Professor Karol Sikora, Consultant Oncologist
This book is a remarkable testimony to the importance of psychological care, often missing in even our best cancer centres. Written by a psychologist and counsellor, who actually has been on her own cancer journey, she is well placed to analyse the basis of uncertainty every cancer patient will feel for the rest of their lives. The book is very readable and gratifyingly free of psycho-babble. It's very suitable for patients and their families as a useful aid to discussion. It contains interesting interviews with various cancer professionals who put forward their own perspectives. But the take home message is that whilst we can now cure more half of our cancer patients we need to do more to make sure their quality of life in body, mind and spirit is made as perfect as possible. Dr Galgut's short book is an excellent and thoughtful way into to this complex area for patients and indeed all health professionals dealing with cancer.
Ruth McCurry, Retired teacher and publisher
This book is a little package of experiences: not everyone suffers them but many do. Surely it's time to be realistic about the consequences of cancer treatment, the side effects which may last a lifetime. Truth telling is important but many shy away from facing hard experiences. Nevertheless it's time to be realistic about the short and long term side effects of cancer treatment for men as well as women. Not everyone suffers the life long pain and the fears, as well as the failure of those around them to understand, but very many do. Anyone who has read a previous book by Cordelia Galgut will know that she can make the hardest things readable and interesting, as she does here. All of us, doctors and patients, need this hard-hitting and truthful book.
Liz Lane, Retired Managing Director
Being diagnosed with a malignant melanoma was the start of a journey, the most terrifying of my life as I go from check up to check up paranoid that every ache or pain is something sinister. I know that it's not a short journey I am in this for the long haul. Cordelia's book clearly illustrates what living with cancer is really like in a very honest, open and informative way from both from a sufferer's and counselling psychologist's perspective. It's particularly invaluable because she includes practical strategies for coping longer term, including allowing yourself to accept that what you are experiencing is real, and enabling you to have the conversations you need to have with medical professionals.
Jan Millington, Cancer survivor with 'late effects'
The commitment, courage and insight of Ms Galgut displayed in this comprehensive account of the challenges of cancer survivorship 'from the front line' is both remarkable and inspiring. As one who has tried to support and campaign for hundreds of patients in these situations over thirty years I know that she speaks from the heart about what we all think, feel and endure. We can sincerely empathise with those living with fear and isolation in a world which says, 'Be glad you are alive'. This book needs wide distribution to sufferers in need of comfort and support. And -just as importantly - to medical professionals as a plea to listen and try to understand.
I have made so many notes, reading the book, that it looks like it has developed a severe case of measles. But the beauty of the book is that Dr. Galgut used medical language, albeit in easy-to-understand-form, so the reader can grab sentences from the copy and drop them into official letters, and use these when you write a letter about your treatment. There are lots of phrases to use that spring out from the pages, and after all - this is written by a doctor, so they gather their arguments in a 'medical' rather than an emotive way. Read it to reassure yourself you are NOT making a fuss. Here is a doctor who has experiencd the 'other' side, and is honest enough to admit there is a lot wrong with the way cancer patients can be treated. As I read it, I was nodding to myself in agreement - here was someone who had experiened the same problems as I had.
This is a very significant and courageous book for health professionals, patients, carers and family members written by a psychologist who was first diagnosed with bilateral breast cancer 15 years ago and is the author of two earlier books on emotional and physical effects of living with cancer... The chapters cover the struggle of facing up to long-term effects, the dread of recurrence, effects of cancer on relationships and work, and more detailed interviews with a nurse and three doctors as well as a separate chapter on the experience after treatment with male cancers. The book is clearly structured and written, with excellent summaries aimed at different constituencies. The analysis is incisive and frank: some of the deepest issues arise from an unconscious denial of our mortality when faced with the implications of cancer and, for patients, the dread of recurrence and having to undergo further painful and extended treatment when reserves of strength and resilience have already been sapped... The messages of this book could not be more important for our understanding of living with cancer, so it should be widely read and discussed.
Sue Long, Online Cancer Support Specialist, Maggie’s Centres
This is a book I've been looking forward to reviewing. Dr Cordelia Galgut is a counselling psychologist, who writes from both the perspective of the professional, and as a cancer patient. She gets it....she understands that the cancer can leave deep emotional and physical scars. In her most recent book, she tackles head on, the often unspoken fact that many people who have had cancer can still suffer psychologically and physically for many years after the cancer treatment has passed. There is often a mismatch between what the health care professionals believe, which is that people will recover emotionally and physically over time - and the reality for some, who will still be struggling several years later. What I like about the book, is that it speaks for the person who has been through cancer, and gives pointers for health care professionals to understand how cancer still affects people many years after the original diagnosis. The book is broken down into nine chapters and covers a wide ranging number of relevant topics. This includes the fear of cancer's return, relationships, work, issues with male cancers, and the health care professional perspective. Threaded through the book are the author's personal perceptions. This provides an empathic and insightful view of how it is for those living with the long term effects of cancer. My big 'take home' message from reading this book is that the person's lived experience of cancer is very real....and the feelings and traumas post cancer can persist for many years. It's important that we who are listening to someone's story, validate their experience, and let people voice their reality.
Rhea Crichton, Clinical Nurse Specialist in Pain, Northern Devon Healthcare NHS TrustBritish Journal of Nursing
Dr Galgut's book should be a must-read for patients who may be living with the longterm effects of treatment and who may have experienced some of the assumptions and prejudices that Dr Galgut writes about-they will benefit from the feeling of camaraderie that the topics covered in this book provide. This book is also an invaluable resource for health professionals, at any level, due to the plain language and inclusion of multiple resources, references and explanatory notes... I would highly recommend this book to anyone who has an interest in gaining a better understanding of the professional and patient issues regarding a diagnosis of cancer, its treatment and the long-term emotional and physical effects. Furthermore, it would be of interest to anyone who wishes to gain insight into the lived experience of someone with a dual perspective, as both health professional and patient. This is a perspective that Dr Galgut presents beautifully.