4 out of 4 stars
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I have never heard a more personal story involving the medical field than that of Sylvie Beljanski’s in her book Winning the War on Cancer: The Epic Journey Towards a Natural Cure. This book tells the story of Sylvie’s father, molecular biologist Mirko Beljanski, and Sylvie’s personal mission to carry on her father’s work in promoting a natural treatment for cancer. After suppression of Mirko Beljanski’s findings by the French government and his subsequent death, his daughter, Sylvie, promised to continue his mission of promoting the life-saving extracts he developed and getting them into the hands of those who needed them. Sylvie took the mission to the United States and created the Beljanski Foundation. With help from doctors and scientists that believed in her father’s work, Sylvie managed to have the extracts accepted as a viable treatment for cancer by some of the most prestigious organizations in the United States. Her story is one of hope and inspiration.
When I began to read this book, I thought it was going to be an informational read filled with statistics and technical medical jargon. Instead, what I got was a colorful, emotional, and at times suspenseful personal account of a woman’s desire to make her father proud and help others. While this book does make use of medical terminology and statistics, it is woven throughout the narrative in such a way that it adds to Beljanski’s story rather than take away from it. For someone who is not interested in the medical field, Beljanski managed to make me care about the various studies and experiments. I found myself rooting for her success in attempting to make these treatments mainstream. Most importantly, I found myself wanting to get involved in the cause.
The characters and locations described in this book had me hooked from the beginning. I found myself getting excited about the extracts with Beljanski’s father, crying with her mother, and becoming furious with her husband. Beljanski succeeded in giving these characters a personality mainly through dialogue. These characters brought the story to life. The different locations also lent color to the story. This story takes place in several different locations, but my favorite was Beljanski’s trip to the Amazon to source bark from the Pao pereira tree. This part of the story was so vividly described that I could actually see and feel the intense and uncomfortable conditions Beljanski experienced. These aspects of the narrative mixed well with the informational aspects of the book to create a seamless transition from story to statistic and back.
Some parts of the book were a little repetitive at times. For example, the cost of dietary supplements and herbal remedies is reiterated throughout the book, and twice in the introduction alone. I can appreciate that this information is important and it is close to Beljanski’s heart, but the redundancy of some of the information was a bit overkill. This is a small issue, but it did take me out of the story.
Winning the War on Cancer is the story of one woman’s emotional journey to inform the world of the fact that there are safer and possibly more effective ways of treating cancer than traditional Western medicine. This book is well-written, heartfelt, and gives the reader a wealth of medical information that many people need to know. Despite the repetitiveness of some of the information, I rate this book 4 out of 4 stars. I never thought I would enjoy reading a non-fiction book about the medical field, but there is a first time for everything!
Winning the War on Cancer
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