A Holistic Wellness and Rehabilitation Program for Those Who Have Completed Cancer Treatment – Book Review

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“After Cancer Care: The Definitive Self-Care Guide to Getting and Staying Well for Patients After Cancer” (2015) by doctors Gerald Lemole, Pallav Mehta and Dwight McKee is based on the premise that cancer patients would benefit from a rehabilitation program same as cardiac patients. These doctors who work within an integrative care model argue that a well-designed and personalized program which includes exercise, nutrition and stress management would help those who have been treated for cancer live a better quality of life and help reduce the risk for relapses or recurrences. The body, mind and spirit are well-covered in this holistic approach to wellness after cancer.

Although the font was very small in the paperback I read, I was able to read it although I needed my reading glasses! Most people with cancer are aged over 50 so I was surprised to see such a small font.

The nutrition section talks about the use of coconut oil as a recommended choice for cooking. Even though the authors say coconut oil is a saturated fat, they still recommend it. They also do not recommend canola oil. This information is contradictory to what some Canadian dieticians are recommending now. The recipe section near the end of the book also has coconut oil as an alternate for olive oil. These recipes and the advice re: canola and coconut oils should be researched a bit more before making your own choice in what oils you use.

The book has some repetitive information, however, the repeats seem to stress some of the important points. On the other hand, it completely neglected some important topics (or there was very little information on) such as Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) and Mindfulness. The importance and benefits of journalling and writing were not stressed and it would have been nice to see a little more written about that.

The index is not as good as it could be. I found some key terms were missing such as cervical cancer and paillomavirus.

I would have loved to see a listing of “approved” complementary or supplemental treatments, services and modalities. There is a sprinkling of ideas throughout the book, but it would have been nice to have a chapter that explained each idea and the science around them when it comes to wellness and health. It would have also been helpful to see a listing of harmful modalities or treatments.

Chapter 7, “Avoiding Toxins”, was too unrealistic for me. One of the recommendations was to rid your house of your carpets. This is an extreme measure for those of us who have carpets, and it would be a very costly venture. Some of the advice such as using non-toxic cleaning supplies and avoiding toxins in your food (such as mercury in fish) are more realistic goals to achieve. This would have been a good place to add information about HPV and the vaccine.

Chapter 8, which comprises about a quarter of the book, focuses on 11 common types of cancers and the doctors share their “Cancer Protocols” on cancers such as breast, lung and prostate. The cancer I had, anal cancer, was not mentioned in the book, unfortunately.

Overall, it’s a well-edited and researched book with a lot of scientific references in the “Endnotes” section. The “Conclusion” is an excellent reference as it lists 28 points the doctors call “The Quick Hits.” A great book for anyone who has been diagnosed with cancer, is at or near completion of treatment, and is proactive in restoring, maintaining and maximizing his or her health.

Angela G. Gentile

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Angela G. Gentile  MSW, RSW is a clinical social worker and author of the book, “Caring for a Husband with Dementia: The Ultimate Survival Guide”, “A Book About Burnout: One Social Worker’s Tale of Survival” and the “Dementia Caregiver Solutions” app for iPhone and iPad. She lives in Winnipeg, Manitoba with her husband and has two adult children. She is creator of the Facebook communities – “Aging Well for Women” as well as “God, Cancer and Me.” For more information, visit: www.AngelaGGentile.com

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