Books to Help Cancer Patients: Empower Yourself by Becoming Your Own Medical Advocate

Books To Help Cancer PatientsBy Margot Malin, CEO and Founder of Lots To Live For, Inc.

When faced with a cancer diagnosis it is important to become an educated patient. Learn what your options are, and help participate in your treatment decision making. Taking control can give you more confidence and make the process less scary. You are your own best medical advocate. In this blog piece we list several books that have been highly recommended by both cancer coaches and cancer patients.

Radical Remission- Surviving Cancer Against All OddsRadical Remission: Surviving Cancer Against All Odds by Dr. Kelly Turner
In her New York Times bestseller, Radical Remission: Surviving Cancer Against All Odds,  Dr. Kelly A. Turner, founder of the Radical Remission Project, uncovers nine factors that can lead to a spontaneous remission from cancer—even after conventional medicine has failed.

While getting her Ph.D. at the University of California, Berkley, Dr. Turner, a researcher, lecturer, and counselor in integrative oncology, was shocked to discover that no one was studying episodes of radical (or unexpected) remission—when people recover against all odds without the help of conventional medicine, or after conventional medicine has failed.  She was so fascinated by this kind of remission that she embarked on a ten month trip around the world, traveling to ten different countries to interview fifty holistic healers and twenty radical remission cancer survivors about their healing practices and techniques. Her research continued by interviewing over 100 Radical Remission survivors and studying over 1000 of these cases.  Her evidence presents nine common themes that she believes may help even terminal patients turn their lives around.

Radical Remission: Surviving Cancer Against All Odds has been highly recommended by numerous integrative medicine practitioners, cancer patients, cancer coaches  on blogs and on Linkedin posts. Click HERE for more information.

Cancer 50 Essential Things to Do 2013-Edition-195x300Cancer: 50 Essential Things to Do by Greg Anderson
Revised and updated for the first time since 1999, this invaluable guide to cancer recovery offers an easily accessible plan for patients and family members. Written by a cancer survivor, the book is an inspiring, action-oriented roadmap for those who choose to adopt a stance of hope and take charge of their diagnosis.

With penetrating insights that bring together more than two decades of scientifically supported research and experience, Anderson reveals a step-by-step holistic action plan that has been successfully employed by hundreds of thousands of cancer patients worldwide. Anderson’s message is: “You must not simply treat illness, you must also create wellness: physically, emotionally and spiritually.”  Click HERE for more information.

Own Your CancerOwn Your Cancer: A Take Charge Guide For The Recently Diagnosed And Those Who Love Them, by Dr. Peter Edelstein

A must have book for taking charge of the medical aspects of treatment. Dr. Peter Edelstein has learned by listening to his patients and their families–whose lives have suddenly been up-ended by a diagnosis of cancer–that they need a partner to help them navigate their new, complex world. It is critical that cancer patients take charge of their health and “own their cancer” in order to remain in control of this confusing and frightening process. This extremely accessible book is that expert partner, offering a combination of crucial medical education clearly and comfortably explained along with personal guidance gleaned from real patient experiences. In an informed, compassionate, and respectful manner, “Dr. E” translates the challenging medical and psychological issues facing the cancer patient into lay terms, as well as outlining options for “owning” the path ahead. The result empowers patients and their loved ones to take control of their treatment regardless of cancer type or stage, to maintain their independence, and to oversee the processes which will determine their ultimate survival and quality of life. Click HERE for more information.

Life Over Cancer- The Block Center Program for Integrative Cancer TreatmentLife Over Cancer: The Block Center Program for Integrative Cancer Treatment, by Dr. Keith Block

Dr. Keith Block is at the global vanguard of innovative cancer care. As medical director of the Block Center for Integrative Cancer Treatment in Evanston, Illinois, he has treated thousands of patients who have lived long, full lives beyond their original prognoses. Now he has distilled almost thirty years of experience into the first book that gives patients a systematic, research-based plan for developing the physical and emotional vitality they need to meet the demands of treatment and recovery.

Based on a profound understanding of how body and mind can work together to defeat disease, this groundbreaking book offers:

  • Innovative approaches to conventional treatments, such as “chronotherapy”–chemotherapy timed to patients’ unique circadian rhythms for enhanced effectiveness and reduced toxicity
  • Dietary choices that make the biochemical environment hostile to cancer growth and recurrence, and strengthen the immune system’s ability to attack remaining cancer cells
  • Precise supplement protocols to tame treatment side effects, relieve disease-related symptoms, and modify processes like inflammation and glycemia that can fuel cancer if left untreated
  • A new paradigm for exercise and stress reduction that restores your strength, reduces anxiety and depression, and supports the body’s own ability to heal
  • 
A complete program for remission maintenance–a proactive plan to make sure the cancer never returns

Also included are “quick-start” maps to help you find the information you need right now and many case histories that will support and inspire you. Encouraging, compassionate, and authoritative,  Life over Cancer is the guide patients everywhere have been waiting for.

What You Dont Know Can Kill YouWhat You Don’t Know Can Kill You: A Physician’s Radical Guide to Conquering the Obstacles to Excellent Medical Care, by Dr. Laura Nathanson

In 2003, Dr. Laura Nathanson was widowed after the misdiagnosis of her beloved husband. After this tragedy, she was determined to help others protect themselves and their loved ones from similarly preventable health care disasters—and help them benefit from health care miracles. In What You Don’t Know Can Kill You, Dr. Nathanson provides a guide to getting the best medical care and navigating our frustrating and often impenetrable health care system. In clear, non-medical language, she shows how to:

  • Flag any signs of misdiagnosis and misleading analysis of symptoms
  • Prevent miscommunication among specialists from having dire consequences
  • Stay safe in the hospital and bypass its dangers
  • Choose a health care plan without falling into the “uncovered services” trap

Full of empathy for each individual patient and caregiver, What You Don’t Know Can Kill You will empower patients to be their own best advocates.

