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The Chemotherapy Survival Guide: Everything You Need to Know to Get Through Treatment [Paperback]

Judith McKay , Tammy Schacher RN OCN MSN
4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (37 customer reviews)

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Book Description

May 1, 2009 1572246219 978-1572246218 Third Edition

When you're facing cancer treatment, it's easy to feel overwhelmed and alone. Between the hospital or clinic environment and the medical terminology used by doctors and health care professionals, you may feel as though you've entered a foreign country.

Written by two experienced oncology nurses, this compassionate and comprehensive guide explains in plain English everything you need to know about your treatment, including what you can expect at each stage of chemotherapy and what you can do to prevent or minimize side effects. Packed with practical suggestions, nutritional advice, relaxation skills, and other techniques to help strengthen your body and calm your mind, The Chemotherapy Survival Guide is a must-have resource for anyone navigating this difficult time.

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The Chemotherapy Survival Guide: Everything You Need to Know to Get Through Treatment + The Cancer-Fighting Kitchen: Nourishing, Big-Flavor Recipes for Cancer Treatment and Recovery + Anticancer: A New Way of Life
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Editorial Reviews


“One of the best books available for teaching patients how to cope with the challenges of cancer treatment. Everything, including how to understand diagnoses, treatment plans, and emotional and social challenges, is beautifully written in layman’s terms so the patient can become an active partner in his or her own treatment. A must-read.”
—Judith Shepherd, MSW, DSW, social worker at Alta Bates Summit Comprehensive Cancer Center

“The previous edition of this comprehensive, well-written guide was enthusiastically received by patients, nurses, and physicians. This updated edition is even more valuable. It contains information relating to all aspects of a potentially difficult and frightening diagnosis. The suggestions for symptom management are practical and constructive.”
—Martha A. Tracy, MD, oncologist at Northern California Hematology Oncology Consultants

“This new edition of The Chemotherapy Survival Guide provides patients with practical ways to empower themselves, from beginning preparations for treatment to issues of survivorship. Its down-to-earth philosophy is an invaluable guide for health care providers who educate cancer patients.”
—Quan Thai, RN, MSN, OCN, oncology nurse practitioner

“Besides being well organized and easy to read, The Chemotherapy Survival Guide has been a great comfort to me during my chemotherapy. It's the book I reach for when I get those late-night worries and questions.”
—Susan Smith, cancer survivor

The Chemotherapy Survival Guide should be read by all patients diagnosed with cancer as well as their families. It offers valuable information about cancer and the various approaches to therapy in addition to practical advice. This book will help readers understand the decisions they face, how to cope with the disease, and the treatments they will undergo.”
—Michael Cassidy, MD, medical director at Alta Bates Summit Medical Center Cancer Program

“Overall it is an excellent and comprehensive approach. The Chemotherapy Survival Guide is well written and organized in a way that I think will be readily understandable for people without medical backgrounds.”
—Raymond Liu, MD, hematology and oncology specialist

“The information presented is easy to follow and understand. The book gives readers a detailed look into the cancer treatment process. It will help ease patients’ fears and their loved ones’ anxiety and stress, especially at the beginning of treatment.”
—LC, oncology nurse

From the Publisher

This fully revised and updated edition of The Chemotherapy Survival Guide provides chemotherapy patients with everything they need to know about treatment, including what they can expect at each stage and what they can do to prevent or minimize side effects.

Product Details

  • Paperback: 280 pages
  • Publisher: New Harbinger Publications; Third Edition edition (May 1, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1572246219
  • ISBN-13: 978-1572246218
  • Product Dimensions: 8.9 x 5.9 x 0.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (37 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #44,831 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
28 of 28 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A practical road map for getting through chemo March 17, 2010
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Who could better write a book on chemotherapy than two chemo nurses from Alta Bates Hospital in Berkeley, one with over 25 years experience as a chemo nurse involved in patient education and the other with several years as an oncology-certified nurse and family nurse practitioner? These ladies are on the front lines, in the trenches, so to speak and they know all the questions and all the tricks you need to deal with chemotherapy. If you or a loved one are facing cancer treatment this is a good primer on what to expect and what you can do to lessen the effects and just get through the ordeal with your sanity intact. It starts with a short primer on cell life and cancer cells and goes into an explanation of some of the types of chemotherapy and treatments. They give you an idea of what to expect and how to cope with the side effects that may or may not occur. It's good to know what's normal and what isn't, when to check in with your doctor and when you can handle things on your own.

I liked that they wrote the book in easy to understand language and addressed a lot of practical issues like coping with hair loss, digestive changes, dealing with nausea, diarrhea or constipation and mouth and throat problems. Actually the anti-nausea medications are so good these days that a majority of people don't feel nausea at all. They name some of the common anti-nausea drugs and tell how each one works which I found useful. Another chapter that I really liked was the one on blood tests results and how to make sense of them. Looking these things up on the internet can be very confusing sometimes. Which ones are the most important, which one just follow some of the other values and which can be treated with drugs should they drop too low? This book explains all that.
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28 of 30 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Chemo Survival August 1, 2009
I would not worship exclusively at the holy grail of
chemotherapy. Having made that statement, the authors
accomplished much in explaining the dynamics of
chemotherapy and the requisite planning to be done by
patients and physicians. The information contained in
this book is not known to patients, generally speaking.
And so, the acquisition would have value for a person
or family member facing chemotherapy with little time
to investigate the dynamics of the treatment or the
extensive terminology of the protocol .

