The Cancer Revolution: A Groundbreaking Program to Reverse and Prevent Cancer by Leigh Erin Connealy, MD

A Book Review by Marianne W. Cirone, MS, MFA, CYT-500

The Cancer Revolution: A Groundbreaking Program to Reverse and Prevent Cancer, a new book by Leigh Erin Connealy, MD, released in January of 2017, is a comprehensive guide to the many integrative and complementary modalities and strategies which individuals can incorporate into their lives to reduce the risk of cancer and to support healing once cancer is diagnosed. According to Dr. Connealy, when it comes to cancer, conventional doctors are trained to treat their patients exclusively with surgery, radiation, and chemotherapy—but these methods are grueling on the whole body, and they don’t treat beyond the tumor or the cancer itself. The Cancer Revolution provides information on identifying and correcting the root causes of cancer, providing practical steps to get back on the path to healing, and offers hope for recovery and for living a cancer-free life.

Author of The Cancer Revolution: A Groundbreaking Program to Reverse and Prevent Cancer, Leigh Erin Connealy, M.D., has been practicing medicine for thirty years. Dr. Connealy attended the University of Texas School of Public Health, and then attended the University of Health Sciences Chicago Medical School. She completed her post-graduate training at the Harbor/UCLA Medical Center in Los Angeles, CA.

Today, Dr. Connealy is the Medical Director of the Center for New Medicine and the Cancer Center for Healing in Irvine, California and the author of the Newport Natural Health LetterFor more information about The Cancer Revolution, please visit:

Dr. Connealy’s Strategies to Prevent or Reverse a Cancer Diagnosis

Dr. Connealy demonstrates how the use of seven strategies can help support health, before or after a cancer diagnosis. These health-promoting strategies include:

  1. Let Food Be Your Medicine
  2. Remove Toxins to Boost Your Health
  3. Harness the Power of Supplements
  4. Get Moving to Get Well
  5. Reduce Stress and Reclaim Your Life
  6. Strengthen Your Immune System with Sleep
  7. Putting Together a Supportive Healing Team

Dr. Connealy has collected information on a vast array of evidence-based integrative cancer care modalities and provides detailed tips and strategies for building these into one’s own health and lifestyle plan. The average cancer patient treated conventionally would probably not be told of a fraction of these measures, and therefore, this book is very helpful in demonstrating the many evidence-based ways that an individual can potentially support their own health and recovery. As Dr. Connealy says in Chapter 10: “Knowledge is power: You’ll want to start your wellness journey by educating yourself about all of the available treatment options and doctors. No two integrative cancer doctors are alike, and not all will offer exactly the same menu of tools or services.”

Dr. Connealy offers many suggestions that functional and integrative health care practitioners are increasingly promoting in health maintenance and recovery, such as nutrition, exercise and stress management, which may be recognized but given only a cursory nod in conventional medical care. In another recent book, the New York Times bestseller, Radical Remission, Surviving Cancer Against All Odds, the author, Kelly A. Turner, PhD., studied the “Nine Key Factors that Can Make a Real Difference.” The first key factor she found to make a difference in the more than 1,000 cases that she studied was: “Radically changing your diet.” Dr. Connealy also not only includes dietary change as a strategy, she details exactly how to do so, which foods to eat and which to avoid to reduce inflammation and to promote health, and the science behind these recommendations. The book also includes a wide variety of tasty and tempting healthy recipes, including salads, soups, entrees, snacks, desserts and juices created by a nutritionist.

Integrative Strategies for Cancer Care

Integrative medicine ideally looks critically at all types of treatments and modalities, both conventional and complementary, and Dr. Connealy states: “A well-informed and successful cancer doctor should understand conventional oncology as well as the available alternative, natural and complementary therapies, and how to effectively combine them. They should have a bias toward a particular type of medicine—because both chemotherapy and natural treatments have their place in cancer treatment—but should instead understand the pros and cons of each type of medicine and what you will need at each stage in your wellness process.”

Dr. Connealy’s strategies include the creation of a supportive care team that includes an array of qualified individuals. Integrative cancer care is so vast that there is likely no one person who can provide all aspects of the care that may potentially be beneficial, from conventional medical treatments, to psycho-social support, nutritional guidance and fitness instruction. Many of the strategies included in The Cancer Revolution are also supported by the ancient wisdom of Ayurveda, yoga’s sister system focused on lifestyle and health, such as oil-pulling, many of the dietary recommendations and the importance of a healthy and regular sleep cycle, including going to sleep by 10 pm and rising in the early am on a daily basis.

