- Hardcover: 360 pages
- Publisher: Jane Thomas Press (January 13, 2017)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0997661909
- ISBN-13: 978-0997661903
- Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.8 x 9 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 20 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,622,479 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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The Thinking Woman's Guide to Breast Cancer: Take Charge of Your Recovery and Remission
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This highly recommended pick should be in every general lending library and in every health or women's issues collection. The result is far beyond an autobiography of experience and delves into the worlds of latest research applications, best practices, and treatments every breast cancer patient should know about before they make decisions. Diane Donovan, Editor, Midwest Book Review
Because of Dr. Maker's academic background as a researcher, she discovered facts about the disease and its treatments about which lay people may not know. I particularly enjoyed reading what she did after she went into remission -- how she worked with an integrative oncologist to adjust her internal "terrain". This involved major lifestyle changes in terms of diet, supplements, exercise, stress reduction,and detoxification, all of which are in alignment with the 9 healing factors that Radical Remission survivors use. Kelly Turner, Ph.D. Author of NY Times Bestseller Radical Remission, Founder, The Radical Remission Project
The Thinking Woman's Guide to Breast Cancer is a concise and well-written gift for women navigating the medical system and trying to make better-informed decisions.Based on her personal experience with breast cancer and well-honed investigative and critical thinking skills, Janet Make rPh.D. offers readers a full spectrum of insights, resources, and even warnings when facing a breast cancer diagnosis and treatment that applies just as well to any other crucial health issue. Highly recommended. Bonnie Spanier, Ph.D., Reviewer for Breast Cancer Consortium
I highly recommend The Thinking Woman's Guide to Breast Cancer by Janet Maker, Ph.D., as a must-read book for all women. To say that the author was thorough in her research and education is an understatement. Diving headfirst into the world of information, she tenaciously endeavored to overcome every obstacle one by one until she had enough information to make well-educated decisions. Readers will discover how little is actually understood about breast cancer, the general attitude of the cancer establishment, and the absolute need to educate themselves in light of a diagnosis. Sheri Hoyte, Reviewer, Reader Views
Dr. Maker brings her formidable background, training and intellect to her quest for answers....Dr. Maker is realistic yet hopeful, vulnerable and courageous in her journey and mission to inform and improve the lives of breast cancer patients. She makes every effort to explain potentially complicated words, phrases, and concepts to help the reader. Dr. Maker's message to others facing breast cancer is to apply critical thinking, to never stop asking questions and to seek out organizations and individuals who empower patients to advocate for the best care possible. The sub-title of the book is 'Take Charge of Your Recovery and Remission'. This is her call to action and she leads by example. Deborah Berenboim and Rose Barlow, Executive Director of Zero Breast Cancer.
If my grandmother had had the information, support and care that she needed, she probably would still not only be alive, but living in remission as well. The nuggets that Dr. Maker provided don't only apply to breast cancer, but a variety of other health issues that anyone can acquire from diabetes, weight loss and learning disorders to mental illness. There are other alternatives available outside of what your doctor may recommend, which may not only be beneficial according to medical culture, but can have minimal side effects for you. Knowledge is power and we should all be appreciative of the transparency and knowledge that this book contains. Vernita Naylor, Reviewer for Readers' Favorite
From the Author
I was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2011. It was found by accident on a chest x-ray, and I was shocked. There was no history of breast cancer in my family, and I never thought it could happen to me.
My second shock was encountering the medical establishment and its "standard of care." They wanted me to follow their program of surgery, chemotherapy, radiation, and hormones even though those things don't work for many people, and even though they have serious side effects. I wanted to make my own informed decisions, but, like most people, I knew next to nothing about breast cancer. I had to scramble to find what information I could under the pressure of time, knowing that the cancer could be spreading.
The personal became political as I encountered the cancer establishment with its one-size-fits-all standard of care, the corporations responsible for the carcinogens in the environment, research funded by the corporations, legislators who rely on corporate contributions to keep their jobs, and the cancer charities that take corporate money in return for pinkwashing.
"The Thinking Woman's Guide to Breast Cancer" is the story of my journey and all the things I learned. In some cases I learned them too late; some of my decisions would have been different if I had known then what I know now. I realized that I had to write this book to empower others to take charge of their care.
As of now, I have no evidence of breast cancer, but I am at high risk for recurrence or metastasis, so I am not able to simply return to the life I had before. Conventional cancer care offers periodic tests to see whether the cancer has returned, but it does not offer anything beyond hormone therapy to prevent the cancer from returning. The problem is that if it returns it will likely no longer be curable. I had to go outside of conventional oncology, where I found a lot of evidence that changing one's "terrain" can keep the cancer dormant. Working with an integrative oncologist, I follow a program of diet, supplements, exercise, mental/spiritual practices, and avoidance of environmental carcinogens.
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Janet Maker’s The Thinking Woman’s Guide to Breast Cancer offers insights and resources for women diagnosed with breast cancer as they navigate the challenges of a complex health care system that is full of as many promises as it is shortcomings.
