Insider insights on how to manage breast cancer treatment.
In 2011, Maker (College Reading with the Active Critical Thinking Method, 2000, etc.) wasn’t prepared to be diagnosed with breast cancer, which was discovered during a routine CT scan. Nor was she ready to navigate the numerous medical decisions that she now needed to make. Nevertheless, she dove into the process, independently researching mainstream treatments, side effects, and alternative therapies; pressing her doctors to answer her questions; and seeking out second, third, and fourth opinions on the best course of care. Her book is a valuable resource for anyone facing a diagnosis of breast cancer—or, indeed, any other serious health condition. In it, she offers tips on how to navigate confusing health care systems and find assistance from patient advocates and support groups. She also praises integrative oncologists who combine conventional treatments with alternative ones. Her deeply personal story offers a valuable example of a patient speaking up for her own needs and coordinating her own care, and she provides, in an appendix, a helpful list of questions to ask doctors. Later sections delve into her chemotherapy and radiation treatments in great detail. These are sometimes-engaging, as when she describes trying to find a way to save her hair and nails. However, they’re so specific to her unique experience that not all readers will find them useful. The final chapters address diet and other lifestyle changes, such as avoiding environmental toxins, that may help prevent cancer recurrence. Along the way, she also touches on topics such as “pinkwashing,” referring to corporations that support cancer-fighting charities for public relations purposes while manufacturing cancer-causing products. She ends with a compelling call for readers to focus more effort on cancer prevention.
A cogent and detailed look at the realities of cancer care.