John Han-Chih Chang, MD
University of Pennsylvania Health System
Last Modified: November 1, 2001
|Authors: Rosie O'Donnell and Deborah Axelrod, MD, FACS, with Tracy Chutorian Semler
Publisher: Warner Books, Inc., New York, 1999
Rosie O'Donnell's mother died of breast cancer when she was just 10 years old, and many of her close friends have experienced it as well. These experiences inspired O'Donnell to write this book; she hopes to educate women about their breasts, both about health issues and breast cancer. Arming women with knowledge will enable them to live in health, while recognizing a problem when it arises. O'Donnell uses humor to alleviate fear, and uses interviews with doctors, patients and survivors to provide facts and encouragement.
The book begins by providing some facts about breast cancer, and about healthy breast anatomy and function. It then covers breast screening, what it is like and who should do it. Risk factors are discussed, such as family history, childbirth, birth control, diet, and so forth.
The book goes on to discuss tools used to detect breast cancer, such as mammogram, sonogram, MRI, biopsy, PET scans, etc. It also mentions the importance of one's relationship with one's physician, and the value of a second opinion. It then covers cancer treatment options, such as surgery, radiation therapy, and chemotherapy. One chapter shows many photographs of women who underwent lumpectomies, mastectomies, and reconstruction. These photos are certainly helpful in preparing women for what to expect.
There is a chapter on life after breast cancer, mentioning such issues as how to deal with side effects from treatments, helpful diet hints, exercise, support groups, and much more. The final chapter covers the future of breast cancer treatment.
This book is very well written; it contains a great deal of helpful information. It is set up in a very easy-to-read question and answer format. The terrific thing about this breast cancer guide is that, while it provides valuable and useful information, it is often hysterically funny and entertaining. The book weaves jokes, puzzles, and songs into the thread of an important work. The authors also provide a list of additional resources that the reader can look up, and the names of cancer organizations. All proceeds go to breast cancer charities.