While much of the information offered in The Cancer Revolution is evidence-based and becoming widely accepted in the integrative oncology community, such as the use of green tea extracts or the benefits of meditation, there may be modalities or strategies included in the book that some may consider to be more controversial and/or less studied, or maybe just not right for every person. For example, one of the recommended relaxation techniques is taking a hot bath, which will be terrific for many people. However, for people with lymphedema or lymphedema risk, they may need to use caution with bathing in hot water or perhaps even be advised to avoid it altogether. It would be key to check with one’s own health care practitioner or lymphedema expert to find out what is right for you. Another example of a potentially controversial practice would be the use of coffee enemas. There is not consensus among health care practitioners, conventional or holistic, as to the benefits vs. risks of this practice. A simple search of this practice on Google Scholar shows that the first results include many more warnings against this practice than studies to back it up. Is the practice valid, unsafe or simply not well-studied? Educate yourself and find a trusted team before making a decision.

Resources and Further Reading

The Resources and Further Reading section of The Cancer Revolution provides an excellent array of resources that can be used for educating oneself on the many available products, practitioners and practices that may be beneficial in supporting mind, body and spirit on the cancer journey. The resources include items such as non-toxic personal care and household products, meditation and relaxation CD’s and programs, books on yoga and Tai Chi, the Society for Oncology Massage, and Supplements for Cancer Treatment (whose use happens to be listed as the 4th key factor in Radical Remission). As a matter of course, for the purpose of self-education, readers are always advised to look at suggested sites as well as sites which may have another point of view from the ones offered on a particular list to round out their education on a topic before making choices.

Excerpt from The Cancer Revolution: A Groundbreaking Program to Reverse and Prevent Cancer

See the following excerpt below from The Cancer Revolution: A Groundbreaking Program to Reverse and Prevent Cancer by Leigh Erin Connealy, MD. Copyright © 2017. Available from Da Capo Lifelong Books, an imprint of Perseus Books, LLC, a subsidiary of Hachette Book Group, Inc.

One out of three women and one out of two men in the United States are developing cancer today. Most of us have lost a family member, a friend, or a colleague to cancer, or we know someone who has. Cancer is rampant: The National Institutes of Health has spent over a trillion dollars trying to find a cure, and yet the death rate from cancer is the same as what it was fifty years ago. For instance, one meta-analysis study by three Australian oncologists, the results of which were published in 2004 in the Journal of Clinical Oncology, revealed that the five-year survival rate for cancer of all types and stages is only about 60 percent, and that chemotherapy increases that five-year survival rate by only about 2 percent. Further, conventional cancer treatments, while sometimes useful and necessary, may have the potential to harm some patients just as much as, if not more than, the cancer itself.

Early on in my career, I realized that chemotherapy, radiation, and surgery weren’t enough to cure cancer, and my experience with thousands of patients over the years has solidified that belief. These treatments have their place in the fight against cancer, but by themselves they are inadequate, and when improperly used, can be dangerous. Also, cancer is a disease of the whole person, not a body part, yet most conventional oncologists treat cancer as a separate entity or as a specific problem in the body. They don’t address the entire person or try to discover the root cause of disease; their aim is to kill the cancer rather than heal the body from the inside out. Instead of building up the immune system, which is the body’s most effective and important weapon in the fight against cancer, conventional treatments tear it down and can sometimes create new health problems for the person.

Another reason the mainstream approach is inadequate is neither chemotherapy nor radiation nor surgery can eliminate what are called circulating tumor cells (CTCs) or cancer stem cells (CSCs). These are cells that break off from the original tumor and float around in the bloodstream (a process called metastasis), looking for their next “nest.” CTCs and CSCs are responsible for more than 95 percent of all metastases and cancer deaths, but scientists haven’t figured out a perfect, surefire way to eradicate them, so conventional treatments fall short on this crucial front. Further, these treatments don’t address any of the cancer’s survival mechanisms or the body’s functional imbalances. Cancer is caused by the deregulation of multiple genes, which must be individually targeted by different natural anticancer agents.

Another major con of conventional treatments is they leave patients with a weakened immune system, which in turn increases their risk of cancer re-occurrence, contracting other illnesses, or suffering complications after surgery. Meanwhile, they live in the shadow of a ruthless disease that could return at any time.

Increasingly, cancer patients are also discovering that conventional care, with its five- or six-figure price tag, is not doing what it is supposed to. Many people have survived chemotherapy, radiation, and surgery, only to relapse and have to endure the process all over again. Despite these problems with conventional care, we keep doing the same thing over and over again, and getting the same results. This is the definition of insanity!

Fortunately, I have learned many things about cancer and cancer treatment that I think will encourage you. First, a cancer diagnosis does not have to be a death sentence. Science has provided us with new, cutting-edge tools that not only can accurately detect the disease better than before and earlier on, but which can also help you manage it so that you can live longer and experience a better quality of life.

Second, there are groundbreaking new cancer treatments in integrative medicine that are gentler than what’s found in conventional medicine, and which are unlikely to cause terrible side effects, such as vomiting, hair loss, and fatigue. These treatments are useful, no matter what stage or type of cancer you have, and some can be used even if you just want to prevent cancer.

