but after that it is hard to put the book down. The title doesn't do the book justice, because the information applies to much more than just avoiding cancer.
drj on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
The author speaks both from the point of view of an educated physician and teacher with many years of practice, and of a cancer patient who has been able to keep his body healthy without remission by paying attention to all possible forms of healing and disease prevention. There is a particularly poignant addendum in the back of the book regarding cell phones - not yet a proven cause of brain cancers but the numbers make it imperative to take precautions in this day of ubiquitous use. It turns out that texting is healthier than prolonged conversations with the phone pressed to your ear. Even though the author's suggestions are common sense (modified diet, physical exercise, and psychological/emotional balance) they are necessary to follow. The cancer epidemic caused by our own disregard for the earth as more than a place to live, but a symbiotic habitat, makes this book a must-read for anyone who wants a healthy life for himself and his family.
St.CroixSue on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This is absolutely the best book that I've read on cancer prevention. Convincingly written by a doctor who was also a cancer patient. The results of many scientific studies of our 'terrain,' or lifestyle, make a powerful statement on what contributes to the growth of cancer and also what helps prevent and slow cancer growth. It creates a heightened awareness of what we eat and how we live.
RefPenny on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This book is written by a doctor, a neuroscientist, who has lived with a brain tumour for 15 years. He has thoroughly researched all types of alternative treatments and presents postive changes that can be made to hold cancer at bay along with the pysiological rationale for these. Interspersed are anecdotes of his own and others' fight with cancer.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I will be giving this book to everyone I love for Christmas.
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This is not just another book on what to eat and what to do for health. It has a story line regarding Servan-Schreiber's own health problem and what he learned from the experience. Turns out that younger folks should be aware of these things before health issues catch up with them.
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