When Cancer Hits Home

One of the pleasures of authoring Journeying Beyond Breast Cancer, is the opportunity to review some great books and today it’s the turn of When Cancer Hits Home, a book which bridges the gap between the usual survivor biography and the weightier technical reference books currently on the market.

when cancer hits home

Dr Patrick Maguire

About the Author

This guidebook to the treatment and prevention options for the most common types of cancer, including, breast, colon, and lung, is written by Dr. Patrick D. Maguire, a cancer specialist at Coastal Carolina Radiation Oncology and recipient of the American Cancer Society “Silent Angel” Award in 2006.

Dr Maguire has published multiple scientific articles on the treatment of cancers and with his latest book, he now turns his focus on arming readers with the essential information they need to reduce their risk of cancer and to be knowledgeable about their treatment options. He believes that the empowered patient is the best weapon against cancer.

Dr Maguire’s experience of cancer comes not just from his professional background, but also from first hand knowledge of his own family being decimated by cancer in a short period of time. In his introduction to the book, Dr Maguire writes

Thinking about it all again today keeps it as raw as I can stand. I know cancer. I’ve dealt with plenty of it in my first 42 years, thank you very little.

About the Book

What I liked about this book was the personal mix of patient stories with professional, practical and clear information on the latest treatment options available for the most common cancers. Naturally I gravitated toward the section on breast cancer,  which I found contained up-to-date and well-written information on diagnosis and treatment. I found the clear information on cancer staging particularly helpful and dipping into the other chapters, I could imagine how useful the information would be to patients newly diagnosed with other forms of cancer and indeed it improved my own general knowledge about cancer diagnosis and treatment.

Who Should Read This Book?

Whether you’ve been newly diagnosed with cancer,  or you are worried about your risk and are looking for the best prevention tips,  this book offers a no-nonsense, easy to understand approach to your options – particularly important in an age when we can surf the web and feel we are drowning in a sea of confusing, conflicting messages.

You’d think, with nearly limitless information at most people’s fingertips, that there’s not much need for a book to cover these topics. At least, that’s what I assumed initially. However, I’ve found as both a provider and a consumer of cancer care services for my family, that’s just not the case. Unfortunately, there are countless Web sites and books in print about cancer treatment or prevention that are so misleading as to be potentially harmful (Introduction, “When Cancer Hits Home”).

This book would also be an excellent resource for those working in primary health care; and indeed for family members, who are often just as much at sea when their loved ones are diagnosed with cancer.

For myself, coming up to 7 years after my own diagnosis of breast cancer, I found the section on nutrition and lifestyle changes very useful; and although the possibility of a cancer recurrence  is not something I want to dwell on too much, I nevertheless found it valuable to read the detailed descriptions of what signs and symptoms to watch for.

The chapters are listed alphabetically by disease site for convenient reference. Readers will likely want to first delve deeply into those chapters that are most acutely pertinent to their lives. Other chapters can be read later, to improve general knowledge about cancer diagnosis and treatment. Since many types of cancer are very common, unfortunately most people will have more than one type affect their family and friends during their lifetime.

Being a firm advocate of arming yourself with as much information as you can when you are faced with a health crisis, I believe Dr Maguire’s book to be an important advance in patient empowerment. The late Dr Tom Ferguson, coined the term “e-patients” to describe individuals who are “equipped, enabled, empowered and engaged” in their health and health care decisions. Those who read When Cancer Hits Home can be sure that they too will have taken a major step on this road to empowerment and engagement with their own health.

Click here to read an extract from When Cancer Hits Home 

Book Giveaway

If you would like to receive a copy of When Cancer Hits Home, then simply leave a comment below telling us what being an empowered patient means to you. We will pick one winner at random from your comments.

Check it out on Amazon