Title: The Cancer Survivors Club
Author: Chris Geiger
Publisher: CKG Ventures Ltd, 2012
Reviewer: Jane Brown, patient safety advisor, Worcestershire Acute NHS Trust
What was it like?
This book is an assortment of wonderful stories of people who have had cancer and lived to tell the tale.
The stories are written by either the cancer sufferers or from the relative’s point of view. It tells of just how much the person wanted to live. This is a feelgood book with a message of hope.
All too often you read about someone who has “battled” with cancer and sadly never made it. Some of the cancers described are household names others are more unusual.
Just what would you do if you were dealt the cancer card?
What were the highlights?
The author is not just telling a tale of others who were affected, but that he too has had cancer and come through the other side.
The story about Mark, who had bowel cancer, gave me quite a jolt. The diagnosis he described was as a way out – a familiar story of work being the focus, and unable to see the wood from the trees. Just how many of us out there don’t have a work life balance? And what a wake-up call it was for him.
It is a really humbling book with cancer suffers thanking the reader for taking the time to read their personal story.
The end of the book has an added bonus. It sums up each and every person who contributed their story to inform the reader, where they are now, many living each day to the full, raising money, for charity, living in different parts of the world and most importantly cancer free.
Strengths and weaknesses:
These are real people’s stories warts and all; they are not journalists or authors.
The author gives people who may have no experience of writing, the chance to email him as he proposes a bi annual publication, and reassures the potential survivor that he will tidy up their written story if they are not writers, so they may have a chance to share their valuable story with others.
There are a few pages of websites and blogs to help the reader who may require further information.
For me it was a privilege to be allowed to share their stories, there was tears and some I even had a chuckle. It is not all doom and gloom.
Who should read it?
This is book for everyone, and as part of World Cancer Day on the 4 February (which by the way occurs every year and since reading this book, I will ensure I make people aware) this book needs to reach out to the masses.
Within healthcare everyone who deals with patient, deals with some form of cancer regularly in their working career.
Students must read this as part of their curriculum, whether it is nursing, doctors or allied professionals it has to be on their reading list. We need to give our patients with cancer a reason to keep going, not all will make it, but they need hope and understanding. We as healthcare professionals need to understand.