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Cancer's a Word, Not a Sentence (Book Review)

autumn 2000

From triple helix - autumn 2000 - Cancer's a Word, Not a Sentence (Book Review) [p22]

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Cancer's a Word, not a Sentence - Fiona Castle - Hodder &Stoughton, London 1999 - £6.99 Pb 130pp ISBN 0340745657

This is an excellent book to have handy in the surgery to give out when appropriate. Its strength is that it is written sensitively by someone who really understands the cancer journey,who can lift the mystery of medical jargon and help reduce the level of fear experienced by those affected by cancer. It is comprehensive, realistic and yet full of hope and sound, well-informed advice.

The author's experiences as she shared her late husband Roy's journey with cancer from the day of his diagnosis to his death, are common to so many. Yet, the understanding she brings to the feelings of loss, guilt and anxiety all help to give a sense of control in a world that feels out of control.

Fiona Castle's Christian faith is woven beautifully into the text, without ever intruding or threatening the non-believer. I was surprised that there was little critical comment, from a Christian perspective, on the range of complementary and alternative therapies described. But then, that is not what this book is about and would probably fill another volume anyway.

The best is kept until last. The final section, 'A difficult path' is compulsory reading for all who are ready to face up to their mortality. Why do we always leave this so long and then find we are sharing our uncertainties as we attempt to be alongside the one who is sick?

Don't just buy one copy of this book - invest in several and have some ready to give away!

Reviewed by:
Gareth Tuckwell
Macmillan Cancer Relief Director for London

More from triple helix: autumn 2000

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  • The Status of the Embryo
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  • The Coming of the Rain (Book Review)
  • Relationships in the NHS - Bridging the Gap (Book Review)
  • Cancer's a Word, Not a Sentence (Book Review)
  • Six Modern Myths (Book Review)
  • Sinking Slowly
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