SURVIVING BREAST CANCER by Carole Spearin McCauley
Kirkus Star


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Science writer McCauley, with her own experience of (benign) breast and other organ tumors, writes compassionately about all aspects of breast cancer. The first part on current research, alas, brings little comfort. So many theories, so many leads, nothing conclusive. Perhaps to counter the research confusion, she leans a little too heavily on nutrition theories and accounts of personal cure through will and diet. Interspersed with the factual chapters are sensitive interviews with women of all ages and varying experience with breast cancer. These give some indication that paternalistic medicine is fading. Doctors are beginning to talk more openly to patients, and even entertain the patient's options. (For example, a biopsy first and then a waiting period, should the pathology show malignancy, rather than the brutal recovery from surgery minus a breast.) McCauley is firm on patient's rights, on reading consent forms carefully, and on learning as much as possible about the kinds of breast cancer and treatments available. She agrees with Cope, Crile, and others that there is virtually no need for the classic radical mastectomy. She is up-to-date in her presentation of the new combined chemotherapies and on the use of estrogen blockers for hormone-dependent cancers. Helpful advice is provided on prostheses, plastic surgery, and exercise, plus some concluding words on psychological factors and the imagery schools of therapy in which cancer patients work to reduce stress and improve their sense of control over cancer--all of which make for an upbeat ending. Few books--of the many accumulating in this area--offer such thorough and well-balanced coverage of the state of the art and the state of women as this one.

Pub Date: Feb. 26th, 1979
Publisher: Dutton