Saturday, July 27, 2013

When Tumor is the Rumor and Cancer is the Answer by Kevin P Ryan MD FACP

The newly published book, When Tumor is the Rumor and Cancer is the Answer  by Kevin P Ryan MD FACP is the cancer bible in that it is the only resource you will ever need- containing anything you would ever need to know about a cancer diagnosis.  The subtitle,  "A Comprehensive Text for Newly Diagnosed Cancer Patients and their Families" is certainly no understatement. Nevertheless, the word "text" should not intimidate the target reader, as in this case it does not imply this is a college medical book but rather a complete one stop resource.  This book is written specifically for the cancer patient and his family- for the layperson who has no prior experience in the medical field.  This ambitious volume covers everything from diagnosis, treatment and the health care team as well as the science and spirituality cancer as well.

The author, Kevin P Ryan MD FACP, draws from his personal, educational and practical experience as an oncologist. He dispels outdated myths such as the idea that cancer is a death sentence or that treatment must entail grueling pain and nausea.  He writes with optimism based on concrete facts on new scientific advancements in treating cancer such as targeted therapies, gene therapies and modern symptom control.  He gives objective and reliable information about ineffective alternative treatments and gives a word of warning about those who shameless profiteers who exploit the desperation of cancer patients in offering unproven treatments at heavy financial and emotional toll. His love of medicine, and pride in the achievements of medical science in the area of oncology is obvious.  This once in a lifetime book offers a unique perspective to the mind of a doctor. In addition to his extensive medical credentials, Dr. Ryan offers practical and spiritual advise to boot.  This doctor is equipped to handle medical question as well as spiritual and emotional issues as well.  It was an unexpected pleasure to see Dr. Ryan address spiritual issues with the same attentiveness and detail as the medical side of cancer.  The extensive nature of this book will satisfy even the most scientifically and medically oriented question about cancer.  The science behind cancer and treatments is covered in exhaustive detail to answer even the most difficult of questions. Even if one were to spend hours in a medical library, time would be better spent reading this book instead.

 Nevertheless, it is clear that this book is written with both the individual cancer patient and his family, equally, in mind.  As a close family member of an otherwise young and healthy person diagnosed with a late stage cancer- this book answered any question I had about cancer and more that I had not even considered.  There is no doubt that first few introductory chapters are written with the shocked and frightened cancer patient in mind, as the early chapters offer concrete inspiration in a time of confusion and hopelessness that every cancer patient should take to heart. This information is too valuable to be kept from a cancer patients- so for those that can't read it, I would strongly recommend that caretakers or family read this book and relay it to the cancer patient.  I can imagine that the more technical and detailed information of the book would be most appropriate for families as a newly diagnosed patient might be too shocked and too overcome with anxiety and grief to properly digest the wealth of medical information provided.  Yet the author, recognizes the unique emotional needs of shocked newly diagnosed patients  and provides inspirational and practical advise designed to inspire and empower even the most despondent and apathetic of cancer patients. 

Ryan's writing style is expressive and intelligent, and is indicative of his years of education. At times, the text may not lend itself easily to quick casual reading especially in this modern day and age where many readers have a simple reading level and short attention span.  The author's writing style might simply be too complex for some lesser educated and modern readers.  A strong point to this book is the author's ability to reach out to every potential reader and his attention to organization.   The chapters are identified and organized in such a way that the reader may skip specific sections  depending in their urgent need.  The time pressed reader may skim the table of contents and go directly to a particular chapter or subchapter such as the sections on diagnosis, treatments, clinical trials, side effects, pain or spiritual care. Main sections are subdivided and the subdivisions are as easily accessible for quick reference such as the various treatments and specific side effects.

 This hybrid book encompasses the science, psychology and spirituality of a cancer diagnosis. Unlike many books written on cancer, this book does not oversimplify cancer information in which the result is unreliable, generalized cancer information based on old wives tales and myths.  Cancer is complex without a doubt and there are no simple cookie cutter explanations- which many simplified books and web information erroneously present to the disservice of the public.

I know that internet information in large part is garbage when it comes to medical advice to be a fact because the internet told us that without a doubt the maximum span my sister had was 3-6 months back in October.  Not only is she still around, she is in remission! But the internet had us as a family embark on  her diagnosis with despair and fear and to this day those faulty internet statistics leave their bitter mark. As Dr. Ryan would have said- GIGO- garbage in, garbage out- that is what you get with many of the medical resources and statistics on cancer available to the public today on the internet and in bookstores. It would have been wonderful to have had Dr. Ryan's book back in October when we first received the diagnosis.  Dr. Ryan's book is the one stop resource that can point to everything you need including outside resources such as the American Cancer Society, reliable internet sites and even specific comforting biblical passages, There is no need to spend hours trolling the internet for unreliable cancer information or perusing the self help and medical shelves of bookstores for overly simplified useless books.  If you are only going to invest in one book on cancer, this should be the book.  It would be a service to patients and their families alike to make this book available in every public library, oncologist office and bookstore. As a blogger I received this book published by Authorhouse for the purpose of writing this review. 

1 comment:

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