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Women’s Cancers: How to Prevent Them, How to Treat Them, How to Beat Them

By Kerry A. McGinn and Pamela J. Haylock

This book provides a wide range of information about cancers that affect women. It is a good introduction to cancer in general and to the specific kinds of cancer that are most common in women. The authors go beyond what one might think of as "women’s cancers" (such as breast cancer and gynecologic cancers) to cover the other leading cancers that strike and kill women, such as lung and colorectal cancer.

The authors are two oncology nurses who have also had personal experience with cancer. The book includes first-person accounts interspersed with other material, clear illustrations, and other reader-friendly ways of presenting information. It includes a glossary, bibliography (by chapter), a list of resources, and an index.

Part One, "You Have Cancer…," discusses cancer basics—risk factors, prevention, causes, detection, diagnosis, staging and grading, treatment, and emotional aspects of having cancer. There is a thorough discussion in Chapter 9 of complementary and alternative therapies for cancer that includes a multipage table about herbals.

Parts Two through Four of the book address specific cancers. These sections delve into aspects of each type of cancer. Illustrations and charts are used to help present information.

  • Part Two covers breast cancer. The authors do a good job of explaining a woman’s lifetime risk of developing breast cancer, which is often confusing. This section includes information on how to do breast self-examination, with illustrations.
  • Part Three covers the gynecologic cancers, including endometrial cancer, ovarian cancer, cervical cancer, and others.
  • Part Four covers lung and colorectal cancers

Part Five, "Life After Cancer," talks about surviving cancer and the emotional and other issues that cancer survivors deal with. It includes a multipage table listing the common long-term effects of cancer and cancer treatments and possible methods for dealing with these effects.

While much of the information in the book seems to be accurate and up to date, the chapter on breast cancer, unfortunately, does not distinguish between progesterone and progestins. The distinction is made elsewhere in the book, so it would be nice to see this corrected. Also, there is no discussion of natural progesterone under the HRT section of the book (pages 310 and following).


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Updated Jan 2005