From Publishers Weekly
This breast health handbook, written by talk-show host O'Donnell (whose mother died of breast cancer), Axelrod (a New York City breast surgeon) and health writer Semler, attempts to offer a humorous alternative to other cancer guides. Using a Q&A format, the authors begin with a detailed description of breast anatomy as well as breast-cancer screening and risk factors, and then move into diagnosis, treatment and "aftercare," closing with a quick look at promising new therapies. Axelrod's explanations are comprehensive and accessible; she carefully explains such complex issues as various biopsy techniques and the exact goal of radiation therapy. Without subheads, however, readers may have to scout around to find all the valuable information about, for example, lymphedema, a common side effect of breast surgery dispersed throughout the book. The laughs are intended to come from O'Donnell's mock answers to the real questions. Unfortunately, some may make readers wince: to the question "I have a sore on my nipple. Can it be cancer?" O'Donnell posits, "Don't worry, it's probably just leprosy." Most baffling are the word-searches puzzles that contain terms such as "scar" and "nausea." Unfortunately, the humor and games will be likely to turn off readers well before they can take advantage of Axelrod's information. (Nov.)
Copyright 1999 Cahners Business Information, Inc.
From Library Journal
Daughter of a breast cancer victim, talk show host O'Donnell lends her considerable popularity to this book by Axelrod, chief of the Breast Center, St. Vincent's Comprehensive Cancer Center, New York, and journalist Semler (All About Eve: The Complete Guide to Women's Health and Well-Being). Their idea is to open women's eyes to information that could save their lives while providing a bit of a laugh in the process. And that information, presented here in the form of questions and answers, is excellent. Axelrod covers all aspects of breast health: what is normal, conditions that may require attention but are not cancerous, breast-feeding, etc. She then moves on to cancer risk, diagnosis, treatment options, aftercare, and, finally, "Breast Cancer: The Future." All proceeds go to four leading breast cancer organizations. So what could be bad? Plenty, and it's spelled R-O-S-I-E. O'Donnell contributes jokes, limericks, and songs and responds to each question before Axelrod proceeds. Unfortunately, O'Donnell's sense of humor fails here. Her texts are asinine and embarrassing, e.g., "I have a sore on my nipple. Can it be cancer?" O'Donnell: "Don't worry, it's probably just leprosy." There are a number of books that deal with cancer humorously (e.g., Julia Sweeney's God Said, "Ha!" LJ 6/15/97), but O'Donnell's attempts are more likely to turn off women who would benefit from this book. Recommendation: Buy several copies for your patient health collection and tell patrons to pass over those little caricatures of O'Donnell's head, which indicate her input. They'll feel better in the morning.ABette-Lee Fox, "Library Journal"
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc.