CANCER: A personal challenge

Edited by Dr Bob Rich
ISBN 1-877053-12-0

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Read the Foreword by Andrea Oz,
Director, The National Conference
of Cancer Self Help Groups (UK)
Table of Contents
About the contributors
How to buy this book
Read the reviews

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This book is for you if you want to reduce your chances of developing cancer;
   It is for you if you care for someone who is battling cancer;
   and above all, it is for you if your body is the battleground.

CANCER is a dreaded word. To many people it is synonymous with death.

   And indeed, the most recent statistics show that the lifetime risks of dying from cancer are now 24% for men, and 20% for women. And, frighteningly, 44% of men and 39% of women can expect to develop cancer in their lifetimes.

   But there is hope.

   Read this book to find out how other people have lived and coped with cancer, how they have survived and even thrived.

   Get to understand the enemy, how it is caused, what you can personally do to protect yourself -- and how we must change the world in order to protect ourselves and everyone else from this mostly man-created disease.

   Contributors include professionals with many years of experience in working with cancer, and survivors with inspiring stories: guides in how to cope and what to do.

   This book could save your life, whether you have cancer or not.


by Andrea Oz
Director, The National Conference of Cancer Self Help Groups (UK)

   It is a great privilege to be asked to write the Foreword to this very special book. I am moved and inspired by the content, especially as I know personally some of the contributors and have learned more about them through their stories and articles contained.

   I was very frightened of 'Cancer'. I lost my mother to Leukaemia when in my teens and my father to bladder cancer in my mid-twenties. Conversely, my mother-in-law is a survivor of twenty-five plus years and another friend, who was given months to live, is still with us ten years on. It wasn't until my best friend was diagnosed with cancer that I faced up to all my past experiences properly and finally grieved the suffering and loss of my parents.

   I cared for my friend Margaret, who died a year after surgery for bowel cancer. Twenty years previously she had recovered from womb cancer and it was a great shock for her to be diagnosed again. The responsibility for me was a real test. I could not let my friend down. She knew she was dying and I had to walk to the gates with her. We were 'spiritual sisters' and had been friends for over twenty years. There was nothing we didn't know about each other. Many times on the way to the hospital, I wanted to run, to get away. I felt angry at her for having cancer and putting me and her family through this horror.

   Whilst waiting for her to have a scan, I picked up a newspaper and flicking through, saw a job advertised for a director of a cancer conference. Ironically, I was looking for a new direction, as my job as the International Accountant and Congress Director of a worldwide voluntary organisation was relocating its offices and I didn't want to commute. I applied for the job and immediately felt among friends when I went for the interview. To my delight I was offered the job. I was immediately hooked. I felt a connection to the work, the people and the cause of The National Conference of Cancer Self Help Groups. For the first time in my working life, I didn't look at the clock to see how much money I was earning, but how much time there was left for me to work.

   I saw and see the amount of work that has been done and that needs to be done to improve the diagnoses, treatment, care and service to cancer patients and their families and carers. My first conference saw me creeping to the toilet for a quick weep; tears of loss and tears of gratitude that I was among people who weren't dying of cancer but were living with cancer. The camaraderie, the support, the love, the magical atmosphere of, at that time, 400 people affected by cancer, was mind blowing. It is also life-saving as it has changed the attitudes of many thousands of people over the years, giving them a different outlook on nutrition, health, exercise, positive thinking, and helping to make changes in cancer services. Reasons to live and to share with others.

   This book touches on all aspects of where real recovery lies. It offers the reader, whether a cancer patient, carer or health care professional, tools to live a better quality of life and reduce their chances of developing cancer.

   My mother-in-law was told by her consultant, after a year in hospital with cancer that had spread to different parts of her body, that if she wanted to permanently 'heal her cancer, she had to heal her soul and live a happy, healthy life.' This book shows how to do that.

Andrea Oz
Director, The National Conference of Cancer Self Help Groups

Table of Contents

   A touching poem from a dying girl

   Andrea Oz


Part I: There Is Hope

1. The Meaning of Life and Death
   Bob Rich
   Dale was only 19, but dying of cancer. All he wanted was to go... But Sheila had other ideas.

2. A Pilgrim's Progress
   Victor Smith
   A quick guide to long term survival, by a self-confessed grumpy old man.

3. My Cancer 101
   David Hooper
   How David became a publisher.

4. With Purpose
   Yvonne Rowan
   Yvonne has died twice. Her story will inspire you and take fear away.

Part II: The Facts

5. For The Ones Facing the Dragon
   Oleg Reznik
   A physician gives you an intelligent guide to choosing the right treatment.

