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Some real news and help for women facing breast cancer treatment--nearly smothered in a jumble of patient case histories and physician vignettes. The book centers on the work of Leslie Strong, a breast cancer surgeon and founder of the Breast Health Program in New York City--which aims to teach women preventive measures (such as self-exam) and, when breast cancer is diagnosed, educate them as to treatment choices. Strong is a fierce advocate of the two-step procedure of biopsy before breast cancer surgery (rather than the old procedure of carrying out a mastectomy--as part of the same operation--following a positive biopsy), and a proponent of minimal surgical treatment. Thus, he favors lumpectomy over mastectomy, and simplified or modified mastectomy over the radical mastectomies that removed chest wall muscle as well as breast (causing disfigurement and occasional disablement). Strong also comes out, through Moss, in favor of breast reconstruction after mastectomy surgery. But, regrettably, Moss nearly loses these basic messages in an avalanche of detailed case histories (whose characters keep reappearing, elusively, in chapter after chapter), while Strong emerges--doubtless unintentionally--as often overbearing and unsympathetic. ("" 'I'm coming to that,' said Strong. 'Please just listen and pay attention.' "") Readers can get the good news, without the annoyance of contrived storytelling, from Mary Spletter's A Woman's Choice (1982).

Pub Date: Nov. 1st, 1984
Publisher: St. Martin's