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MacDonald, John A.

Toronto, McClelland and Stewart, 1988. 136pp. paper. $12.95, ISBN 0-7710-5422-X. CIP

Grades 7 and up
Reviewed by Ruth Bainbridge

Volume 17 Number 1
1989 January

As the title indicates, this handbook was written to provide information for cancer patients, their friends and their families. The author was well qualified to write on this topic as he was a surgeon who encountered, many patients with cancer and was able to observe their reactions as well as those of their significant others. The author's wife was suddenly struck with cancer at the young age of thirty-three while carrying their seventh child and she died quickly thereafter. Then, at age fifty, the author himself died of lung cancer.

The first few chapters of the book explain in layman's terms what is currently known about cancer. It has been updated by Jack Laidlaw, M.D., the executive director of the Canadian Cancer Society. Medical terminology appears in italics and a small glossary is included at the end of the book. After dealing with the physiology of cancer and the types of treatment available at present, MacDonald then deals with the psychological aspects of living with the disease, highlighting such areas as fear of cancer, his personal experience of fighting cancer both as a spouse of someone afflicted and then as a victim himself, reactions of family and friends, and living and dying with cancer.

This book is written to help all of those affected by cancer by helping them to gain more knowledge of and insight into the disease. The author meets this objective well and also provides much needed hope to anyone who reads this book. He also includes a bibliography of written material dealing with related topics. When Cancer Strikes is very easy to read and is recommended to all those over the age of twelve who are interested in knowing more about cancer.

Ruth Bainbridge, Humber Community College, Toronto, Ont.
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