Breast Cancer Awareness: Six Titles To Aid the Fight

With any major disease, especially those with a genetic component such as breast cancer, stories of discoveries that can assist with treatment and/or diagnosis are abundant. With so many reports and articles available, it can be difficult for health-care consumers to know what to do, especially given the outpouring of information on the Internet. Some of the best books on the subject combine personal experience with valuable research. Others look at the disease scientifically, giving a readable account of recent advances. Encompassing a variety of perspectives, the titles below will benefit individuals with a family history of breast cancer, those who have been diagnosed, survivors, caregivers, and health-care providers.

Brodnick, Caitlin. Dangerous Boobies: Breaking Up with My Time-Bomb Breasts. Da Capo. Sept. 2017. 256p. notes. ISBN 9781580056755. pap. $16.99; ebk. ISBN 9781580056762. HEALTH

Brodnick is a comedian, writer, and women’s health advocate. Her memoir of under­going a prophylactic double mastectomy at age 28 to prevent genetic breast cancer complements the web series for Glamour magazine of her experience, Screw You Cancer (2013). The author is honest about her feelings and concerns as she discusses her family and the decision to have the surgery. There is helpful information about the process, as well as friendly suggestions for dealing with pre- and post­operative issues. ­VERDICT Brodnick’s writing is engaging and entertaining, making this a great book for anyone considering preventive surgery.

redstarHolloway, Cheryl D. The Black Woman’s Breast Cancer Survival Guide: Understanding and Healing in the Face of a Nationwide Crisis. Praeger: ABC-CLIO. Jul. 2017. 203p. notes. bibliog. index. ISBN 9781440856082. $37; ebk. ISBN 9781440856099. HEALTH

This important book brings to light the additional risks black women face in developing early-onset and ­fast-developing breast cancers. Holloway is a double breast cancer and thyroid cancer survivor and public health professor (South Univ., Novi, MI) and researcher. She looks at many gynecologic, behavioral, genetic, and social factors that may predispose black women to be at greater risk of and have higher death rate from breast cancer than other groups. She also explains some of the cultural issues surrounding the disease, including how to respond to people who think that one must have done something wrong to get cancer. Holloway suggests ways that black women can be proactive in their health care. VERDICT An excellent, well-written work for all black women and all health-care professionals who wish to understand better the challenges facing this community.

Jones, Connie with Michael N. Linver. The Breast Test Book: A Woman’s Guide to Mammography and Beyond. Oxford Univ. Oct. 2017. 200p. illus. bibliog. index. ISBN 9780190677053. pap. $21.95. HEALTH

Every woman should read this book before going for a mammogram. Written by two radiologists, it explains different tests and recommendations for screening and offers guidance on the various imaging options available. It also describes the medical personnel involved in the procedure and what happens behind the scenes. The pros and cons of screening are outlined, but given that breast cancer is the most commonly diagnosed malignancy in women and the second leading cause of cancer deaths, this kind of preventative treatment is essential. VERDICT This commonsense guide should help make the screening process less intimidating and assist those with concerns of overdiagnosis and overtreatment.

redstarKiernan, Caitlin M. Pretty Sick: The Beauty Guide for Women with Cancer. Grand Central Life & Style. Sept. 2017. 272p. illus. by Jamie Lee Reardin. index. ISBN 9781455540877. pap. $19.99; ebk. ISBN 9781455540884. HEALTH

Health and beauty are not mutually exclusive for cancer patients. In fact, looking good helps all people feel better, and solid advice about how to achieve healthy hair, teeth, skin, etc., for those undergoing treatment is invaluable. Kiernan (beauty producer, Style Code Live) combines her experience as a beauty writer and editor and a breast cancer patient to give women health and beauty routines that aid in minimizing some of the side effects of cancer and its treatments. With advice from her contacts from the fashion and beauty industries, as well as guidance from top doctors, she provides suggestions to help with skin and hair care, wig shopping, nail health, dental care, and more. ­VERDICT Anyone receiving or recovering from cancer therapy will find this book useful.

Martin, Antoinette Truglio. Hug Everyone You Know: A Year of Community, Courage, and Cancer. She Writes. Oct. 2017. 256p. ISBN 9781631522628. pap. $16.95; ebk. ISBN 9781631522635. HEALTH

Martin used journaling and emails to “My Everyone,” her group of close family and friends, to get through her diagnosis, treatment, and recovery from early-stage breast cancer. Her “therapy” included a writer’s program for patients at New York City’s Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, which led to the creation of this memoir. The account reveals the value of keeping a journal as a means of coping with one’s fears and acknowledges the support Martin received through sharing her experience rather than trying to shield others from her illness. She also encourages readers to take control of their own health care by questioning medical providers and making sure they are comfortable with the people administering their treatment. ­VERDICT A solid read for breast cancer patients.

Ruddy, Kathleen T. The End of Breast Cancer: A Virus and the Hope for a Vaccine. Skyhorse. Oct. 2017. 296p. notes. bibliog. index. ISBN 9781510723016. $24.99; ebk. ISBN 9781510723023. HEALTH

This new book from Ruddy (breast cancer surgeon, medical director of New Jersey’s Clara Maass Medical Center, and founder of the Breast Health and Healing Foundation) brings together information about viruses and breast cancer. While certain genes have been shown to increase the risk for breast cancer, there is less research on how some viruses could be related to the disease and how immunotherapy could be a viable remedy. This book, a republication of the author’s Of Mice and Women: Unraveling the Mystery of the Breast Cancer Virus (2015), reviews the history of research into viral causes of breast cancer and recent studies seeking to create a vaccine. Viral research has the potential to explain some breast cancers of unknown origin, as well as provide targeted therapy for precision medicine. ­VERDICT Important for those in health care who are unfamiliar with the viral causes of cancer, as well as patients wishing to know more.

Margaret Henderson, a biomedical sciences librarian for more than 25 years, has been an LJ reviewer since 1998. She is the author of Data Management: A Practical Guide for Librarians (Rowman & Littlefield, 2016)

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