Everyone's Guide to Cancer Therapy Revised Third Edition.
Everyone's Guide to Cancer Therapy is a comprehensive assimilation of information relative to the disease of cancer. Included is information pertinent to both physiological and psychological coping. The authors state, "Our aim is to describe in easily understood language the details and consequences of the particular cancer you or someone close to you may be confronting" (p. x). Thus, this book provides clear and precise information for those whose lives are in some way directly affected by cancer. Comprehensive explanations of body processes and functions are presented while ever remaining sensitive to the audience. Explanations are often interspersed with metaphors for clarification of complex body systems, processes, or interactions. Throughout, there is an underlying tone of realistic positivism.
The 95 contributing authors provide an array of expertise specific to cancer prevention, treatment, and research. Additionally, contributors also include specialists in the areas of oncology nursing, counseling and therapy, and care-giving. The book is divided into five main sections which include: 1) Diagnosis and Treatment, 2) Supportive Care, 3) Quality of Life, 4) New Advances in Research, Risk Assessment, Diagnosis and Treatment, and 5) Treating the Common Cancers. These sections are followed by a glossary of medical terms, an alphabetical listing of anti-cancer drugs and side effects, and a resource guide. Additional resource suggestions specifically related topical areas appear throughout the book. The following provides a brief overview of the topical areas.
DIAGNOSIS AND TREATMENT provides an overview of cancer with detailed emphasis placed upon causes, spread and growth, tumor differentiation, and the staging system. Also included in this section are explanations of the processes of diagnosis and specific testing procedures. General categories of treatment are examined including: radiation therapy, chemotherapy, and biological treatment. Newer treatment approaches such as laser therapy, hyperthermic methods, hyperthermic perfusion therapy, and cryosurgery are also presented. Particularly helpful to the intended audience are the numerous illustrations and suggestions regarding: questioning the physician, preparing for surgery, dealing with specific side effects, home nursing and hospice care, and family support.
SUPPORTIVE CARE attends to many of the psychosocial aspects of this disability and includes issues of anger, fear, loss of self esteem, and isolation. While these are not covered in great detail, supportive information and reassurances permit the reader to explore these responses and acknowledge them as common emotional and social reactions to the acquisition of cancer. Other supportive care topics presented include the use of support groups, the benefits of maintaining work and recreation, coping with side effects, and pain control. The discussion of coping is particularly useful in that it is not limited to medical coping but includes a more holistic discussion of health components. Suggestions for emotional coping include counseling, relaxation, and meditation. Other specific problems (such as sexual dysfunction) that may result from particular types of cancer are discussed in terms of the resulting physiological and psychological impediments. Palliative care is presented with a focus upon "living until death" with comfort and acknowledges the benefits of pain relief from several realms including pharmaceutical, psychological, spiritual, and familial.
QUALITY OF LIFE includes an interesting presentation of the relevance of patients' will to live and the interaction of body, mind, and health. The basic tenet is that a positive attitude can increase life appreciation and pleasure. Client stories and quotes are presented in support of positive attitude benefits. Additionally, client self-advocacy, and active participation are encouraged. Recommendations for increasing positive outlook, hope, and individual life meaning are included. Another topic covered in this section is the relevance of stage theory regarding, adjustment to certain impending death. The authors suggest an expansion of the Kubler-Ross (1969) model in order to include patterns of reactions to living with potentially fatal diseases; these include: Disbelief, Discovery, Redirection, Resolution, and Emerging Victorious. Survivorship is likened to returning from a war in that there must be acknowledgment of: life changes, outlook changes, life reassessment, relationships renegotiations, and workplace discrimination. Finally, this section addresses practical matters related to health care coverage and future planning such as: traditional indemnity insurance, managed care, claim submission and denial, medical choices, living wills and durable power of attorney.
NEW ADVANCES IN RESEARCH, RISK ASSESSMENT, DIAGNOSIS AND TREATMENT presents a positive outlook toward future research and cure rates based upon technical advances and the continued acquisition of knowledge pertaining to risk factors, prevention, and early detection of cancer. The process of drug investigation and approval is summarized and includes an explanation of categories of drugs under study. The controversial topic of genetic testing and screening is broached in that genetic screening, risk assessment, and genetic counseling are presented. However, the authors carefully and skillfully bypass the resulting ethical controversies while managing to present the benefits and risks of informed consent decision making. Lastly this section includes resource information on the PDQ (Physician Data Query), which is a computerized information system that supplies the public, health professionals, and patients with the most recent information on cancer treatment, management, screening, and prevention.
TREATING THE COMMON CANCERS is the largest portion of this book and overviews 47 types of cancers in over 400 pages. Each type of cancer includes information on subtypes of the cancer, location of the cancer, spread (rate, most common site of metastasis), known causes and risk factors, screening methods, common signs and symptoms, diagnostic procedures, treatment overview, treatment by stage and type, follow-up treatment, and recurrence potential. Additionally, each type of cancer includes a listing of important questions to ask of physicians. These questions help insure that patients will become sufficiently informed when interacting with health care professionals.
Everyone's Guide to Cancer Therapy successfully conveys understandable, practical, and useable information about cancer and its consequences to the intended population of person's directly affected by cancer. It is comprehensive in nature in that it addresses psychological, social, and emotional reactions to this disability. Overall, it would be an excellent resource book for rehabilitation practitioners and educators as well. This book could be used to supplement medical information courses and assist counselors and clients in their understandings of cancer and its life implications. Finally, the book merits praise for the authors' commendable integration of medical information and psychosocial concerns while maintaining a tone of cautious hope.
Noreen M. Glover Rh.D Department of Counseling and Human Services Rehabilitation Counseling Program Syracuse University