Lillian Wilson

The Cancer Code by Dr. Jason Fung

‘The Cancer Code’ by J. Fung offers a fascinating look at the history, complexity, and emerging paradigms of cancer.

The Cancer Code

The book has gotten 4.46 ⭐️ on GoodReads.

Cancer is a formidable adversary that continues to affect millions of lives worldwide. According to World Cancer Research Fund International, ‘there were an estimated 18.1 million cancer cases around the world in 2020.’ In the face of such staggering numbers, understanding the complexities of cancer becomes paramount in our pursuit of effective prevention and treatment strategies.

Dr. Jason Fung’s book, ‘The Cancer Code’, explores the enigmatic disease that has plagued humanity for centuries. With an insightful blend of scientific research, historical context, and personal anecdotes, Dr. Fung takes readers on a journey through the evolving understanding of cancer, unravelling its mysteries and challenging long-held beliefs.

Author’s background

Jason Fung is a medical doctor, nephrologist, and renowned author who has gained popularity for his massive contribution into themes of obesity, diabetes and cancer. He is the author of several books, including ‘The Obesity Code’, ‘The Diabetes Code’ and ‘The Cancer Code’.

Jason Fung (r)

As an obesity and diabetes specialist, Fung focuses on treating the cause of the disease rather than just treating the symptoms. In addition, he has advocated against conventional approaches to treating type 2 diabetes, arguing that they are ineffective and harmful to patients.

What is the book about?

The Cancer Code’ is a captivating book that provides an overview of the history and understanding of cancer. Dr. Fung explores various questions that have long intrigued us: What are the causes of cancer? How does it develop and progress? What are the traditional and emerging treatments?

The author also emphasises that humanity has made huge progress in various fields, including medicine. However, there was very little progress made in cancer treatment despite all the funding.

The first three parts of the book present three cancer paradigms. Each paradigm reflects the evolution of our understanding of cancer.

According to Cancer Paradigm 1.0, cancer was seen as a problem of growth, with imbalances in the body causing the proliferation of useless body mass. The cure involved cutting out tumours and irradiating affected areas, but it often proved fatal and failed to address cancer’s growth in other parts of the body.

Cancer Paradigm 2.0 saw cancer as a genetic problem. Extensive research was conducted to unlock the genetic causes of cancer and develop treatments. Some specific cancers had high success rates with certain treatments, but overall, chemotherapy remained a relatively primitive countermeasure.

Cancer Paradigm 3.0 adopts an evolutionary/ecological view of cancer. Rather than solely focusing on genetic factors, researchers now examine the circumstances that activate cancer cells.

The succeeding parts deal with the role of nutrition and hyperinsulinemia in cancer development and treatment as well as types of medical cancer treatment like immunotherapy.

Dr. Fung does not tend to sugarcoat how difficult the cancer treatment is. In ‘The Cancer Code’, you will not find a list of superfoods or diets claiming to enhance natural cancer resistance. Instead, he discusses how insulin and glucose are connected with cancer growth mechanisms. Food fuels disease inadvertently. He explores the benefits of intermittent fasting, such as how it increases the body’s ability to sustain cells, raises the bar for defective ones, and removes asocial cells before they become harmful.

The list of contents

  • Dedication
  • Part I: Cancer as Excessive Growth (Cancer Paradigm 1.0)
  • Chapter 1: Trench Warfare
  • Chapter 2: The History of Cancer
  • Chapter 3: What Is Cancer?
  • Chapter 4: Carcinogens
  • Chapter 5: Cancer Goes Viral
  • Part II: Cancer as a Genetic Disease (Cancer Paradigm 2.0)
  • Chapter 6: The Somatic Mutation Theory
  • Chapter 7: Cancer’s Procrustean Bed
  • Chapter 8: The Denominator Problem
  • Chapter 9: A False Dawn
  • Part III: Transformation (Cancer Paradigm 3.0)
  • Chapter 10: The Seed and the Soil
  • Chapter 11: The Origins of Life and the Origins of Cancer
  • Chapter 12: Tumoral Evolution
  • Chapter 13: Cancerous Transformation
  • Part IV: Progression (Cancer Paradigm 3.0)
  • Chapter 14: Nutrition and Cancer
  • Chapter 15: Hyperinsulinemia
  • Chapter 16: Growth Factors
  • Chapter 17: Nutrient Sensors
  • Part V: Metastasis (Cancer Paradigm 3.0)
  • Chapter 18: The Warburg Revival
  • Chapter 19: Invasion and Metastasis
  • Chapter 20: The Strange Story of Cancer
  • Part VI: Treatment Implications
  • Chapter 21: Cancer Prevention and Screening
  • Chapter 22: Dietary Determinants of Cancer
  • Chapter 23: Immunotherapy
  • Epilogue
  • Notes
  • Index
  • About the Author
  • Also by Jason Fung
  • Copyright
  • About the Publisher

