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Not Just One in Eight: Stories of Breast Cancer Survivors and Their Families Paperback – October 1, 2000
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"Breast cancer is not a one-person diagnosis," writes author Barbara F. Stevens. "It is a family diagnosis." Stevens, a breast cancer survivor whose mother also had breast cancer (though she died of ovarian cancer), interviewed 300 breast cancer survivors and their families to learn the personal truth about this disease--not just the medical decisions and treatments, but how the survivor and their family and loved ones coped. Not Just One in Eight presents 19 of their stories.
Each story draws us in and holds us captive, as the breast cancer survivor tells about life before and after the diagnosis, including treatments and emotional reactions. Loved ones contribute their observations and feelings, so we get a collage of intimate perspectives and anecdotes. Sometimes the loved ones are wonderfully supportive; other times, they cannot cope and the relationship is disrupted. Sometimes their reactions are shocking, for example, a sister who said, "Well, it's a good thing your breasts are so small because that means you don't have much to lose!" A few marriages dissolve. Postscripts bring us up to date on what has happened since the interviews. Many report, "My health is excellent," but some have not survived.
After the stories, Stevens offers chapters on how close we are to a cure and how to lessen the chance of being misdiagnosed. A section on sexuality is particularly strong ("what you really want to know that nobody will talk about"), with quotes from the women (including single, married, and lesbian women) and their partners about sex after a mastectomy.
This is a powerful, moving book, with lessons for all of us. --Joan Price
From Publishers Weekly
The 19 women and one man (yes, men get breast cancer) in this study had a wide range of experiences, but the emotional ripple effect of the illnessAnot only on them but on the important people in their livesAis apparent in all of these stories. Stevens, herself a breast cancer survivor, has conducted extensive and illuminating interviews with these patients as well as with spouses, parents, siblings, children and friends, who had a range of responses. Many husbands stood by their wives during and after surgery, but several marriages collapsed under the strain. As Stevens also makes clear, patients followed different paths in their treatment. While, for instance, some decided on immediate reconstruction after a mastectomy, Lolly Champion feared the procedure would "hinder early detection if there were a recurrence." And while most of these patients put their trust in traditional Western medicine, Dara Kaye elected to try holistic treatments instead of chemotherapy following her surgery. Nearly half of the women interviewed decided on a prophylactic removal of the healthy breast after the cancerous one was removed; and several women have taken the drug tamoxifen to help prevent recurrences. (Stevens would have aided readers even further had she addressed the current questions surrounding the side effects and long-term benefits of this drug.) Patricia A. Ganz, M.D., a cancer specialist at UCLA, contributes a chapter discussing how close we are to a cure. This book can be tough going sometimesAdespite the subtitle, not all the women interviewed survive their cancer. But these candid personal stories, both sad and uplifting, will be of great interest to breast cancer patients and their families. Agent, Linda Konner. (Oct.)
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc.
Top customer reviews
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Today, I purchased my 8th or 9th copy to give to someone who is afraid to get a mammogram. I have given this book to friends with other friends who have breast cancer, mothers of daughters with breast cancer, husbands of women with breast cancer, and my own sister. This book gives everyone who is touched by this disease the most important gift of all: knowledge. And knowledge is the power to fight back.
I had information from 6 very emotional sources before I read "Not Just One in Eight". Now I have an arsenal of information from 20 detailed and individual accounts. Both the mystery, and the fear, is gone. I don't have breast cancer, and we have no family history, but I feel confident that I now know how to recognize, meet and defeat this "boogey man" should it ever come calling.
Every woman alive today should sleep better after reading these stories and accumulating the combined wisdom Barbara Stevens shares with us. Every man with a mother, sister, wife or daughter would also find valuable knowledge and power by investing the time needed to read this book. This book IS for everyone!
I had to make all my (alternative) decisions on my own - no support from family.
Their comments were:
"There is no cure for cancer".
"You cannot avert the fate of death".
"Deal with it, if you cannot, go see a psychiatrist". Yeah right, even the psychiatrist does not know what it feels like !!
In my opinion what is missing in this book is that the profiles do not tell of the patient's HER2 status and there was no mention of whether they took HRT or not.