Finally, research suggests that such factors as diet, detoxification, exercise, nutritional supplements, stress management, sleep, and resolving emotional conflicts can, in some cases, trump any genetic predisposition to cancer. This means that your destiny doesn’t have to be determined by your genes. If you understand this, then you can have a greater likelihood of being victorious over cancer and your health.

In The Cancer Revolution, I will empower you with an amazing arsenal of tools that can help you manage and fight cancer or prevent it from happening in the first place.

We encourage you to keep an open mind, as these tools and treatments aren’t based on fads or some random philosophy. Instead, they are supported by many doctors’ experiences with their patients, and I personally have witnessed some of my patients live long, productive lives as a result of doing them—not to mention the thousands of PubMed articles on these topics. You probably won’t hear about them in mainstream medicine, though, because most oncologists have only been taught to give their patients drugs, and so they don’t understand or know about integrative methods. Also, integrative, homeopathic, and conventional Western medicines are not marketed to the same degree. Since many integrative natural therapies are not FDA approved, they are not advertised as prominently, which means they remain relatively unknown.

Yet integrative medicine is truly beneficial because it marries the best of conventional medicine with new, natural medicine, and is based on the idea that you must treat the root cause of disease, not just the tumor or cancer, and heal the entire person. This approach can produce exceptional outcomes.

Integrative medicine can include treatments from a wide variety of medical disciplines including homeopathic, nutritional, bioenergetic, regenerative, antiaging, and Chinese herbal medicine, along with lifestyle approaches to wellness.

Time and again, doctors who practice integrative medicine have found ways to help leverage the effects of conventional treatments, helping even the sickest of people strengthen their armor against cancer. And as our “best of both worlds” methods have made waves, these clinics have earned a reputation for being compassionate as well as patient because it is time to get to the root of our patients’ problems.

As I mentioned, chemotherapy, radiation, and surgery do have their place in cancer treatment, but they are not enough, because regardless of the healing approach you decide to take—whether conventional or integrative—you still need to support your body before, during, and after cancer treatment. That means doing things like providing it with the nutrition it needs; detoxifying it from environmental pollutants; and protecting it against some of the harmful effects that chemotherapy, radiation, and other harsh treatments unfortunately can impose. It also means addressing all of the cancer’s survival mechanisms, as well as all of your body’s functional imbalances, which conventional treatment alone cannot do.

For instance, you might have low thyroid function, or inflammation, or high blood sugar, or a liver detoxification problem—all of which you would need to treat, along with the cancer, if you wanted to be well. You need to change your internal environment so that it becomes an inhospitable place for the cancer and it has a harder time surviving in your body.

In this book, I will teach you how to do all of these things. Even if conventional treatments alone have failed you, the approaches I will discuss have the potential to help you live a better quality of life. In my personal experience, I have seen many late-stage cancer patients who were told by their oncologists that they had only months or weeks left to live survive longer than their original prognoses. Even if you have a so-called deadly cancer, such as melanoma or pancreatic cancer, you will find tools and treatments in The Cancer Revolution that can help you improve your health and enjoy a better quality of life than you might have otherwise had. But you must first understand a few key things about cancer, including:

  • How it develops in your body and what you can do to interfere with that process
  • How to make lifestyle choices every day that can reduce your cancer risk
  • How to use research to help support a loved one who has been diagnosed with cancer

Notice that my focus here has not been on how genetics factor into cancer risk and recovery. Many of us have been taught that if one of our close family members has or had cancer, then we’re doomed to get cancer by default. But this is simply not true for every individual. The emerging science of epigenetics suggests that our genes are not our destiny. In fact, genes only contribute to 5 percent or less of our cancer risk (according to the American Cancer Society, “only about 5% to 10% of all cancers result directly from gene mutations that are inherited from a parent”). Even so, we can change how our genes are expressed by modifying our lifestyle, such as our dietary and exercise habits; by managing our stress levels, and detoxifying our body from environmental pollutants—just to name a few things. Many of the factors that activate cancer-causing genes and initiate the development of cancer are within your ability to prevent. In The Cancer Revolution, I will show you exactly how to do that.

Editor’s Note

Each individual should use all available information as education as to what integrative modalities are available and then work with a trusted and qualified health care practitioner to evaluate the appropriateness, benefits and risks of each modality in creating a personalized health regimen. The Society for Integrative Oncology (SIO) is also an excellent resource in evaluating individual therapies and protocols. The Journal of the National Cancer Institute Monograph has released a special issue co-sponsored by SIO, The Role of Integrative Oncology for Cancer Survivorship, highlighting original peer-reviewed research in the field of integrative oncology. The SIO developed Clinical Practice Guidelines on the Use of Integrative Therapies as Supportive Care in Patients Treated for Breast Cancer in 2014, and expects to update this document shortly. That said, research is not always perfect, nor up to date, and needs also to be carefully considered as part of a full picture of personalized options.

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