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When Your Life Is Touched by Cancer

Practical Advice and Insights for Patients, Professionals, and Those Who Care
Paperback Book
Hunter House
August, 2013
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$18.50 CAD
Publisher’s Description: 

Written by a cancer survivor who is Executive Director of a Cancer Resource Center; provides guidance for those navigating the world of cancer. Short chapters and calm language make this book an ideal help for those whose lives may seem suddenly out of balance.
The first few days following a cancer diagnosis are like riding on top of a speeding train. You're hanging on for dear life and can't quite see what's ahead. In this book, author Bob Riter helps people sort out many of the issues involved with a cancer diagnosis, with a particular focus on conversations about cancer with friends, family, and doctors.
'When Your Life Is Touched by Cancer' gently and insightfully addresses the issues that accompany a cancer diagnosis, especially those we think about, but hesitate to bring up. Is it OK to refuse treatment? How old is too old to treat cancer? Is alternative medicine worth pursuing? It is important for those with cancer to figure out what makes sense for them and then to communicate those wishes to loved ones and physicians. The advice in this book is practical and accessible and Bob Riter is careful never to be pushy, becausehe knows that the best path through cancer is different for each individual. 1.6 million individuals are diagnosed with cancer each year, and there are 12 million people alive today who have been diagnosed with cancer and each of them has dealt with the disease in his or her own personal way. Bob won't tell you what the best path is, but he will teach you how to find it for yourself. He found his own path through cancer, and he's supported countless others on their paths. The stories, experiences, tips, and advice collected in this book are grounded in the author's personal experiences as a cancer survivor and his work as the Executive Director of the Cancer Resource Center of the Finger Lakes where he's worked with thousands of people affected by cancer.
The book began as a popular column in the 'Ithaca Journal.' Readers regularly reported clipping the columns to send to loved ones across the country or to post on their own refrigerators as a starting point for conversations at their dinner tables. Now, for the first time, these refreshingly brief and readily accessible pieces are available all together, perfect for browsing, organized into three sections that follow the cancer-patient experience: Just Diagnosed," During Treatment," Cancer and Positive Thinking."

This collection addresses an array of topics reaching from the diagnosis of cancer, through its treatment, and the still difficult period when treatment ends. It provides advice on breaking the news to parents and children, including tips on what to say and what not say. It also examines being single with cancer, nontraditional cancer therapies, the after-treatment blahs, and cancer as a chronic disease. It will help patients and their caregivers with the often difficult process of separating what can be done from what should be done sometimes the most aggressive treatment is the best option for a patient, sometimes it isn't. Bob Riter weighs the potential benefits and risks of all types of treatment. 'When Your Life Is Touched by Cancer' is also a resource for everyone who cares about or for a cancer patient and wants to learn more ways to support (and respect the wishes of) their loved ones while dealing with their own complex emotions. The book covers advocating for a loved one, talking about hospice care, and survivor's guilt. And doctors can also benefit from reading this advice, gaining another perspective on the cancer experience and thoughtful insight on doctor-patient interactions. Nina Miller, a retired hospice director, says it best in her introduction to 'When Your Life Is Touched by Cancer:' There is a practical wisdom to the way Bob address the issues. The columns contain ideas for maximizing comfort, both physical and emotional. And they reflect some of the struggles and victories of living with this potentially life-threatening illness. The writing is characterized by empathy grounded in realism; there is no false reassurance, nor is there deep pessimism. Instead there is a gentle reminder of the value of every day of our lives, and a reminder to people with cancer that they are not alone."
Even people who are ordinarily calm and thoughtful find themselves spinning and feeling dazed when first diagnosed with cancer. There's so much to think about and so many decisions to make and conversations to have. It all seems just overwhelming. Sympathetic and clear, 'When Your Life Is Touched by Cancer' is the perfect place to turn to in a moment of crisis. It provides both comfort in the moment and tools to move forward. It will help you figure out what you want and empower you to go get it.

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