Sun Tzu's The Art of War for Cancer


Sun Tzu's The Art of War for Cancer

Sun Tzu's The Art of War for Cancer

The specter of cancer is inside all of us. It is part of human pathology; and, with the advent of modern scientific western medicine, the likelihood of encountering this form of pain and anguish will only increase due to our extended life spans. Cancer treatments remain the realm of guess work, a concoction of chemical poisons, radiation, and pills variously combined to jolt the body into submission. But, whether the cancer wins the battle or we do, in the end, seems little more than a random victory of will power and luck.

How do you deal with cancer as a patient, loved one or care giver?

Twenty-five hundred years ago, when Sun Tzu presented the lectures from which the original text of The Art of War was taken, he had no idea his words would form the basis for a book dealing with cancer care and treatment decisions. The original book was a short treatise [thirteen chapters, with 25 to 50 paragraphs in each chapter] on strategy and tactics associated with provincial warfare among feudal states in China. The content of the manuscript includes no reference to any considerations outside of warfare. Yet, the philosophy underlying The Art of War, because it deals primarily with decision-making under stress, is remarkably appropriate for the purpose of handling difficult and challenging decisions, no matter the time period or the subject involved.

Jeff Carter was inspired to write the book because right now he is dealing with his wife's battle with stage IV metastatic breast cancer. He is the bestselling author of No Limit: The Texas Hold'Em Guide to Winning in Business.

Donald Krause wrote the Wall Street Journal best Seller - The Art of War for Executives: Ancient Knowledge for Today's Business Professional.

Sun Tzu's The Art of War for Cancer
Authors: Jeff Carter and Donald Krause


Interview with Jeff Carter

Question: Can you talk about the inspiration behind the book, Sun Tzu's The Art of War for Cancer?

Jeff Carter: The inspiration came from love and my personal feeling of being an inadequate caregiver. I reflected on my own investigation into books about cancer. My feeble attempts in the weeks following the diagnosis –meant to find guidance for what I might face, how I might support my wife, what to expect – were all ending in frustration.

Almost everything I read disappointed me. I fancy myself a man of action, and yet everything I read offered no way to take action. All of these materials suggested that hugging your loved one, holding them, bringing them peace was all I could do. It seemed as if I was expected to just let her fade away.

My own inability to find peace from those earlier books inspired me to imagine a different way. On the evening of January, Friday the 13th, I took a scrap of paper and sketched out an idea for a book that would need to be ready in exactly four months, on her birthday. That book is The Art of War for Cancer.


Question: Please send our best wishes to your wife. How is your wife, currently?

Jeff Carter: Thank you, she is staying positive and racing each day, attempting to make it to the next day while preserving as much quality of life as possible. With such pervasive recurrence she needed a radical treatment. Dr. Tiffany Traina and the oncologist team at Sloan Kettering Memorial in NYC and Forsyth Medical in Winston-Salem, North Carolina are fantastic.

Most breast cancer cells may need the hormone estrogen to grow. That's why they may be called estrogen-dependent or estrogen-receptor positive (ER+) cancers. A component of the treatment chosen by Sloan is AROMASIN, a hormonal therapy, meaning it interferes with the normal function of estrogen. AROMASIN can lower the amount of estrogen in postmenopausal women by 98%. Less estrogen may mean less risk of estrogen-dependent tumor growth.

Since she is not post-menopausal, they also give her a shot of Lupron. Lupron (leuprolide) is a man-made form of a hormone that regulates many processes in the body. Leuprolide over stimulates the body's own production of certain hormones, which causes that production to shut down temporarily. Lupron reduces the amount of testosterone in men or estrogen in women. Finally, she is given a shot of Xgeva. It is used to treat osteoporosis (a condition in which the bones become thin and weak and break easily) in women who have undergone menopause ('change of life;' end of menstrual periods) and have an increased risk for fractures (broken bones) or who cannot take or did not respond to other medications for osteoporosis. These injections (Xgeva) are used to reduce fractures from cancer that began in another part of the body but has spread to the bones.

All of these together combine to form an advanced type of clinical trial. So far the results have been great – after 90 days all tumors reduced in size, a tiny bit but still significant. Thank you again for the kind thoughts


Question: What advice do you have for those who have become a care giver to a loved one who has been diagnosed with cancer?

Jeff Carter: The specter of cancer is inside all of us. It is part of human pathology; and, with the advent of modern scientific western medicine, the likelihood of encountering this form of pain and anguish will only increase due to our extended life spans. Cancer treatments remain the realm of guess work, a concoction of chemical poisons, radiation and pills variously combined to jolt the body into submission. But, whether the cancer wins the battle or we do, in the end, seems little more than a random victory of will power and luck. Eastern medicine, with its possibilities of mind over matter, offers some -relief of belief,' but this is relegated to the universe of miracles.

So what do we do? Deal with cancer now as if you have it; prepare yourself so that you can help others through it; and, gain the insights you need to come to grips with immortality, pain, hope, despair, miracles.

All of that said, being a caregiver is one of the most traumatic jobs a person can ever be given. You are watching the transformation of a person you love, right in front of your face. Sometimes they are not the person you know – sometimes they are. In between are moments of extreme joy and sadness.

My best advice for caregivers is paradoxically to 'care for yourself." I suggest completely restructuring your diet, exercise and mental rest periods through yoga or meditation. The toll care giving takes on you physically and mentally can be crippling. If you do not take care of yourself, you have zero chance of helping your loved one through the most important challenge of his or her life.


Question: How has Sun Tzu's The Art of War influenced your approach to cancer?

Jeff Carter: Twenty-five hundred years ago, a Chinese general named Sun Tzu created a framework for making decisions in military battles titled The Art of War. When Sun Tzu presented the lectures from which the original text of The Art of War was taken, he had no idea his words would form the basis for a book dealing with cancer care and treatment decisions.

His original book was a short treatise [thirteen chapters, with 25 to 50 paragraphs in each chapter] on strategy and tactics associated with provincial warfare among feudal states in China. The content of the manuscript includes no reference to any consideration outside of warfare. Yet, the philosophy underlying The Art of War, because it deals primarily with decision-making under stress, is remarkably appropriate for the purpose of handling difficult and challenging decisions, no matter the time period or the subject involved.


Question: Can you talk about the importance of having Donald Krause work with you on this book?

Jeff Carter: Don is a wonderful human being who I have been blessed to meet and learn from over the past few years. Surprisingly, we met online, have collaborated exclusively through email and phone on two books and have never met face to face! We plan to change that this summer and meet for dinner with the families.

Success is an art form that few can master. But countless business professionals have looked to Sun Tzu as their mentor and gained a competitive advantage from his classic wisdom. His ancient principles of war, reinterpreted for the modern businessperson, offer the skills to gain an advantage and achieve success in the workplace-and the strategies to win at work when battles arise.

Donald G. Krause has 30 years of experience with Fortune 500 companies, smaller businesses, health care organizations, the U.S. General Accounting Office, as well as his own firm. Mr. Krause is a seasoned lecturer and educator. He was voted educator of the year for 1999 at Robert Morris College in Chicago, IL. He is also the author of The Way of the Leader, Musashi's Book of Five Rings for Executives, No-Limit and Wall Street Journal Best Seller – The Art of War for Executives. Working with a best selling author is one of the gifts I treasure most in life.


Interview by Brooke Hunter


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