James Metz, MD
Abramson Cancer Center of the University of Pennsylvania
Last Modified: November 1, 2001
|Author: Donald R. Yance, Jr.|
Publisher: Keats Publishing
OncoLink Rating: NOT Recommended
Herbal Medicine, Healing & Cancer has been placed on the OncoLink NOT RECOMMENDED list for a number of reasons. First of all, the book makes broad and sweeping conclusions, many of which are inaccurate and without any scientific basis. The reader may even conclude that conventional cancer treatments are bad and not very effective, that all physicians treat patients like robots, and that medicine is only a business looking to make money off of cancer patients. Mr. Yance clearly tries to play on the emotions of cancer patients throughout the book.
The author claims to be a "certified nutritionist and clinical master herbalist" who specializes in the treatment of cancer patients. He has no formal training in the realm of cancer care, evaluation of cancer patients, or the intricate aspects of conventional cancer therapy. He states that the book "is based on my own firsthand experiences in helping people who are dealing with cancer." He then goes on to state that "drawing on my twelve years of experience in working with cancer patients, I have included in this book only proven and safe remedies for the prevention and treatment of this dreaded disease." Unfortunately this statement is false because the author goes on to describe a litany of herbal treatments for cancer, which are considered unconventional because they have not been proven to be effective. The reader is also led to believe that all natural substances are safe and have no side effects. This, of course, is not true. Just because something is natural does not mean it is safe and without potential side effects.
The author even states that "in many cancers (and for certain people), I am confident that natural modalities can be more effective than a combination approach" (with conventional cancer treatments). This is clearly misinformation that can be detrimental to cancer patients. Unconventional medical therapies, including the herbs discussed in this book, have by definition NOT been proven effective for the treatment of cancer. The statement that they may be more effective than conventional therapies is misleading. The author goes on to attack the medical establishment with statements like "I see many toxic, sometimes barbaric, treatments that only add to the burden of suffering that a client is already enduring." This is clearly an unfair generalization and an attempt to frighten patients about conventional therapies that have proven efficacy in the treatment of cancer.
There are countless instances of misinformation that can be noted in this book. For instance, the author recommends the herbal combination of PC-SPES for the treatment of prostate cancer and states "PC-SPES, along with a few other supplements and some diet modifications, can be, I believe, a complete cure for prostate cancer, at least for the majority of men?.I am not convinced that prostatectomy or radiation are curative in metastatic or local prostate cancer." In reality, there are effective treatments that may significantly prolong the life of patients with metastatic prostate cancer. Radiation therapy and surgery are treatment options that have been shown to CURE localized prostate cancer in numerous scientific trials. These therapies are considered the standard of care for localized prostate cancer.
It is unfortunate that a notable personality such as Martha Stewart has endorsed a book which may lead to the delay of conventional treatments that are effective in the treatment of cancer. Herbal Medicine, Healing & Cancer is clearly a book with misleading information that is NOT RECOMMENDED for OncoLink users.