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Book Review: Jason Fung’s “Cancer Code”

Member Forum >> Food and Diet >> Book Review: Jason Fung’s “Cancer Code”

Bob Niland

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Posted: 6/17/2021 3:03:04 PM
Edited: 6/24/2021 6:22:25 PM (3)

The Cancer Code
A Revolutionary New Understanding of a Medical Mystery

Review edition: 2021-06-17

Dr. Jason Fung
Published: 2020-11-10
368 pages in hardcover
ISBN-10: 0062894005
ISBN-13: 978-0062894007

The Amazon page has the Look-Inside feature enabled, including a full Index. The book title on AMZN also has “…(The Wellness Code, 3)” after “Mystery”, so this book is presumably positioned as part of The Code Series, with the prior books being: The Obesity Code and The Diabetes Code (which I have not read).

As is customary for my book reviews on The Undoctored Inner Circle site, the read was undertaken to determine if this book (TCC) might provide health benefits beyond what’s expected by someone already following the latest program advice here. The reader of this brief review is presumed to be following Undoctored or 2014+ Wheat Belly.

The Ud/WB programs presently only address cancer from a prophylactic perspective. The Ud/WB diet and lifestyle is expected to be effective at reducing cancer risk, but there is to date no Advanced Topic, or Protocol, for dealing with a cancer once it arises, or if a new member arrives with a diagnosis.

So then, worth a read?

  • Yes: if you are interested in major developments in conceptual frameworks for cancer etiology (major progress in treatment would be greatly aided by having a correct disease model)
  • Yes: if you (or someone you know) needs further motivation to step away from standard diets and/or cancer triggers (e.g. smoking)
  • Yes: if you know someone with a cancer, who suspects that their oncologist is not to up-to-date on existing treatments (or is mired in SMT — this book trashes SMT dogma)
  • No: if you are on program here, and looking for additional high-return things to do to mitigate risk
  • No: if you are looking for the long-awaited magic bullet

What TCC Is About

The book contains a very useful history of medical understanding about cancer, and a frank update on the real (ACM) stats, circa 2019-2020. It has a nice roll-up of known triggers (called “causes”), and effective treatments. It has an overview of some treatment strategies in development.

It breaks the etiological history down into three eras, referred to as paradigms. I’m not widely enough read on cancer to know if #3 is original to Dr. Fung.

  1. Excessive Growth era
    ancient times to mid-20th century
  2. SMT (Somatic Mutation Theory) era
    from the discovery of DNA until Human Genome Project raised doubts, and The Cancer Genome Altas (TCGA) confirmed the genetic chaos — a very few cancers fit this model (and have effective treatments as a result), but the vast majority do not
  3. Evolutionary Model (aka single-cell atavism)
    2010+, drawing the striking parallels between the official (8) Hallmarks of Cancer and the normal behaviour of single-celled organisms, pointing out that metastasis is a full-time (not just late-stage) phenomenon, and that cancers can often mutate faster than they can be targeted

The book nicely lays out why glycolysis is more advantageous for cancer than Ox-Phos metabolism, and why the excess lactic acid byproduct is also an advantage.

The book points out that {FDG} PET scan is used in 80% of cancers (what I refer to as the glycophyllic cancers). This aligns with a running theme in the book that the elephant in the room, and the main reason for the adverse cancer trends, is obesity (and by implication, metabolic syndrome, although metsyn does not appear in the Index). The book contains no specific dietary advice, relying on Dr. Fung’s other books for that.

Another thing that doesn’t appear in the Index is "Seyfried". Dr. Fung’s cancer model skips right over the recent metabolic mitochondrial theory of cancer, casually mentioning that many cancer cells, despite their mutations, have seemingly normal mitos. Dr. Fung is also generally not enthused about using low carb (or keto) as a primary therapy.

What Else Wasn’t Found

  • Microbiome
    This term is also not in the Index, but actually does appear in the book (page 283), representing a missed opportunity to enhance immunity and further optimize metabolism.
  • Optimized micronutrients
    There is a section on failed trials of various supplements. I didn’t drill down into them, expecting to find the usual dietary confounding, sub-clinical dosing, if not PIs deliberately designing for failure. Well … I did look at one, the ViDA study on D3, which used the preposterous 100,000 IU once-a-month.
  • Fiber
    The book specifically missed an opportunity on this, as the discussion (p186-188) was just about “dietary fiber”, and cited studies apparently oblivious to prebiotic/insoluble/resistant fiber.
  • T-cells
    are identified as key in immune system contributions to cancer resilience, but “With age, the immune system generally weakens…” (page 299), an opportunity was missed to explore things can be done to directly address that (such as reversing thymic involution).
  • Lactic Acid
    The more acidic pH environment that tumors create is explained, but no caveats are offered on conjectured alkaline therapies. Indeed, the book might have included a terse appendix list of known-to-not-work alt-med therapies, but did not.
  • Bottom Line: Action Items, or lack thereof
    For someone already following Jason Fung’s advice to date, there’s not much to engage on, as one of the AMZN comments unsurprisingly points out.

Bob Niland [disclosures] [topics] [abbreviations]


Kathy in OK

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Posted: 6/17/2021 3:28:25 PM
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