We believe that the best informed patients make the best patients. Cancer Coaches and Oncology Nurse Navigators can help to further educate cancer patients. To read more about what a cancer coach does, click HERE. To read about Oncology Nurse Navigators, click HERE. As our friend Elyn Jacobs, Cancer Coach likes to say “If you don’t know your options, you don’t have any”.

We hope that these books will help educate you, and encourage you to take control and be proactive on your cancer journey.

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Margot MalinPlease visit Cancer Blog!: Tools Tips and Info to Help You Navigate Your Cancer Journey by Margot Malin to find more helpful treatment tips and more helpful books. Please visit Lots To Live For, Inc. to learn about products to reduce and relive the unpleasant and uncomfortable side effects of chemotherapy, radiation therapy, and cancer surgery.

22 Questions to Ask Your Oncology Team About Your Cancer Treatment Protocol

Questions to Ask Your Oncology Team From Breast Cancer Authority Contributor Margot Malin BlogBy Margot Malin, CEO of Lots To Live For, Inc.

Patients who are well informed and take a proactive role in making choices about their cancer treatment protocol are likely to be more comfortable as they progress through treatment. Knowledge is empowering and knowing what to expect and what comes next demystifies the process.

Be your own health advocate by asking questions to become informed and “buy in” to your treatment protocol. It is a good idea to bring a friend or relative with you to medical appointments both for emotional support, and also because a second set of “eyes and ears” might understand what is being said differently, they may think of a whole different set of questions, or might interpret ambiguous or confusing information in a different way. Take notes so you can remember what was discussed. After all, going to a doctor can be both emotional and terrifying.

Here are 22 questions to ask your oncology team about your cancer treatment protocol:

  1. What is the goal of chemotherapy and/or radiation for my cancer?
  2. Why are you recommending chemotherapy / radiation? If you had cancer would you treat yourself with this protocol? How long have you been prescribing this treatment and how many patients have received it?
  3. What is the treatment period for the radiation regimen that you are proposing?
    What is the likelihood that it might be interrupted due to adverse skin reactions?
  4. Which specific chemotherapy drugs will I be given? What are your expectations for this medication? Are there other options that can produce the same or similar results?
  5. If you are proposing more than one chemotherapy drug, what is the reason for selecting the specific “cocktail” that you recommend?
  6. What has the success rate been? Do you expect that the tumor will disappear completely, or just shrink in size? Will the cancer start growing again after treatment?
  7. How will I know if the chemotherapy or radiation is working? How do you plan to assess the effectiveness of the treatment?
  8. What is the likelihood that my survival time will be increased as a result of this treatment? What is the expected survival time increase as compared to no treatment?
  9. What is the likelihood that my quality of life will be improved after I receive this treatment?
  10. What are the risks associated with this treatment with regard to morbidity (adverse effects from the treatment), mortality and the risks of developing another cancer?
  11. How will I receive the chemotherapy: how often; how long; oral or intravenous?
  12. Where will I go to get my chemotherapy treatments?
  13. What can I do to prepare for treatment and decrease the chance of debilitating side effects?
  14. What side effects should I expect and how long will they last? What can I do to reduce uncomfortable side effects if they occur? (please visit http://www.LotsToLiveFor.com for products to reduce and relieve side effects of cancer treatment)
  15. What should I do if I lose weight and don’t seem to be getting the proper nutrition?
  16. What support can you suggest to boost the efficacy and reduce my risk of dangerous side effects? Can you suggest suitable herbal and natural remedies? Will you help me devise a supplement program?
  17. Are there any clinical trials which might be suitable for me which I might want to explore?
  18. If my insurance company asks for a second opinion, or if I would like to get one, can you suggest another oncologist to contact?
  19. Does your practice or does this facility offer an Oncology Nurse Navigator for their patients? (See blog post entitled “What is an Oncology Nurse Navigator?”)
  20. Can you recommend a Cancer Coach? (See blog post entitled “Cancer Coach-Trained to Help Cancer Patients Along Their Journey – Could a Cancer Coach
    Help You?” )
  21. What lifestyle changes will I need to make to prepare for treatment, during treatment and after treatment with regards to: Diet, Activities, Work and Exercise?
  22. Do you recommend complementary therapies such as yoga, exercise, acupuncture, meditation, and do you have other suggestions?

Receiving a diagnosis and discussing treatment options can be overwhelming. It is helpful to be prepared for appointments with a concrete list of questions and to take thorough and complete notes. Sometimes it helps to try to take a step away, and approach the discussion clinically. As hard as it is, try to be unemotional and evaluative. Do research, take notes and keep thorough records. We hope these questions will help you take control, and understand your treatment better.

To be forewarned is to be forearmed. Know your options and embrace your informed decisions. Knowledge is power and empowerment makes you a better patient.

If readers of this blog post have additional suggestions to add to this list, please comment on this blog or on http://www.facebook.com/LotsToLiveFor .

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About Margot Malin: Intellectually cMargot Malinurious and fiercely independent, Margot Malin has a passion for knowledge.  After receiving her MBA from The Wharton School, she launched her career by analyzing and evaluating businesses.  In 2002 she embarked on the “creative reinvention” phase of her career with the intention of “giving back”. Margot founded Lots To Live For, Inc., an internet retailer that sells carefully selected products to reduce and relieve the uncomfortable and unpleasant side effects caused by chemotherapy and radiation.

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