Beata Bishop’s review
Posted by Jonathan Chamberlain on January 31, 2009
Beata Bishop, author of A Time to Heal, and a long term survivor of metastatic melanoma wrote this review in Network Review, the journal of the Scientific and Medical Network (January 2009):
Since hi-tech modern medicine, wonderful in acute and emergency cases, can only offer symptomatic treatment against chronic degenerative diseases, alternative methods should be objectively examined and, if found effective, widely used. This is the drift of Jonathan Chamberlain’s “Cancer – The Complete Recovery Guide”. The author is a former teacher, now full-time author, with no medical background. But when his wife was diagnosed with cervical cancer 15 years ago, he desperately looked for a book that would contain information on every possible alternative and complementary therapy to help her recover. He found no such book. She underwent all available orthodox treatments and died a year later. He decided to write the missing book – the one under review – himself. His sole purpose has been to inform and educate, not to recommend any of the thoroughly researched .alternative therapies. Like a good teacher, and unlike Professor Ernst, he respects the reader and keeps stressing that everyone must make their own decision as to which modality to choose, and be responsible for that choice. This “travel guide to the strange country of cancer” begins with an explanation of the essence of the disease and its many causes (“It hasn’t come from Mars”); it continues with an objective description of orthodox treatments, their risks and benefits, and ways to reduce their often distressing side effects. Throughout the tone is clear, objective, modest but knowledgeable. It becomes sharper when we reach the subject of cancer research and its many flaws. Ethics and the control of research by drug companies come under dispassionate factual scrutiny. So does the alarmingly close bond between medicine and Big Pharma, as defined by some distinguished doctors outside that bond. All in all, the first 96 pages of this big book give the lay reader the kind of all-round information that is invaluable in health and possibly life-saving once cancer has struck. Chamberlain is not against doctors, only against their lack of knowledge outside school medicine’s tight box. The rest of the book describes a large number of complementary and alternative approaches, including diet, nutrition, herbs and botanicals, biological therapies, energy medicine and more. Entries are arranged in alphabetical order, giving availability and other references but making no claims for any healing potential. Indeed, the all-pervading message to the reader is to read, research, compare possibilities and then choose responsibly – an important reminder in an area where most people are too reliant on “the experts” and too unwilling to do their own thinking. Chamberlain’s chapter on “Cancer Pioneers and Outcasts” shows the heavy penalties suffered by those who dare to step out of line and are more interested in finding new ways of healing than in their career chances. Case histories of recovered patients strike a positive note, just like the benefits of well-run support groups, which diminish the sense of isolation that many cancer sufferers experience.. As a recovered cancer patient myself, I believe that Chamberlain’s comprehensive book is filling a big gap in the available literature on CAM, which tends to concentrate on individual therapies and substances, without presenting all available modalities. This volume is almost too comprehensive, which is why the author has also produced a smaller “Cancer Recovery Guide” (Clairview Books, 2008, £9.95), with only 15 CAM strategies for restoring health, as a quick reference for people in a hurry. My only criticism is. that references are given within the text, not set out and listed in the usual way, and therefore are impossible to find quickly. I hope this will be put right in the next edition. There should be one soon.