6. Psychoneuroimmunology
   Bob Rich
   The scientific basis of the recommendations we give you.

7. A Holistic Understanding of Cancer from an Anthroposophical Perspective
   Siegfried Gutbrod
   A complete guide based on over 20 years of work with terminal cancer patients.

8. Other Factors In The Development Of Cancer
   Carl Stonier
   Carcinogenic chemicals are not the only causative agents. Learn about the rest.

Part III: Living With It

9. "I can't go on, I'll go on"
   Steve Hawley
   'Bloody-mindedness' and a sense of humour go a long way.

10. Surviving Cancer
   Victor Smith
   He can't speak, but he can inspire.

11. The Overwhelming Truth
   Phyllis Phucas
   If Phyllis could survive caring for her terminally ill husband, then there is hope for you too.

12. How Do I Live Without You?
   Cheryl Wright
   Killed by cigarettes -- Cheryl says good-bye to her father.

13. Chinese Birthday
   Bob Rich
   A bitter-sweet little story.

To a Grieving Husband
   Bob Rich
   A poem about hope in despair.

Part IV: Tools For Fighting Back

14. A Little Girl With Wrinkles
   Carl Stonier
   The real magic of guided imagery.

15. The Psychological Management of Pain
   Bob Rich
   Tools that work.

16. Meditation for Health and Healing
   Paul Bedson
   Heal your body by calming your spirit and stilling your mind.

17. Why?
   Bob Rich
   Cancer is more than personal. Industrial society needs to be reformed.

   About 90 of them.

About the Contributors

About the Contributors

Dr Bob Rich

   Bob is an Australian psychotherapist, among (many) other things. He got the idea for this book when his favourite nephew died of cancer, aged only thirty-eight. Also, he has realised, long ago, that cancer is one of the symptoms of the malaise of society. He has been concerned to create a more human-friendly future since 1972, and this book fits into the gamut of his activities that includes environmental activism, cooperative living, personal self-reliance, voluntary poverty and the simple enjoyment of life.

   So far, Bob has been fortunate in that he has avoided cancer. There are no guarantees, ever, but he feels that regular meditation, vigorous physical exercise, an excellent diet and creativity have kept his immune system well fed and happy.

   Bob is a multiple award-winning writer. You can find out about his writing at, his psychological counselling at and his conservation interests at

   He would be delighted to hear from you. If you want to share your reactions to this book with him, send an email to, and make the subject line 'Cancer book'.

Paul Bedson, B.A., B.Acup., B.Couns.

   Paul is the Senior Therapist at The Gawler Foundation and is a qualified counsellor, meditation instructor and natural therapist with many years experience in Mind/Body Holistic Medicine. He has studied meditation in India, Philippines, USA and Australia over a period of twenty years and has been teaching meditation for ten years. Paul brings together a deep understanding of Eastern traditions of meditation coupled with his training in Western psychotherapy.

Siegfried Gutbrod

   Siegfried used to be a high-level executive of a multinational company, but gave it away to work with people terminally ill with cancer, and their families. He worked for many years at the Gawler Foundation. In early 2005, Siegfried moved to southern Africa, in order to work with AIDS orphans.

Steve Hawley

   52 years old former special educational needs lecturer, now retired on medical grounds. Diagnosis of cancer in 1991 radically changed my life. For the past twelve years I have been active in cancer patient user-involvement issues, at a local, regional and national level.

   Initially trained as a graphic illustrator and commercial artist, I have always had a strong affinity with the visual arts. A love of real ale (from micro-breweries) and the traditional British pub has kept me sane during many stressful life events.

   Recent diagnosis of a major heart condition is testing my resolve once more. Currently awaiting surgery, I will no doubt extend my knowledge base and become a champion for both cancer and cardiac patients!

David Hooper

   David Hooper is from Kansas City, Missouri. He attended Southwest Missouri State and graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree. He served in the US Army for almost four years and saw a tour of duty in Vietnam. Pro-Ed published David's set of twenty readers for language-delayed and learning-disabled children that sold approximately 9,000 sets. Instant Fear is David's second novel. The first, Reunions Are Murder, was written with Herbert Shuey under the pseudonym of Ersla McNabb and published by David is married, and has a postgraduate degree from the University of Kansas. He worked in education for years before switching to hi-tech and a position with Electronic Data Systems as a Business Analyst. He is the editor and publisher of Monthly Short Stories, an internet ezine. David loves to fiddle and if not writing, brews beer, or works in his garden.

Phyllis Phucas

   Phyllis is a Registered Nurse working in acute care for babies in the first month of life. For over ten years, she cared for her husband, who had developed prostate cancer that eventually metastased throughout his body. Now that he has passed away, her intention is to devote more time to writing.

