For more than twenty years, Dr. Holland has pioneered the study of psychological problems of cancer patients and their families -- whom she calls "the real experts." In The Human Side of Cancer, she shares what she has learned from all of them about facing this life-threatening illness and what truly helps along the cancer journey. This book is the next best thing to sitting in Dr. Holland's office and talking with her about the uncertainty and anxiety elicited by this disease. And it is a book that inspires hope -- through stories of the simple courage of ordinary people confronting cancer.
Chief of psychiatry at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York City, Holland is one of the founders of psycho-oncology. In this well-rounded guide, she and Lewis (an editor at Healthy Living) provide sensible and clear advice for people living with cancer. What makes this manual different is Holland and Lewis's belief that there's no one style of coping that's right for everyone--instead, they survey a range of available strategies, both physical (e.g., medications) and psychological (e.g., support groups). Antidepressant and antianxiety medications get a lot of attention here--the authors consider them important tools in the fight against not only severe depression, but also fear of surgery and sleeplessness; they are also important in aiding the terminally ill. Though they emphasize traditional Western treatments, Holland and Lewis don't dismiss potentially complementary alternative therapies, like meditation, yoga, acupuncture and aromatherapy. These techniques, they contend, while not proven cures, may enhance quality of life and are particularly useful to those patients who want an active role in maintaining their health. In addition, they recommend lifestyle changes such as giving up smoking, eating a nutritious diet and exercising regularly. Likewise, their discussion of the physical problems that may occur after cancer treatment (including impotence and changes in appearance) is honest and practical. Illus.
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The Human Side of Cancer
Subtitled Living with Hope, Coping with Uncertainty. A better title for the value of this wonderful book. I can't tell you how much this book helped me to understand the emotional processes I have been going through in the past 5 months of diagnosis, chemo, surgery and radiation therapy for breast cancer. I thought I was alone in some of my reactions and scary feelings, but the author actually described each emotion I have had. I strongly recommend this book for all cancer patients and their families or caregivers. Wouldn't hurt the doctors to read it to remind them of how vulnerable their cancer patients are.