For the past five years or so, my wife and I have been working on a book together with her former patient, Barbara Gordon, an English professor at Elon University, and her former fellow, Dr. Brooke Daniel, now a private practice medical oncologist in Chattanooga, Tennessee. When Professor Gordon had what she thought was a recurrence of her breast cancer, she was surprised to learn that there was a paucity of information for breast cancer patients with advanced stage disease.
At the time my far-better half, Dr. Heather Shaw, was a breast oncologist on faculty at Duke University Medical Center and Barbara approached her to write such a book. I was tapped to write a section on the cautions regarding the use of complementary and alternative approaches to cancer, an especially common trend among all cancer patients, and some background on how many of our best chemotherapy drugs have already been culled from natural sources.Professor Gordon wrote the book proposal and pitched it to a couple dozen publishers around the country but it was picked up in our own backyard by Duke University Press.
To give you a flavor of what’s address in the book, here’s part of a summary from the Duke University Press site:
Topics covered include:
• Types of recurrence, their symptoms, and ways of minimizing the chance of a recurrence
• Diagnostic tests, potential surgeries, and treatments to manage late-stage cancer
• Getting the best care, evaluating complementary therapies, and alleviating pain and depression
• Cessation of treatment and what one may experience as the disease progresses
• End-of-life issues including dealing with financial and legal matters, communicating with loved ones and hospice workers, and planning memorial services
Breast Cancer Recurrence and Advanced Disease includes a glossary of medical terms, appendices on nutrition and integrative health centers, and links to current Web sites addressing matters such as clinical trials, patients’ rights, and medical expenses.
Heather also wrote a really terrific appendix section distinguishing between absolute and relative risk to assist patients in understanding the significance of the treatment options they are offered. In fact, Heather put a tremendous effort into this book, writing almost all of the medical sections and rewriting and editing the entire manuscript making sure it was as current as possible before going to press. She’s a remarkable writer and communicator and I can understand why she was so much adored by her patients during her decade of practicing medical oncology. Yes, I contributed my share but she really took the project by the horns when I was going through some of my own career strife.
If this book is something you or a loved one think may interest you, Amazon is offering it at a substantially discounted price – even less if you purchase from one of their affiliated merchants. Personally, I’d prefer that you purchase it from your local independent bookseller since so much more of your money stays in your community [source].
I’m really grateful to Barbara Gordon for asking us to be part of this project with her and to the entire team at Duke University Press who shepherded this book to its birth. I really hope that this guide provides women and their families with information and resources they need in their journey through breast cancer.
Gordon, Barbara L., Shaw, Heather S., Kroll, David J., and Daniel, Brooke R. (2010). Breast Cancer Recurrence and Advanced Disease: Comprehensive Expert Guidance. Durham, NC: Duke University Press. ISBN-13: 978-0-8223-4763-7 (paperback); 978-0-8223-4742-2 (library hardbound)
Disclosure: Of the royalties generated from the sale of this book, our combined family share will be 30%.