Concise, thorough and up-to-date, this American Cancer Society guide offers concrete help to women who have been diagnosed with cancer of the reproductive system. Runowicz (a gynecologic oncologist at Montefiore Medical Center in New York City), Petrek (a breast cancer specialist at Memorial-Sloan Kettering Hospital, also in New York), and Gansler (director of health content at the ACS) have a wealth of information and experience to impart—they have arranged it so that women suffering from the first shock of diagnosis and their supporters can find the specifics on their situation, easily absorb the information, and make a plan on how to proceed. The guide, divided into four sections, covers the female organs where most cancers occur (breast, cervix, uterus, and ovaries). For each, the authors explain normal structure and function, detail how cancer occurs, describe in detail diagnosis, testing and staging of the disease, and then treatment. Surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation are still the standards of treatment; hormone therapies relatively new to the arsenal are discussed here, along with realistic information on side effects. Throughout, the language is understandable without oversimplification, the tone is matter-of-fact. An invaluable resources list points readers in the best direction for research into individual situations—from medical options (including front-line experimental possibilities) to daily support. This is the best type of self-help: sound information as a starting point for seeking treatment.
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