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Breast Cancer Husband    by Marc Silver order for
Breast Cancer Husband
by Marc Silver
Order:  USA  Can
Rodale, 2004 (2004)

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* * *   Reviewed by J. A. Kaszuba Locke

Marc Silver is neither physician nor oncologist. He is an editor and contributor to the US News and World Report. Marc is also a husband and father, whose wife was diagnosed with breast cancer three years ago. They faced surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation treatments. I write they as Breast Cancer Husband tells the story of their coping as individuals, a couple, and a family. The book is an offering to husbands, boyfriends, significant others, fiancÚs, and long-term companions in need of a guide to help themselves and the woman close to them, who is suffering from breast cancer.

Silver discusses dealing with the 'acute stress reaction', i.e., shock, disbelief, and numbness, coupled with 'why me?' He qualifies comments with, 'The more couples I interviewed, the more I came to see that the caregiver's job list can't be carved on stone tablets. It depends upon who you are and who your wife is'. This well-researched book addresses types of biopsies: surgical, performed under anesthesia for removal of a piece of the lesion; and core needle, and fine needle, both of which remove a sampling of cells. Explained are two surgical options of lumpectomy and mastectomy, the stages of cancer, treatments, alternatives, and processes before, during, and after surgery. Involved in the diagnosis and treatment of breast cancer are different fields of oncology -- medical (chemicals), breast/surgical, and radiation oncologist for x-rays, as well as oncology social workers and coordinators.

Silver advises -- tell your children's teacher and guidance counselor. Tell your children soon and gently, do it together, use the word 'cancer', make your language and information 'age-appropriate', and allow kids to ask questions. (An eight-year old asked, 'Is it contagious?' and 'Is she going to die?'. The father answered, 'We're going to do everything we can to keep that from happening.') Telling parents, in-laws, relatives, and friends can also be an ordeal, and is addressed candidly by Silver, especially with respect to insensitivity to what is said to the breast cancer woman. Silver stresses allowing oneself to feel the emotions -- cry, laugh, be angry, and sad, and hug, cuddle, court with flowers for romance, talk but above all 'LISTEN' ... this word is stressed!

This is a comprehensive and straightforward guide which avoids heavy medical jargon. Silver has written an emotional, and compassionate book to guide any and all facing the trauma of hearing the words 'you have breast cancer'. Silver's book belongs on shelves in homes, libraries, reference rooms, waiting rooms in hospitals and medical offices, employer offices, and anywhere a person will pick it up, even to read a few pages while waiting for an appointment. I recommend it highly to all readers who seek knowledge, and consolation on the subject of breast cancer, whether men or women, friends, family members, acquaintances, caregivers, and support/discussion groups.

The following are breast cancer organizations mentioned by Marc Silver within the context of his book: The National Cancer Institute (1-800-422-6237) provide a list of cancer centers; a 'Breast Cancer Dictionary' is available through the American Cancer Society (1-800-227-2345) or; a 'Talking Dictionary' is provided at; other support groups are; and

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