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62 of 63 people found the following review helpful
Format: PaperbackVerified Purchase
Dr. Link has written exactly what his title promises: a manual that will educate women on how to survive a diagnosis of breast cancer. He teaches us how to pick a team of specialists, how to make adjuvant therapy choices, management of side effects, diet. etc. Dr. Link is a practicing internist and oncologist, founder of the Breast Center in Long Beach, California, and also director of the Pacific Coast Breast Center in Torrance, California.
The author treats women with breast cancer, rather than having survived the disease himself, so the `Survival Manual' is a less personalized account than, say, "The Breast Cancer Companion" by Kathy Latour. It is written with one degree of separation, and teaches rather than consoles.
For example, he writes, "I think it is helpful to understand the mechanism of hair loss with these drugs so you realize its true temporary quality," rather than, "When our hair starts to fall out, it is yet another violation of our bodies and one that most women felt was much more visible and hard to conceal than the loss of a breast." (quoted from "The Breast Cancer Companion" by Kathy Latour.)
Dr. Link's writing style is very much exemplified by his introductory quotation: "Nothing in life is to be feared. It is only to be understood---Marie Curie."
This is a very direct, honest book that can help women with newly-diagnosed breast cancer, "understand their situation and develop a plan to optimize a cure." It contains questions at the end of each chapter (called `checkpoints') that women should ask themselves during each stage of diagnosis and treatment, e.g. "Who is in charge of my surveillance after the end of treatment?" at the end of the chapter entitled, "Fear of Recurrence."
There is a good list of further breast cancer resources at book's end, including an Internet site with Dr. Link's continuing updates to this manual (breastlinkcare).
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39 of 39 people found the following review helpful
on November 2, 1998
Format: Paperback
Some people may be daunted by the size and detail of Dr. Susan Love's Breast Book, the current bible on breast cancer, and want instead a quick, clear, handy-dandy smaller guide to the issues. This may well be the book for them. John Link is an oncologist at the Memorial Care Breast Centers at Long Beach Memorial and there's a touch of boosterism for his clinic, but that's OK. I'm more bothered by the fact that he deals in authoritative pronouncements without a single reference to the underlying research. These things aside, there's a lot to like. A better explanation of your pathologist's report than I found in Love, an excellent chapter on Diet, Exercise, Herbs and Vitamins, and the only explanation I've encountered so far as to why chemo makes your hair fall out. A warning, which also applies to Love's book: those tumors depicted in the chapter on staging (p. 46) are not drawn to scale - they're tinier. But there is an earlier figure on p.23 that shows the true size of a "1 centimeter" tumor. Remember too, this book is for beginning breast cancer; it has relatively little to say about recurrences and metastases.
Will appeal to: most patients and family supporters, either those with little patience for protracted reading, or those who just want to hear a second voice.
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28 of 28 people found the following review helpful
on August 23, 1999
Format: Paperback
I bought this book recently after my girlfriend was diagnosed with breast cancer. THE BREAST CANCER SURVIVAL MANUAL is informative and easy to read. I feel empowered understanding the disease as well as the options my friend has with the up-to-date method of treatment.
I highly recommend this book to anyone, including friends or family members of those who have just been diagnosed with breast cancer. It also should be the first book to read for anyone who wants to be informed about breast cancer and the current treatment.
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24 of 25 people found the following review helpful
on September 26, 1998
Format: Paperback
A breast cancer diagnosis puts a woman's life into a free-fall. Dr. Link explains how to take charge of a situation over which you feel you have no control. He has offered a concise, up-to-date compilation of information necessary for a pro-active role in breast cancer treatment. He lets women know in understandable language that there are options available and helps sort throught the facts in order to make intelligent, informed decisions.
I discovered Dr. Link's book AFTER I had been diagnosed and had already received a second opinion on my own. He helped me sort throught the maze of chemotherapy treatments, and gave me the confidence I needed to make the right choices for me. I was so impressed with his book that I have donated copies to our local hospital to be given to women at the time of initial diagnosis.
If you are facing this nightmare of a journey, take this book with you...
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19 of 19 people found the following review helpful
on October 1, 1998
Format: Paperback
The information in this book gave me the knowledge to understand what was before me; my options, new procedures, and the long term outlook. It enabled me to question my doctors and understand what they were proposing. Specific info on new techniques (sentinel node biopsy) led me to question my doctor about it and ultimately seek it out for myself. Having read Susan Loves book ( which is also excellent) I would have to say that Dr. Links book is a better starting place for information and understanding. It is written in a manner and style that is easy to read, understand, and use as a catalyst in planning what to do after you get the diagnosis. Dr. Link also gives you the information necessary to understand the pathology/biopsy reports. In short, Dr. Link gives women the power to be in control and take charge of their treatment options.
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23 of 24 people found the following review helpful
on September 4, 2001
Format: PaperbackVerified Purchase
This small book packs a lot of punch. No other books go into as much detail on how chemotherapy medicines work, or why medicines are combined the way they are. This book is meant to empower women through the tough decisions, and throughout the entire treatment cycle. Not much time is wasted on outdated statistics or information, and the book recognizes the limits of printed paper and recommends worthwhile websites.
The chapters on side effects, menopause, and nutrition are especially cogent. Highly recommended.
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18 of 18 people found the following review helpful
on June 13, 2001
Format: Paperback
I read this book the week before my biopsy and found it surprisingly reassuring. It is a comprehensive, easy-to-read overview of breast cancer and its treatments, covering everything you need to know as a newly-diagnosed breast cancer patient. It is a good first read for people who don't feel ready to go into the level of detail and complexity of Susan Love's book, but need to understand the cancer they are facing ASAP. The style is very practical, with checkpoints at the end of each chapter to help frame questions for your doctors. It quickly made me feel more in control so I could begin to think about next steps, as well as understand the lingo and the goal of different treatments.
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16 of 16 people found the following review helpful
on December 30, 2004
Format: PaperbackVerified Purchase
After getting them for my mom, I highly recommend this book and his other one ("Take Charge of Your Breast Cancer"). There's quite a bit of overlap, but I wouldn't want to be without either one.

I wish we had read this book before we rushed into surgery. It discusses some situations in which chemo is done BEFORE the surgery, with the advantage that you can see whether the chemo is working or not by how much the tumor shrinks. Often less radical surgery is then necessary. Too late now...

Also recommended for many helpful tips and a warm tone (but it's about a year less up to date than this book): "Just Get Me Through This". A great overview and starting place before the books by Dr. Link.
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16 of 16 people found the following review helpful
on March 22, 2001
Format: Paperback
When I was diagnosed, I knew this was the book I needed from these words in the opening paragraph of the inroduction: "...we ask women to become immediately educated and make critical decisions ...at a time of immense crisis... [They]need a direct, informative, honest approach to the choices they are asked to make..."
With this book as an information guide, I was able to understand the options and protocol particular to my diagnosis. This is a must read for every newly diagnosed patient and those who support her.
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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
on September 11, 1998
Format: Paperback
As a personal trainer and post-rehabilitation specialist I have worked with many breast cancer patients. This book is an easy to understand, comprehensive compilation of information that patients and their families NEED to know. Particularly refreshing were the sections on seeking additional diagnosis opinions and participating fully in your treatment plans. Too often the patient is left out of the loop and ends of a "victim" of their treatment. The author explains what you should and shouldn't be included in, and why.
I found this a quick and simple read. Perfect for the spouse, parents or children of the patient. I read it in an afternoon and then referred back to it as needed. I bought it for a client and am now recommending it to all my breast cancer clients. Great book!
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