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Living With Cancer: A Step-by-Step Guide for Coping Medically and Emotionally with a Serious Diagnosis

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’The book would be an asset to any palliative care unit as the information would benefit students, trained staff and members of the multi-disciplinary team.’

Title: Living With Cancer: A Step-by-Step Guide for Coping Medically and Emotionally with a Serious Diagnosis

Authors: Vicki A Jackson, David P Ryan and Michelle D Seaton

Publisher: Johns Hopkins UP

Reviewer: Jean Kelly, nurse practitioner in palliative care, West Midlands Hospice

What was it like?

The book takes the reader on a journey from diagnosis, through treatment regimens to dealing with hopes and disappointment and finally with death. Part 1: Making sense of your diagnosis - covered the biology of cancer, types of tumour and how to prepare for treatment. Part 2: Managing symptoms and side effects - discusses different types of treatment and side effects, weight loss and fatigue. Part 3: Dealing with progressing cancer – revisits some topics such as pain but from a different perspective. Communication, relationships, loss of hope and choice of care are discussed. There are useful tips on questions to ask during consultations and examples of coping strategies. Well written and informative.

What were the highlights?

The authors are all credible, a chief oncologist/haematologist, a chief of palliative care and a medical writer. Working within the specialism of palliative care has been invaluable in providing a viable source of knowledge on this topic. Empathy is shown throughout and the informative sub-sections provide an emotive journey of choice for the reader.

Strengths and weaknesses:

Weaknesses - The book uses American terminology regarding some medications and documents which are not applicable in this country. The start of the book following the preface became lengthy and repetitious as there was too much emphasis on the authors’ roles. Patient scenarios were given as examples throughout however at times these were overused (Section 7), wordage could have been better utilised on helpful ideas or signposting. Strengths – The focus was on the patient throughout, and how to get the best from every aspect of consultation, treatment, supportive care and planning for end of life. The format is easy to follow with minimal graphics and provides the reader with the opportunity to glean useful information from each part.

Who should read it:

The book would be an asset to any palliative care unit as the information would benefit students, trained staff and members of the multi-disciplinary team. I also feel the book would be useful source of information for patients and volunteers.

living with cancer

living with cancer

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