The guide book for anyone coping with a breast cancer diagnosis.
Photograph by ChiChi Ubina
By Michele Graham
Dr. Elisa Port is the type of doctor anyone would adore – smart, warm, caring — but would hope to never to see. As the chief of breast surgery at The Mount Sinai Hospital and the co-director of the Dubin Breast Center in Manhattan, Dr. Port deals with women at their most vulnerable and anxious. Her compassionate and informed voice resonates throughout her new book from Ballantine, The New Generation Breast Cancer Book: How to Navigate Your Diagnosis and Treatment Options — and Remain Optimistic – in an Age of Information Overload. Dr. Port was encouraged to write the book by a close friend (herself a best selling author) to reach and reassure more women than can be treated in her practice. Her mission is about getting the facts out and destroying common misconceptions.
The New Generation Breast Cancer Book deals with the fact and the fiction in today’s information overload environment. We have become conditioned to turning to the Internet as the word from on high about treatments and options. Through email, text and social media, well-intentioned friends and family members inundate the new diagnosed with doctor names, protocol options (and opinions), and tales of… . Dr. Port cuts through all this in her concise and easy-to-understand guidebook that is a must-read for anyone – patient or loved one – who is coping with a breast cancer diagnosis.
Dr. Port takes us through the stages – from screening, selecting a surgeon, understanding pathology reports, and reconstruction. Along the way she addresses the choices that women have to face: lumpectomy or mastectomy; surgery, radiation, and chemotherapy; complementary versus alternative medicine; and when to consider genetic testing. Her thoughtful approach even includes how to tell your children about your cancer. As cancer patients will relate, the loss of control is one of the biggest challenges they face. With this in mind, the book is organized with strategies for going through the process and arming patients with the real information they need to manage their care, (emphasis on real!). As Dr. Port states in her bookend chapters, “There is no one plan that fits all.” This book will guide patients in making the decisions to create their individual plan.
There are helpful sidebars with “Need to Know” and “A Word to the Wise”, and each chapter concludes with a takeaway highlighting main points. At the back there’s a glossary of important terms, and FAQs addressing common questions from patients, family and friends. Dr. Port recognizes just how valuable the Internet can be when properly used, and so she includes a reliable and authoritative list of organizations and online resources.
Thankfully the survival rate from breast cancer is very high, approaching 90% overall. With today’s medicine, chances are women will not only survive their breast cancer, they will thrive. Having Dr. Port’s words, and her voice, as a wise and trusted companion can make that journey a lot less stressful and a lot more manageable.