Oleg Reznik

   Oleg I. Reznik M.D. is a board certified family physician practicing general and mind-body medicine in Salem, Oregon. He is on staff at Salem Hospital, works at Willamette Family Medical Center doing general medicine, seeing adults, children, doing low-risk obstetrics and hospital work. He also has a private practice where, for patients interested in mental work, he uses mental imagery, dream work, and other phenomenological integrative modalities for healing of a physical and mental illness. He can be reached through his website:

   Dr. Reznik was born in Odessa, Ukraine in 1970. He came to the US with his family in 1988 and shortly thereafter became a registered nurse. He earned a Bachelor's degree in Neuroscience Cum Laude from New York University in 1995. In 2000 he completed Medical School at SUNY Downstate Cum Laude, and went on to a Family Practice Residency Program at SUNY Stony Brook which he completed in 2003, receiving a Resident-Teacher Award.

   A vital part of his education was his nine-year apprenticeship with a teacher of mind-body integrative medicine, Madame Colette Aboulker-Muscat.

Yvonne Rowan

Yvonne writes:

   'I spent most of my adult life raising five children (four of my own and one granddaughter, whom I also homeschooled) and three businesses. When I was nineteen, I started my first business -- by accident -- with twenty dollars. Two more businesses followed my years at University. My so-called midlife crisis came in the form of a career change, and for several years I was a licensed emergency medical technician working on an ambulance and in an emergency room; I was also an emergency dispatcher. It was challenging, often heartbreaking, but immensely fulfilling work. Failing health and a devastating personal crisis forced me to leave that job. As I gradually recovered from both, I recognized that the opportunity was ripe for pursuit of my life-long dream of becoming a professional writer. With a lifetime of amazingly unique and fascinating experiences for fodder, I now spend as much time as possible in front of my computer, not knowing how much time I have left in this life for passing along lessons I have learned, touching hearts, minds, and souls; hopefully contributing some small part to raising the consciousness of my fellow human beings, while entertaining them all the way to the end. I currently have several short projects in the works, and am working on a romantic suspense novel; also my granddaughter and I are working together on a fantasy novel for young adults, hoping to make it a series.

   'In my leisure time -- what there is of it -- I enjoy reading, travelling, crocheting, oil painting, playing the piano, macrame, organic gardening, my pets, my ten (soon to be eleven) grandchildren, and helping others however I can. I'm also trying to learn yoga and t'ai chi, without much cooperation from my body. I keep telling myself that, with or without the cooperation, I'm still the winner! The effort makes me one -- just like with fighting cancer.'

Victor Smith

   Victor says he is an elderly Englishman living in Hampshire. After spending twenty-five years at sea, many of them under water in Her Majesty's grey-painted war canoes, he became a Chef and Restaurateur in civilian life. Following cancer of the throat and early retirement he spent some time painting and writing. He formed a couple of cancer support groups and helped to obtain funding from the National Lottery with which a local Cancer Centre was created. He now enjoys just being 'A Grumpy Old Man'.

Carl Stonier

   Carl Stonier has a MA in counselling from the University of Keele, UK, and is currently writing his Ph.D. thesis, which looks at the relationship between physical health and psychological/emotional health. He has studied the use of guided imagery for people with cancer with Stephanie Simonton in the USA and also with Lawrence Le Shan, one of the world's leading practitioners of the psycho-emotional approach to cancer treatment. In addition to the 'paper' qualifications, he has around 10,000 hours of clinical experience in counselling. He is an experienced supervisor of counsellors and is an approved supervisor of counselling trainees for a number of UK universities. He also has a Diploma in Psychosexual Therapy, a Diploma in Nursing from London University and is a Registered General Nurse and Registered Nurse for people with Learning Disability. He is currently working as a counsellor and psychosexual therapist in private practice and a supervisor, selector and trainer for Relate, the UK relationship counselling organisation.

   Before going into private practice, Carl was a Specialist Consultant in Counselling at Pontefract General Infirmary, in West Yorkshire, UK where he was also a nurse manager. He has lectured in counselling at Bretton Hall College, Wakefield, (now part of Leeds University) and has worked with people with life threatening illnesses (especially cancer) for many years. He is currently a trustee of the National Conference of Cancer Self Help Groups with whom he has been involved for twenty-one years. He facilitates workshops around the country on a number of topics including guided imagery, shamanic journey, healing and tai chi.

Cheryl Wright

Cheryl Wright is an award-winning Australian author and freelance journalist. In addition to an array of other projects, she is the owner of the website and the Writer to Writer monthly ezine for writers. She is the author of Think Outside the Square: Writing Publishable (Short) Stories and I Wanna Win! -- Tips for Becoming an Award Winning Writer. Her romantic suspense novel Saving Emma was released January 2005 by Whiskey Creek Press. Visit Cheryl's website


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