A critical resource for anyone with a cancer diagnosis. Written by a radiation oncologist and cancer researcher, Taking Charge of Cancer offers an insider’s guide to understanding and receiving the best treatment options, choosing the right medical team, and approaching this difficult time with knowledge and hope.
Receiving a cancer diagnosis can be terrifying, and the first thing you probably want to know is: How am I going to survive this? Cancer care requires decisions from numerous professionals, delivering treatments that are potentially life-saving, but also potentially dangerous and life-threatening. The chances of cure and survival for any given patient depend on the expertise of the cancer team, and whether procedures are in place to ensure that cancer care is delivered properly. So, how can you make sure you choose the right treatment team and ensure the best chances of survival and long-term health after being diagnosed with cancer?
Taking Charge of Cancer is a different type of book for cancer patients—one that goes beyond the cancer information that is currently available, allowing you to truly take control of your cancer treatment. You’ll learn how to obtain and understand medical records, and why these records are critical to your care. You’ll also find the tools you’ll need to determine if the recommendations made by doctors are in keeping with accepted treatment guidelines. You’ll discover how doctors use evidence to decide which treatments are best, as well as how doctors can become biased in their recommendations. And, most importantly, you’ll be able to evaluate whether surgery, radiation, or chemotherapy make the most sense in your specific case—and whether or not these serious treatments are being delivered effectively and safely according to the highest standards.
Now that you’ve received a cancer diagnosis, it’s time to set a plan in motion for your recovery. This book will help you do just that—every step of the way.
About the authors
David Palma, MD, PhD, is a radiation oncologist and cancer researcher focusing on the treatment of lung, head and neck, and metastatic cancers. He holds advanced degrees from Harvard University, the VU University in Amsterdam, and Western University in Canada. Palma has published more than one hundred scientific research articles, and has won several awards for academics and teaching. He lives in Canada with his wife Cheryl Smits—a family doctor—and their three children. He is an avid marathon runner and Ironman triathlete.
Foreword writer Anthony Zietman, MD, is Shipley Professor of Radiation Oncology at Harvard Medical School, and former president of the American Society for Radiation Oncology (ASTRO). He is chief editor of the International Journal of Radiation Oncology Biology Physics—one of the world’s leading radiation oncology journals—and is a trustee of the American Board of Radiology.
“David Palma has developed a refreshing resource for patients who must endure the complicated journey that comes with the diagnosis of cancer. He highlights what questions to ask, why certain tests are done, and where to look for potential mistakes that can affect their outcomes.”
—Drew Moghanaki, MD, MPH, director of clinical radiation oncology research at Hunter Holmes McGuire Veterans Affairs Medical Center
“Palma has provided important advice that is easy to read and understand. It is an essential read for any patient with cancer who is about to undergo any type of cancer therapy.”
—Robert J. Cerfolio, MD, MBA, FACS, FCCP, chief of thoracic surgery and director of the Lung Cancer Service Line at NYU Langone Cancer Center
“If you use a guidebook for a journey, you will need Taking Charge of Cancer for a cancer journey. Cancer patients are overwhelmed with information related to the diagnosis, and commonly, it is confusing. Palma’s ‘how to’ approach to complex information is surely a brilliant guiding light”
—Tony Mok, MD, chair in the department of clinical oncology at the Chinese University of Hong Kong
“This is a long-awaited book written specifically for patients sailing through the cancer journey, and is an invaluable resource for them to empower themselves in their cancer care.”
—Simon S. Lo, MB, ChB, FACR, professor and vice-chair for strategic planning of radiation oncology at the University of Washington School of Medicine, and internationally renowned expert in stereotactic radiation delivery and neurologic radiation oncology
“David Palma has written a ‘how-to’ manual that should be considered a must-have book for anyone with cancer. In clear and easily readable prose, Palma helps patients and their family members navigate the unfamiliar territory in which they find themselves after receiving a diagnosis of malignancy. With a combination of illustrative patient stories and well-explained medical evidence, the book provides authoritative guidance in a general sense, and also specific advice on where to find more information on an individual patient’s particular situation. I will recommend it to my patients and to my own family and friends diagnosed with cancer. I am sure they will gain comfort and reassurance from Palma’s thoughtful insights.”
—Brian D. Kavanagh, MD, MPH, FASTRO, professor and chair in the department of radiation oncology at the University of Colorado Denver School of Medicine