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The Human Side of Cancer: Living with Hope, Coping with Uncertainty Paperback – October 2, 2001

ISBN-13: 978-0060930424 ISBN-10: 006093042X Edition: Reprint

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 368 pages
  • Publisher: Harper Perennial; Reprint edition (October 2, 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 006093042X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0060930424
  • Product Dimensions: 5.3 x 0.8 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (20 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #416,558 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

"There are two aspects to the human side of cancer: what cancer does psychologically to people and their families, and how emotions and behaviors may influence the risk of getting cancer and its outcome," writes Jimmie C. Holland, M.D., founder of the field of psycho-oncology (the psychological issues of cancer) and chairman of the department of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center. "The human side of cancer is all encompassing; it's about you, your surroundings, and your experience of the illness."

Doctors often don't have the time or the skills to deal with psychological issues. The Human Side of Cancer tackles the emotional issues of cancer head-on. Holland knows there's no "one size fits all" coping style and is sensitive to each reader's uniqueness and belief system. "We do have overwhelming proof, however, that how you cope with your illness can improve your overall quality of life," she asserts. The theory that cancer patients with a "fighting spirit" have a better chance of survival than those who are passive is not, it turns out, supported by research. But whether or not your personality is spunky and confrontational or laid-back and accepting, you can use your own methods of coping to make sure you live a healthy lifestyle and hang in there with your cancer treatment--which does improve your chances of survival. The authors explain how you can choose a doctor who demonstrates the "Three C's" (competence, compassion, and caring) and gives you practical instructions for making the most of each doctor's appointment. The book also covers coping strategies, the psychological effects of different treatments, psychosocial issues related to specific forms of cancer, and the "emotional baggage" of surviving.

The Human Side of Cancer combines sensitive advice and explanations with quotes and anecdotes of cancer patients, research summaries, self-help tips, and checklists. The book is for both the cancer survivor and family members. Anyone dealing with cancer will benefit from Holland's wisdom and experience. --Joan Price --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Publishers Weekly

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 everyoneAinstead, 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 hereAthe 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. (Sept.)
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
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Dr. Holland has written a book that can benefit both patients and professionals.
L. Fetchen
Straight forward guide to dealing with the many emotions surrounding a cancer diagnosis.
MLS
Overall an excellent read for anybody dealing with cancer, directly or indirectly.
Joel Brame

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

28 of 29 people found the following review helpful By Joel Brame on September 5, 2005
Format: Paperback
This book comes highly recommended. It seeks to instill a feeling of acceptance and comfort for distressed cancer patients. The author discusses how to cope with difficult emotions in all stages of cancer, from initial diagnosis and onwards. As a doc working with cancer patients myself, I cannot overstate the importance of Dr Holland's message. For example, one of her points that really stood out for me was the idea that negative emotions cannot cause the cancer. Some people do worry that they must always remain positive, even if they have to fake it. Not true...being real and honest is far more important...having occasional negative thoughts and feelings is normal and does not make the cancer worse. Dr. Holland presents these ideas in one of the most non-judgmental ways you will ever read.

The reason I only give it four stars is due to my personal bias toward a holistic perspective. The author presents a conventional approach to cancer. She does not give adequate merit to the effectiveness of natural ways to control swaying emotions, instead guiding readers directly to pharmaceuticals. In addition, her use of the food pyramid as a way to guide readers to proper nutrition is outdated. For this type of information, readers should choose other books.

Overall an excellent read for anybody dealing with cancer, directly or indirectly. I recommend it to my own clients. Genuine compassion in the medical system is in short-supply these days...Dr Holland gives us a healthy dose.
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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful A Kid's Review on October 1, 2000
Format: Hardcover
When I was facing my husbands diagnosis of prostate cancer I had to deal with many aspects of life and psychology discussed in this book. It validates the way I handled myself, I wish this book existed when I was going through it. No doubt it will aid many through the difficult and lonely transition from suspicion, diagnosis, to treatment and cure. A must have.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on April 18, 2002
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is one of the few books I can imagine my mother reading. She was recently diagnosed with advanced ovarian cancer and I ordered this book (and a couple others) to help my understanding of the emotional aspects of the disease and treatments. My mother generally escews "self-help" type books and outside help such as counseling. But this book is matter-of-fact and is presented in a way that respects individual differences and styles. It's not full of "touchy feely" (Mom's phrase) jargon but does address psychological issues effectively. Mom might actually find this one helpful, as I have. One weakness I found was the short section on ovarian cancer -- it addresses mostly fertility and sexuality issues -- the first doesn't apply to the older woman and the latter may or may not -- the writer seems to miss the boat on this type of cancer in the older woman. Overall, though, a helpful book.
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Ronnie Kaufman on October 1, 2000
Format: Hardcover
The word cancer stops you in your tracks. This book shares feelings and concepts with inteligence and humanity. Bravo to the author and those who have inspired him. I only wish this book was out five years ago when my husband was diagnosed with cancer.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on January 16, 2002
Format: Paperback
Since my diagnosis I've received tons of books. This one is by far the most helpful in understanding what is going on with me & everyone else. It is the only book that talks about when & how to tell others, what the side effects are of all the testing, etc. I liked it so much I bought a copy for my therapist for her to use with other patients like me.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By L. Fetchen on March 27, 2008
Format: Paperback
I work with cancer patients in a major cancer center, and would highly recommend this book. Dr. Holland has written a book that can benefit both patients and professionals. Rather than pushing a "Pollyanna Positive" approach to coping with a cancer diagnosis, Dr. Holland suggests that a realistic approach that includes BOTH the acceptance of uncertainty and hope for the future is most helpful. I have shared this book with several patients as well as several other professionals, and all have agreed that this is a "must-read" book for anyone looking for help in coping with cancer.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Luchino on February 25, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Have just really been looking through this. In one chapter, author give in summary form meditative techniques that another, more well known author, spends 6 chapters going over in mind-numbing detail. This work is the result of a lifetime spent as a psychological staff member of a large Cancer Hospital.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Laurel Colton on August 11, 2009
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I am asked about this book frequently because it helped me greatly. Now I keep this book on hand to loan to family and friends. They agree it answers many questions.
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