“You have the power” is the main message in this new book, The Definitive Guide to Thriving After Cancer, written by two cancer survivors. The focus of the book is not just how to survive, but also how to thrive after cancer by using a truly integrative approach to support and enhance your body’s five critical pathways. We had the good fortune to catch up with authors Dr. Lise Alschuler and Karolyn Gazella as ask them about their new book.
What made you decide to write this book?
This book is a companion to our earlier book, The Definitive Guide to Cancer. In that book, we focused providing comprehensive information about cancer and an integrative approach for the newly diagnosed. We heard from readers that there was a need to write a book specifically designed for people who have already gone through cancer treatment and want to recover their health and reduce their risk of recurrence. We wanted to empower survivors beyond their treatment and throughout their journey to remain cancer-free.
As cancer survivors ourselves, we have been on a mission to help ease the suffering caused by this illness. We wanted to write this book to give readers a scientifically valid, practical way to thrive well beyond their diagnosis and treatment. Our plan is called Five to Thrive® and this book provides sustainable, easy-to-follow advice on how to implement the Five to Thrive Plan.
How is this book different from other cancer books?
First of all, as cancer survivors ourselves, we provide a uniquely personal perspective. In addition, one author is a naturopathic doctor specializing in integrative cancer care and the other author is a research journalist specializing in integrative health information. This distinctive combination brings in a scientific emphasis that most cancer prevention books do not have.
The book is also different because it describes an actual plan that readers can follow and implement. There is nothing radical about the advice; rather it provides readers with sustainable strategies they can incorporate into their daily lives.
If you had to give just one recommendation for cancer survivors, what would it be?
We are asked this question a lot and the answer is always the same: movement! Physical activity is perhaps the closest thing we have to a “magic bullet” when it comes to lowering the risk of cancer recurrence (lowering risk of an initial diagnosis and improving overall survival odds with a diagnosis of cancer). Studies demonstrate that exercise lowers the risk of dying from cancer significantly, in some cases by more than 60 percent! One study showed that men over age 65 who exercised vigorously had a 74 percent lower risk of dying of prostate cancer.
When we are physically active, we impact health on a wide variety of levels. We also positively influence all five key bodily pathways that most strongly influence health: immune, inflammation, insulin resistance, hormones, and digestion/detoxification. Exercise also helps people maintain a normal body weight, which is absolutely critical to cancer prevention. Research indicates that men who are overweight increase their risk of dying from prostate cancer by 34 percent and women who are overweight more than double their risk of dying from breast cancer.
What are the most important takeaways from your book?
We can influence how our genes behave and in so doing, we can dramatically affect cancer risk. The most effective way to influence our health is to focus on five key areas of living: movement, diet, dietary supplements, rejuvenation, and spirit. Within each of these areas, we provide five key strategies that can have the most impact. The strategies were prioritized based on whether or not they can positively influence all five key bodily pathways: immune, inflammation, insulin resistance, hormones, and digestion/detoxification.
The most successful cancer risk reduction plan needs to be sustainable. Five to Thrive is a plan that can be maintained for a lifetime, not only to help prevent cancer but also live life with vibrant exuberance.
During the heat of the cancer battle, survival is paramount. But at some point, our thinking shifts and we realize that survival is not the only goal. Thriving is the ultimate objective. To thrive after cancer is to live a vital, meaningful life. By focusing on movement, diet, dietary supplements, rejuvenation, and spirit, we can have the vital life after cancer that we yearn for!