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Pancreatic Cancer A Patient and his Doctor Balance Hope and Truth

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Title: Pancreatic Cancer. A Patient and his Doctor Balance Hope and Truth

Authors: Michael J Lippe and Dung T Le

Publisher: The John Hopkins University Press

Reviewer: Jane Brown, patient safety advisor, Worcestershire Acute NHS Trust

What was it like?

This is Michael Lippe’s story – he was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in 2007. The book is narrated by Michael and Dr Dung, his doctor who treated him. This is an extremely positive book, from the person perspective. The patient explains about his diagnosis with stage IV pancreatic cancer and survived to tell his story. His journey takes him with his wife and doctor Dung through prognosis and the prospect of death, through to symptoms and treatments along with the highs and lows that a person will experience.

This book is inspiring and makes the reader realise life is precious but all too often could be too short.

What were the highlights? 

The refreshing element of this book is the fact this is written by the person with pancreatic cancer and the doctor treating him. There is perspective from both parties and I found this to be unusual in a book but also powerful. It offers clear explanations of what the disease is and discusses current treatments that are available and research taking place.

This is a success story as in the end Lippe survives this ordeal.

It is well referenced and the reader is able to gain further knowledge from the literature.

The medical information is pitched at a level, whereby the reader will understand and not be put off as in some texts where the reader is confused by too much medical jargon.

Strengths & weaknesses:

This is a well written and easy book to read. It is brief but that makes it more of an enjoyable read. The chapters are well set out; there are informative diagrams and includes the patient’s actual CT scan and biopsy, which was interesting and for readers who have no medical knowledge this may help to aid and visualise what these tests are.

Lippe describes just what a toll this disease had on his family and wife, this aids the nurse/practitioner to understand just what a patient and family actually go through.

The reader should bear in mind this is written in US and potential patients will need to discuss with their physician possible treatments and tests available in the UK.

Who should read it?

This book is a must for all health professionals who care for patients with pancreatic cancer, whether they have a little or a good working knowledge of this disease. This book would also benefit patients who are adjusting to a diagnosis of pancreatic cancer.


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