Key takeaways from the book

1Preventing/treating obesity and diabetes is more effective in cancer reversal than any superfood diet

Preventing cancer is not as easy as relying on a miracle food or diet. Although some studies suggest certain foods may offer some protection, the main strategy for dietary cancer prevention is to avoid conditions like obesity and type 2 diabetes, which involve high insulin levels.

2Intermittent fasting – a promising cancer prevention approach

Intermittent fasting shows promise as a nutritional approach for cancer prevention. It helps protect against risk factors like obesity, type 2 diabetes, and inflammation. Unlike low-carbohydrate diets that only reduce glucose and insulin, fasting affects various nutrient sensors and growth pathways, promoting processes like autophagy and mitophagy. A recent study even found that women who fasted for fewer than thirteen hours per night had a higher risk of recurrent breast cancer, highlighting the potential benefits of longer fasting durations.

3Genetics play a limited role

While many people assume that genetics is the primary cause of cancer, the book reveals that only around 25% of cancers can be attributed to genetic factors. The majority of cancer cases are influenced by environmental and dietary factors. This challenges the common misconception that cancer is solely a genetic disease.

Strengths and weaknesses, according to readers’ reviews


  • The topic of cancer is presented in a comprehensive way. The book provides a thorough and comprehensive overview of the history, development, and understanding of cancer. It covers various aspects such as causes, treatments, and the evolving paradigms in cancer research.

  • Engaging storytelling. Dr. Fung’s storytelling ability makes the book captivating and accessible to both laypeople and professionals. He presents complex scientific concepts in a clear and engaging manner, keeping readers interested throughout the book.

  • Incorporation of diverse perspectives. Dr. Fung explores the intersections of genetics, evolution, nutrition, and environment, providing a multidimensional understanding of cancer.

  • Balanced approach. The book takes a balanced approach, acknowledging both the progress made in cancer treatments and the limitations that still exist. It offers a critical examination of current treatments, highlighting their strengths and weaknesses.


  • Lack of concrete recommendations. Some readers may find the book lacking in specific actionable recommendations for lowering cancer risks. Instead of providing clear guidance on what to do or avoid, the book focuses more on the complexities of cancer and the various factors involved.

  • Potential for information overload. Given the comprehensive nature of the book, some readers may feel overwhelmed by the amount of information presented. The intricate details and scientific explanations may be challenging to digest for those seeking a more concise and straightforward overview of cancer.

Best quotes from ‘The Cancer Code’

“High levels of insulin/IGF-1, as seen in obesity and type 2 diabetes, not only encourage cell growth but also block the natural running of the apoptosis program, powerfully increasing growth signaling.“ 
“Animals exposed to intermittent fasting showed a striking benefit in mitochondrial networks.“ 
“Active cancer cells guzzle the glucose much faster than normal surrounding cells, and the PET scan picks up these hot spots.“

Final takeaway

The Cancer Code’ by Dr. Jason Fung is a captivating and thought-provoking exploration of the intricate nature of cancer. Through a meticulous analysis of scientific research, historical context, and personal anecdotes, Dr. Fung challenges traditional beliefs and sheds light on the multifaceted factors contributing to cancer development and progression. While it may not provide definitive answers or simplistic solutions, this book serves as a starting point for a deeper understanding of the disease and encourages readers to question established paradigms.

The Cancer Code’ is a must-read for anyone seeking a comprehensive perspective on cancer and a desire to empower themselves with the knowledge to navigate this challenging terrain.

Where to buy

You may purchase ‘The Cancer Code’ on Amazon at the best price. It is available in Kindle, paperback, and audio versions, so you are free to choose the format that suits you best.

Healthypedia FAQ

The book emphasises the importance of preventing and treating obesity and type 2 diabetes as a key strategy for cancer prevention.

‘The Cancer Code’ highlights intermittent fasting as a promising approach for cancer prevention due to its potential to protect against risk factors such as obesity, type 2 diabetes, and inflammation.

Link is copied