The volume explains how cells are nourished with blood
and oxygen. Additionally, the immune system protects
against foreign organisms. Simply put, cancer cells
lack a growth control mechanism. To compensate,
physicians have various strategies in the toolbox.

For instance, surgery, radiation and a combination
may be utilized to rid the body of cancerous tumors.
Chemo interferes with the cell cycle specific to
preventing cancer cells from reproducing.

A strength of the work is that the authors direct the
patient to understand the pathology report, as well as
the treatment plan. Specific strategies deal with the
dynamics of the blood chemistry. For instance, a
decreased red blood count calls for eating a balanced
diet, more iron (Fe) and rest. Erythropoetin stimulates
red blood cell production. A low white count calls for
a strategy of limiting exposure to places where many
people gather. Skin should be kept clean at all times.
Teeth should be cleaned often (brushing and flossing).
Fluids should be consumed often.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good book for thoes going through Chemotherapy January 9, 2010
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I think like most people who are diagnosed with cancer it is scarey feeling and not knowing what to expect from Chemotherapy can be overwhelming to deal it. I know this is how felt when I was first diagnosed with breast cancer.

This book was great because it was easy to understand and gave a lot of great information about the experince of going through chemotherapy and understanding cancer. At first I thought I was going to read this book cover to cover but for me as I have gone chemotherapy certain chapters have been important for me read depending on my symptoms at the time.

I would highly recommend this book for anyone who is diagnosed with cancer and needs to go through chemotherapy. I know that it has been a great book for me to reference when I had questions about cancer or chemotherapy.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
From my own experience I can say, cancer is a mean beast and you need every bit of information you can get your hands on to help you understand what your treatment plan is going to put you through. If you can gain a good understanding of what you're up against, you'll feel much less anxious and better able to cope with whatever side-effects crop up in your particular case.

Both authors -- Judith McKay and Tamera Schacher -- are seasoned oncology nurses. They've been there, done that -- and they've written this book as if it were intended for their own brother, sister, mother or best friend. I read it from cover-to-cover while sitting during my chemotherapy sessions. I've got excellent doctors at one of the best hospitals in the world, but the appointments are typically in 15-minute sessions and -- though I'm a fairly bright guy -- my doctor often reverts to medical-gibberish techno-talk, with words from an alien planet. As such, this book should have been titled, "The Rest of the Story: Details the Doctors Don't Tell You." (smile)

The best part is that it's written in plain English, it's got a logical format, and will have a calming effect on readers in treatment in that it explains what to expect at each stage of chemo and how to deal with the side effects.

I keep this book, along with "What to Eat When You Have Cancer," by Maureen Keane and Daniel Chace (Updated 2nd ed. McGraw Hill, 2007), close by and -- while in treatment -- read portions of each nearly every day.

R. Neil Scott
Middle Tennessee State University
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars The BEST,
Recommended from Doctors and Nurses who treat cancer patients. We put the in a "kick cancer's @ss!" basket. Read more
Published 2 months ago by Sarah Bivens
5.0 out of 5 stars A helpful insight into a scary, but survivable journey
While no one text can cover all the myriad nuance of a cancer diagnosis, this "survival guide" provides much practical insight into how life changes, and strategy for coping with... Read more
Published 2 months ago by David Roessler
5.0 out of 5 stars this was a very helpful book for going thru chemo. treatment. It would...
I hit wrong post as you can see I feel it was worth the read and I did reread some parts.
Published 3 months ago by Jacqueline I. Moen
5.0 out of 5 stars Getting through
This book does what the title promises. Several experts are consulted. Tips regarding nutrition are particularly helpful. Read more
Published 3 months ago by Andrew Teteris
5.0 out of 5 stars Most informative and positive
I gave this book to a friend who was approaching her first chemo treatment. She had indicated that most things she was reading were scaring her more than helping. Read more
Published 4 months ago by annette schewe
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent!
I was totally unprepared for my diagnosis and was looking for something informative on what to expect. This book does that and more. Read more
Published 4 months ago by YB
5.0 out of 5 stars Knowledge is Power - This Guide Offers Lots of Both
Cancer is chilling, whether it happens to us, or to someone we love. Lots of us want to put our fingers in our ears and sing, "La-la-la, I can't hear you," and learn as... Read more
Published 5 months ago by Beverly Diehl
5.0 out of 5 stars Answers the questions you don't even know enough to ask!
This is a great resource for people facing chemotherapy-especially for those who have never known anyone who has gone through the experience. Read more
Published 6 months ago by Saully
4.0 out of 5 stars Very Helpful
This book was very helpful, but I really enjoyed reading Crazy Sexy Cancer Tips read in two days. Both are a great buy.
Published 6 months ago by froggy
5.0 out of 5 stars My Mom loved it.
My Mom fought and survived Stage 2 Breast Cancer this year. I bought this for her at her lowest point. Read more
Published 8 months ago by Tamara Terese Carey
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