New book explains breast cancer treatment

BREAST CANCER NURSING – Care and Management

This is a text book, written for nurses, full of medical jargon – but if you are interested in what happens to you as a person with breast cancer, I can thoroughly recommend it for reference.

This is the type of book it would be helpful to have at hand, when the expert medics start discussing you as though you weren’t there;  the helpful index at the back would show you what they are talking about, and you might even be able to contribute to the discussion!

I met Victoria when I went to St. Mary’s, Paddington (where Alexander Flemming developed penincillin), and it always gives me a thrill when I walk under the blue plaque that records where he worked.  Vickki is one of those people whom you warm to immediately, and not surprisingly she has managed to gather together a very interesting and informative collection of colleagues to contribute chapters.  Each one is writing about their specialist subject, to be read by their peers, so the language can be very technical.  However, you know you are getting the truth, which can be extremely interesting when you work your way through to it!  I found several answers to things that had been puzzling me.

Anyone bewildered or unable to find answers to questions could well find the solution in this book.  I turned first to the chapter on Endocrine treatment, and it says “logical answers aren’t always the correct ones and assumptions cannot be made…”.   Hurrah – someone knows we don’t all respond in the textbook manner to those drugs.

If you have problems with side effects, the book has examples of many that are brushed aside by medics,  One is that women aged over 80 can have had hot flushes from Tamoxifen;  showing this book to sceptical medics might make them believe what we tell them.

Another chapter speaks of ‘Time spent with a patient, listening to her story is very valuable’, etc. etc.   I would dearly love to have this printed out and put it in every nurse’s locker.  Today, almost all the time we get with a nurse can be her asking what medication we are on (which they should have  gleaned from out notes – if they read them).  So we waste valuable time, which is often the only allocation we get – no time to tell staff of our fears or ask questions.

The only subject I would have liked to have had more cover is Hormone Therapy, and in particular dealing with side effects from the drugs.  Vickki works at St. Mary’s, Paddington, and I know that they have had contact with France and some of the solutions French doctors have for dealing with these – so next time I would like to see a chapter dealing with how the French treat these.

But there is so much of use to anyone who has problems – most patients would probably be like me:   looking  for the aspects that interest them, and I don’t want to know about the rest.  But what is there has been written by a team of experts, ably edited by Vickki, and this will certainly be on my desk and surely well thumbed.

Published by Wiley-Blackwell £29.99 ISBN   978-1-4051-9866-0

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