The author, Dr. Nasha Winters, has an interesting perspective. As both a naturopathic integrative oncologist and a cancer survivor, she has professional and personal experience with the disease that is ravaging more and more people each year.

To craft the nutrition-based treatment outlined in this book, Dr. Winters teamed up with nutritional therapist Jess Higgins Kelley. Together, they present their “optimal Terrain Ten protocol to reboot cellular health,” which aims at the prevention and on going treatment of cancer.

An Alternative Perspective on Treating Cancer

The Metabolic Approach to Cancer starts out by setting the stage, reminding us that cancer directly affects almost half the US population, and by the end of each and every day, approximately 1,600 cancer patients die. It then explores the two conflicting points of view on treating cancer: conventional versus holistic treatment. But the crux of the book, and Winters’ perspective, is best summed up by this Hippocrates quote, referenced in the book:

Illnesses do not come upon us out of the blue. They are developed from small daily sins against Nature. When enough sins have accumulated, illnesses will suddenly appear.

Dr. Winters considers the body as one interrelated, integrated system and believes cancer comes from the body being neglected at some level via nourishment, physical stress, psychological stress, or a combination of those stressors. She explores the following widely accepted 10 hallmarks of cancer to make the distinction between how cancer is viewed and treated by western medicine versus her naturopathic protocol.

The Ten Hallmarks of Cancer

  1. Sustained proliferation: cancer cells stimulate their own growth
  2. Insensitivity to antigrowth signals: cancer cells resist signals telling them to stop their own growth
  3. Evasion of apoptosis (cell suicide): they resist cell death
  4. Limitless replicative potential: they multiply almost limitlessly
  5. Sustained angiogenesis: they stimulate the body to supply nutrients to itself
  6. Ability to metastasize: able to spread throughout the body
  7. Reprogramming of energy metabolism: able to switch from normal respiration to aerobic glycolysis
  8. Avoidance of immune destruction: difficulty being destroyed
  9. Tumor-promoting inflammation: uses inflammation to promote development and growth
  10. Genome instability and mutation: the cancer cells evolve

Western medicine treats cancer once it’s already within a body (chemo, surgery, radiation). Despite years and billions of dollars invested in quests for cures, very little progress has been made. In fact, cancer is on the rise. Dr. Winters believes cancer is not a single “thing” but instead a cumulation of many issues that lead to the formation of cancer in the body.  Thus, she believes in treating the body as a whole, identifying and addressing the physiological and emotional elements (think stress, diet, and pre-existing medical conditions) that require balance and optimization in order to halt or even prevent the cancer process. She calls this protocol The Terrain Ten.

The Terrain Ten

The Terrain Ten is a set of treatments that are meant to be implemented together to treat and heal the patient as a whole, mind and body. According to Dr. Winters, it ensures you provide the body with the right therapeutic nutrition to positively impact metabolism, create an inhospitable environment for cancer, and remove negative dietary and physical lifestyle factors. The best part? These treatments, which follow, aren’t just for after you get cancer, they’re preventative, too. In her book she will walk you step-by-step through…

  1. Genetic, epigenetic, and nutrigenomic modifications
  2. Blood sugar balance
  3. Toxic burden management
  4. Repopulating and balancing the microbiome
  5. Immune system maximization
  6. Modulating inflammation and oxidative stress
  7. Enhancing blood circulation while inhibiting angiogenesis and metastasis
  8. Establishing hormone balance
  9. Recalibrating stress levels and biorhythms
  10. Enhancing mental and emotional well-being

Traditional Medical Perspective

Dr. Nasha Winters provides plenty of citation to support her beliefs and treatment protocols, and the integration of naturopathic medicine is slowly gaining ground in traditional medicine.  But there are still many clinicians who focus on treating the disease instead of the cause.


The Metabolic Approach to Cancer  ($21.35 in hardback) is a thought-provoking book that helps you understand why cancer and its treatment are not a one-size-fits-all, not to mention how lifestyle choices play an integral part in our health and sickness. It emphasizes how to lead a healthy lifestyle and arm your body with the tools it needs to avoid or fight off illness, rather than just suffer from it. So if you’re interested in exploring the healing powers of nutrition or are looking to turn over every stone as you explore cancer-treatment options, you’ll get a lot of proverbial food for thought from this book and its cited literature, research, and real-life anecdotes.

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