What You Really Need to Know About Cancer

James Metz, MD
Abramson Cancer Center of the University of Pennsylvania
Last Modified: November 1, 2001

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Author: Dr. Robert Buckman
Publisher: The Johns Hopkins University Press
Price: $19.95 US
ISBN: 0-8018-5593-4
OncoLink Rating: 2 stars

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"What You Really Need to Know About Cancer" is a good overview of cancer for both patients and family members. Dr. Robert R. Buckman, a medical oncologist for over 20 years, has utilized his experience to create an excellent reference for the cancer patient. He states, "...the more you understand what is happening and why, the better you will be able to deal with the disease and treatment."

The book answers some of the common questions asked by cancer patients. It also addresses issues that are unique to particular cancers. The book provides a good overview of some of the most common cancers (as well as some rarer forms). The author tries to emphasize the most important points about each cancer. There is enough information to give the reader an important knowledge base so they can converse intelligently with their health care provider and make appropriate decisions. The author does not go into extensive detail regarding treatment recommendations; this is left for the patient to discuss with their physician.

There is an important section about how to improve the quality of life when living with cancer. It addresses many significant subjects including pain, sexuality, stomas, and end of life issues. This section includes advice on communication with friends, relatives and even children.

Overall, "What You Really Need to Know About Cancer" is a very good overview for the cancer patient or family member. The book is written without confusing medical terms. There are good diagrams and tables that summarize key points. The editors of OncoLink recommend this book as a general summary for cancer patients. Those patients that desire more information on treatment of a particular cancer may wish to supplement this book with a reference dealing only with a specific diagnosis.