Foreword Reviews

Living with Cancer

A Step-by-Step Guide for Coping Medically and Emotionally with a Serious Diagnosis

Patients at any stage of this disease will find rich, useful information that can help them cope more effectively.

Many cancer patients find themselves feeling confused and adrift after a diagnosis, according to the authors of Living with Cancer. Struggles to understand medical jargon while dealing with thorny emotional issues can make cancer treatment into a difficult, and often wrenching, experience.

By developing this readable and comprehensive guide for patients, their families, and other caregivers, the authors have done a great service to those affected by cancer. They draw on their experience creating a unique program at Massachusetts General Hospital, in which topics like symptom management, treatment decisions, and coping mechanisms are blended together for each patient to thrive physically as well as emotionally.

Vicki Jackson, MD, MPH, is chief of palliative care, while David Ryan, MD, is the chief of hematology and oncology, and medical writer Michelle Seaton brings her experience writing nonfiction into play. The combination of these three areas of expertise is powerful, and each provides reassurance along the way. One of the most challenging aspects for any serious diagnosis is a feeling of being alone, or being uncertain about what’s next. The authors excel at being clear, honest, and insightful about topics like preparing for treatment, the biology of cancer, controlling side effects like nausea, and living with advanced cancer. To their credit, they don’t shy away from the topic of death, either, but approach it as they likely have to with many of their patients: with respect and clarity.

Most notably, Living with Cancer is written in a tone that is spot-on for conveying the seriousness of a cancer diagnosis while still offering hope and encouragement. Patients will get straightforward advice on everything from constipation to sexual health to depression. Patient stories are sprinkled throughout the chapters and help to put the information into even more of an accessible perspective.

For anyone who has been diagnosed with cancer, or for those who have friends or family facing this illness, this guide will be an extremely invaluable reference. Patients at any stage of the disease will find rich, useful information that can help them cope more effectively with their illnesses.

Reviewed by Elizabeth Millard

Disclosure: This article is not an endorsement, but a review. The author of this book provided free copies of the book to have their book reviewed by a professional reviewer. No fee was paid by the author for this review. Foreword Reviews only recommends books that we love. Foreword Magazine, Inc. is disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255.

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