Diagnosed with a breast cancer of an uncertain origin in 2011 at the age of 68, Janet Maker found a new use for the analytical and critical thinking skills she honed as a Ph.D. in Educational Psychology, professor, and textbook author. The breast cancer identified in three lymph nodes were nowhere to be found in the rest of her body, breasts included. With disparate medical opinions from doctors who were uncertain about how to manage the atypical diagnosis, Janet went on her own fact-finding quest to find out what approaches and options felt right to her. She soon became well aware of the strengths and limitations of modern medicine.
As Janet skillfully tells her breast cancer story in the context of a longtime history with fibrocystic and dense breast tissue, she shares the specifics of her diagnosis, reliable information about treatments and breast reconstruction, and the tests she used to help make treatment decisions while drawing on both conventional and complementary cancer medicine to stay mentally and physically healthy.
Throughout the book, Maker reveals insightful details about her dealings with doctors and the rest of the healthcare system that would help anyone to navigate a serious illness. For instance, learning what insurance covers, accessing your health file, keeping a medical journal, checking your local hospital’s safety record, managing advice from five different doctors, and comparing your doctor’s treatment advice to medical consensus (such as NCCN, National Comprehensive Cancer Network) to make informed, evidence-based medical decisions. She also cautions that while the Americans with Disabilities Act protects employees from being fired due to illness, it does not prevent employers from aggravating you enough to quit.
Maker’s book goes well beyond case specifics that are essential to understanding valid options. Citing reliable critiques lends credibility when she offers advice and highlights the ways that biomedicine systematically falls short of its promises. Chapters on treatment decisions and results (Chemotherapy, Radiation, Hormones, The Aftermath, and Lifestyle Changes) grapple with how she handled incomplete or contradictory answers to the questions she had, for example, about whether to get a reconstruction after a mastectomy or choose a lumpectomy/wide excision. Describing how she worked to understand the potential benefits and harms of these and other treatment options, she contextualizes her decisions and experiences by sharing the questions she asked and what she learned from a variety of sources, including other women, local and online groups, chat room peers, and medical sources.
Janet Maker makes two major recommendations in the “how-to” section of the book. Be sure to have a strong “patient advocate,” preferably with a medical degree, and also an “integrative oncologist” who combines conventional (allopathic) medicine with complementary / alternative / holistic medicine. Although “integrative medicine” can mean different things, such as relying on multidisciplinary medical teams, Maker is referring to an approach from Keith Block’s Life over Cancer in which integrative oncology is based on the generally accepted theory of controlling cancer by modifying the local environs around it to keep tiny or larger masses in check.
In practical terms, this means using complementary treatments that often include prescribing nutritional supplements (based on in-depth blood and other tests) aimed especially at minimizing the side effects of drugs and treatments to maintain good general health. Similarly, Maker cites Servan-Schreiber’s popular Anticancer: A New Way of Life, like many of us, concerned to alleviate the collateral damage of conventional (over)treatment. That book is rooted in scientific promise from cell and animal research and some very small human studies, making claims of benefits in mortality reduction iffy. But it offers an antidote to feeling helpless in the face of cancer. Though she adopts this anti-cancer / integrative approach, she makes clear that it bears no guarantee of success.
Throughout her book, Janet Maker does not claim to have “the right answers.” She accepts that evidence-based medicine offers few absolute certainties. But she does subscribe to the point of view that cancer-causers and –promoters are everywhere and that, had she known this sooner she would have addressed lowering her risk from these influences. The final chapters on (What You Should Know about Breast Cancer and Take Action) share this perspective while offering clear evidence about cancer-promotion. She considers individual actions toward prevention that include lifestyle changes and addressing chemical toxicities in everyday products, but acknowledges that societal changes to clean up the environment at large are essential.
Janet Maker’s voice is clear and compassionate, and her individual insights and recommendations are set within sound biomedical information. Her values are explicit and persuasive about individual and societal responsibilities for health. And for those of us who have not endured a diagnosis but want to be part of the solution, this book is important reading.
i believe janet maker's book to be something invaluable to all women who have to confront their health problems, particularly breast cancer, which is fraught with so many psychological issues. the multiple decisions to be made are overwhelming and some quite devastating, both physically and emotionally. her impeccably researched solutions to those multitudinous questions can help lighten the load, though ultimately, each of us must confront what is right for us.
janet maker has followed that great thinking head of hers which has resulted in a fully lived, now cancer free life. she serves as a terrific model for all of us who have been trained to be obedient nice girls, following DOCTORS' ORDERS, usually male. she is wisely guiding us to take charge of our health as she did hers, and wants all women to know of some of the necessary tools to do so. we should read and learn.
A final, and important, note: although the book deals with breast cancer, its basic advice -- and its encouragement to be an active, informed participant in one's treatment -- could easily apply to a wider range of cancers and, indeed, to a wide range of serious diseases. Highly recommended.
The chapter on hormones was particularly enlightening and had tons of information on how to avoid carcinogens and minimize my risk factors. The chapter on lifestyle changes has been especially insightful and impactful on my life. My husband and I have both taken many of the steps Dr. Maker spells out in her book, and it's so easy to read too!
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