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Confronting Hereditary Breast and Ovarian Cancer

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Title:Confronting Hereditary Breast and Ovarian Cancer

Authors: Sue Friedman, Rebecca Sutphen, Kathy Steligo

Publisher:John Hopkins University Press

Reviewer: Mrs Candy Cooley, national genetics awareness programme manager, NHS National Genetics Education & Development Centre

What was it like?

The sub title to this book is “Identifying your risk, understanding your options, changing your destiny” and this really reflects exactly what the authors have attempted to achieve throughout this book. The authors are all survivors of breast cancer and they have a real interest in empowering women to be involved in decision making and in making the right choices for themselves when receiving treatment for their breast and ovarian cancer. It also offers advice and support on how to broach the discussion of inheritance with other family members.


What were the highlights? 

This book has the right balance of good scientific and medical information with personal stories from many women who have had cancer, are survivors of a cancer diagnosis or who are previvor’s (have a family history or known genetic mutation). There are also a number of “Expert View” vignettes usually from doctors with expertise in inherited cancers. At the end of each chapter there is a “What to remember about…” with quick chapter aide memoirs and “Learn more about….” References to further reading

Strengths & weaknesses:

The strength of this book is also its potential weakness. It is so comprehensive and covers so many possibilities that it could be quite overwhelming if you were currently coming to terms with a diagnosis of inherited breast or ovarian cancer. However 17 years after the identification of the BRCA 1 and BRCA 2 this is a comprehensive and authoritative guide to how treatments and options have completely changed and developed for these women and their families. 

Who should read it?

This book is primarily aimed at woman with or at risk of an inherited form of breast and ovarian cancer. However for nurses working in this field or with an interest in all forms of breast and gynaecological cancer this is an insightful and informative read.

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