What To Do If You Get Colon Cancer: A Specialist Helps You to Take Charge and Make Informed Choices
By Paul Miskovitz, M.D. and Marian Betancourt
John Wiley & Sons, New York 1997
Reviewed by Amy Kelly
Written in part by a gastroenterologist, What To Do If You Get Colon Cancer is a guidebook that takes newly diagnosed colorectal cancer patients on a detailed journey and walks them through every step of the way. The book is broken up into three parts: Discovery, Treatment and Recovery. Within each part are subsections — finding what you need is easy and fast in this 211-page book.
The Discovery section begins with an overview of colorectal cancer (CRC). From a descriptive guide through the digestive system and the colon wall to the risk factors and symptoms, this book will help the patient to understand his or her body. Discovery then moves on to diagnosis and staging, and offers suggestions on how to become an informed patient, from selecting a physician and treatment center to finding emotional support.
Part Two of this book focuses on treatment. In this section, Miskovitz and Bentacourt discuss surgery, chemotherapy, radiation and support. Patients will learn about side effects and what they can do to ease or prevent them. Patients' expectations of surgery, chemotherapy and radiation are also addressed in detail. This section concludes with a non-medical aid to treatment and patient support.
Recovery is addressed in the final part of this book. The authors offer information on how to take charge of your follow-up care. Often, post-surgical patients are left saying, "Now what?" But not with this book in hand. The authors provide concrete suggestions on staying healthy, communicating with physicians, sorting out the myths from the facts about supplements and lifestyle, living with a colostomy, adjusting to going back to work, reversing sexual side effects, and preventing your family from a future CRC diagnosis.
The book concludes with a comprehensive resource list, including where you can find additional information about colorectal cancer, financial assistance sources, patient support, insurance coverage, as well as the laws about medical records. The authors include a book and video list, and, finally, a glossary of CRC related terms.
If there were a colon and rectal cancer book for dummies, this would be it. The CRC patient should grab a copy of this book and keep it in hand from Day One. Caregivers and family members will also find this book a wonderful resource.
Amy Kelly is a co-founder and Vice President of the Colon Cancer Alliance. A member of her family is a CRC survivor.