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Doody ReviewsReviewer: Mary Katherine B. Zanin, PhD (The Citadel)
Description: Using data from research studies and anecdotal evidence from patients and doctors, this book discusses the effectiveness of prophylactic surgery for the prevention of cancers in women.
Purpose: In the introduction, the author describes her goals: to explain the history of preventive surgery for cancer, to identify the scientific justification for prophylactic surgery, and to explain why women are the main targets of this radical approach. In her book, she successfully addresses most of her objectives in a sophisticated manner. Women who have experienced a cancer diagnosis or who know they have a genetic predisposition for cancer may find this book interesting and informative.
Audience: The author is academically qualified and presents the history and science of cancer in a clear, accurate manner, but her language is often quite technical and intellectual, which may limit the audience. The book probably will appeal mostly to highly-educated women who are currently struggling to decide how to best proceed with their own cancer or precancer treatment. It also may appeal to physicians who are striving to offer their cancer patients the best advice about how to make those decisions.
Features: In her effort to provide a complete account of the historical methods of diagnosis and treatment of cancer in women, the author can be redundant and wordy in some places, but often the repetition comes in the form of specific stories from various patients and doctors, which may be pertinent to various readers. The book also offers the pros and cons of prophylactic surgery for women at high risk for cancers of the colon, breasts, ovaries, uterus, and cervix. In the final analysis, Lowy makes it clear that preventive surgery is rarely definitively right or wrong and that often the best decision a woman can make is one that gives her, personally, a sense of well-being.
Assessment: Women who want a deeper understanding of the complexity of cancer treatment options will benefit from reading this book.