The Guide to Living With Bladder Cancer
Large Print Edition
By Mark P. Schoenberg
The John Hopkins University Press
A John Hopkins Press Health Book (2001)
Reviewed by Rochelle Caviness - June 26, 2001
Bladder cancer is the fourth most common cancer found in American men, and the eighth most common among American women. An estimated 11,000 people die each year from the disease. Despite these staggering numbers, bladder cancer is also one of the least talked about cancers. In The Guide to Living with Bladder Cancer, Mark P. Schoenberg, the book's author, breaks the silence that has surrounded this disease.
Schoenberg is the director of urologic oncology at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, and he brings his years of experience and knowledge to this book. In easily understood language Schoenberg begins this book by providing a clear overview of the structure and function of the bladder and the entire urinary tract. Building upon this basic knowledge, Schoenberg then embarks on a frank discussion of what bladder cancer is, its symptoms, and how it is diagnosed. He also offers detailed descriptions of the various treatment options available. The text concludes with a variety of tips, offered by his patients, on how to deal with, and live with, bladder cancer.
This book is illustrated with explicit diagrams that serve to elucidate the topics covered in the text. As well, the writing is clear and uncluttered, and it is greatly enhanced by Schoenberg's knack for explaining complicated procedures and ideas in readily understandable terms, without talking down to the reader. Most important, he is quick to show that a diagnosis of bladder cancer is not necessarily a death sentence. In fact, as he points out, the most common type of bladder cancer is nonaggressive and very easy to treat.
Schoenberg offers the reader a comprehensive outline on everything you need to know about bladder cancer. He discusses the two types of bladder cancer, nonaggressive and aggressive, and the various treatments of both. He talks about those factors, such as smoking, which may increase a person's risk of developing bladder cancer, and the current research being conducted in the field to better understand the disease. He discusses the clinical symptoms of the disease, and the long term prospects of a patient. Most importantly, a major portion of this book is devoted to detailing the various treatments available and how to decided, with your doctor, which form of treatment is best for you. He also explains how, if necessary, the bladder can be removed and how the urinary tract is then reconstructed.
Throughout, Schoenberg offers detailed explanations of what you can expect as you undergo various tests and treatments. He also provides a step-by-step guide to the various treatment options available such as endoscopic surgery for removal of tumors, a procedure that does not require an incision. He also discussed more traditional surgical options and nonsurgical options, such as radiation therapy and chemotherapy. As well, he explains why each procedure is performed, and its risks and benefits. He also offers advice on how to prepare yourself, both mentally and physically, to undergo each procedure, and what you can expect after the procedure is done. He also talks about what your life will be like after the treatments are complete. For example, he illustrates that even with an ostomy bag, you can live a healthy and normal life.
Overall, this is an excellent introductory book on the subject of bladder cancer. It is an invaluable resource that will help both patients and their family members understand what bladder cancer is and how it is treated. For many people, this book will contain all the information that they need. For those that want to learn everything they can about the disease, it will give them a solid knowledge base from which to build upon.
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