The 10 Best Questions for Surviving Breast Cancer: The Script You Need to Take Control of Your Health

The 10 Best Questions for Surviving Breast Cancer: The Script You Need to Take Control of Your Health

by Dede Bonner
     
 

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A good mind knows the right answers...but a great mind knows the right questions. And never are the Best Questions more important than after a diagnosis of breast cancer.

Drawing on cutting-edge research and original interviews — including with former surgeon general C. Everett Koop, bestselling author Dr. Susan Love, well-known breast cancer survivors like

Overview

A good mind knows the right answers...but a great mind knows the right questions. And never are the Best Questions more important than after a diagnosis of breast cancer.

Drawing on cutting-edge research and original interviews — including with former surgeon general C. Everett Koop, bestselling author Dr. Susan Love, well-known breast cancer survivors like Betty Rollin, and experts at the top cancer-care centers in the world — The 10 Best Questions™ for Surviving Breast Cancer is a guide you'll take with you into your doctor's office and keep close to you through every step of your treatment and recovery. In addition to the medical questions, you'll also learn what you need to ask your friends, colleagues, and loved ones so that the rest of your life doesn't take a backseat to your diagnosis:

"How many days I can afford to be out?" (p. 211)

"What questions are my children likely to ask?" (p. 261)

"When will I be comfortable being intimate again with my partner?" (p. 234)
With a wealth of resources and up-to-the-minute information, The 10 Best Questions™ for Surviving Breast Cancer shows you how to move past a scary diagnosis and use the power of questions to become your own best advocate for your emotional, mental, physical, and financial health.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Every woman diagnosed with breast cancer should read this excellent guide; highly recommended for all libraries." — Library Journal (starred review)
Publishers Weekly

Bonner, who calls herself "the Question Doctor," teaches CEOs how to be more effective by asking the right questions and is on the graduate business faculty at George Washington University and Curtin University in Perth, Western Australia. After interviewing a number of experts in breast cancer oncology and surgery as well as in other fields, she divides her topic into three sections: Talking with Your Medical Team, Choosing Treatments and Living Your Life (including emotional, financial and social well-being). In each chapter, Bonner presents 10 important questions (as well as well-researched answers), and an additional "Magic Question" that many people never ask but later wish they had. Noting that a well-educated patient has the best chance of survival, Bonner encourages readers to become actively involved in their own care and to develop a communicative relationship with their cancer care team. Along with incisive questions, Bonner offers tips on how to be politely insistent to ensure questions get the responses they deserve. A chapter also addresses questions the reader might ask herself, and ways to impart the news of a breast cancer diagnosis to children (i.e., in an age-appropriate, honest and forthright manner). This will be a valuable guide for those with cancer as well as their families. Regrettably, 10 best questions regarding lifestyle and nutrition choices are not sufficiently addressed. (Oct.)

Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Library Journal

Consultant Bonner makes a career out of posing the right questions in order to elicit the most useful responses. Dividing her book into three large categories, she then lists under narrower subject headings ("About Your Initial Diagnosis"; "Before Breast Surgery") the ten best questions a patient should ask a doctor, with one Magic Questionaao, the one most people wouldn't think to ask, e.g., What is the most hopeful thing you can tell me about my diagnosis? Each chapter features context for the questions, sidebars with additional questions, a conclusion, and resources. Every woman diagnosed with breast cancer should read this excellent guide; highly recommended for all libraries.


—Bette-Lee Fox

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781416560500
Publisher:
Touchstone
Publication date:
09/30/2008
Edition description:
Original
Pages:
336
Product dimensions:
8.32(w) x 10.88(h) x 0.78(d)

Read an Excerpt

Introduction

The most important questions are often the ones you didn't know to ask. Even the best doctors in the world can't give you the right answers unless you ask them the right questions first.

But how do you know what the right questions are? "Ask your doctor." You've heard it a million times, but do you really know what to ask? What if you don't know very much about breast cancer yet, feel intimated by your doctor's expertise, or just feel simply overwhelmed by this diagnosis?

More than ten years ago my mother suffered a major heart attack. As I nervously watched the monitors' readings of her vital signs bounce around, it occurred to me that I didn't know what to ask the doctors about her condition. In that moment of feeling totally helpless, the only thing I could control was my questions. But I just didn't know what to ask.

I vowed to learn how to ask better questions. When I started taking my mom to her follow-up doctor appointments, I spent time researching her medical options and planning questions for her doctor. I wanted to be a well-informed consumer for her sake, to make sure she was getting the very best possible care.

This experience sparked my interest in questioning skills. As I read about questions, I was surprised to learn how little attention people pay to questions in general. It seems that our society is so focused on solutions and answers that we rarely ever stop to consider the quality of our questions.

I started teaching questioning skills as part of the graduate-level business classes I teach in Washington, D.C., and Perth, Australia. My students liked it so much that I developed the concept of "The 10 Best Questions" as a way for them to learn questioning skills, team dynamics, and research skills all at once. For more than five years, I've taught hundreds of students who have interviewed thousands of experts. For example, my students have researched what to ask when you buy a house, get engaged, adopt a dog, hire a financial planner, invest in stocks, retire, plan a wedding, start a diet, and look for great sex.

To learn more about questions, I did a series of interviews with people known for their questioning skills to try to discover their secrets. Helen Thomas, the legendary White House reporter, is famous for her press conference questions to every president since John F. Kennedy. She told me, "Before a news conference I would think, what's the best question to ask?...I have the courage of ignorance in my questions.... I always get nervous, figuring out what to ask a president. But I believe you have to be curious and keep asking why."

Peter Block, an international management consultant and the author of the book, The Answer to How Is Yes, said, "There's a deeper meaning to asking questions. It's a stance you take in the world, a desire to make contact and get connected."

I talked with professional interviewers like Susan Sikora, a TV talk-show host in San Francisco; Debbie Nigro, a New York radio host; and Richard Koonce, a journalist and consultant in Brookline, Massachusetts. From each I heard a version of "you are only as good as the questions you ask." For this book, I interviewed experts in oncology, breast surgery, relationships, and financial planning.

So, who are the best question askers? They are smart, curious, and fearless, yet humble enough to learn from someone else. They value listening and inquiry. Great question askers see every person they meet as a "walking encyclopedia" of valuable information just waiting to be unlocked by the right questions. And finally, as Albert Einstein once said, "The difference between me and everyone else is my ability to ask the right questions."

The 10 Best Questions in this book won't make you an instant Einstein. And as "The Question Doctor," I certainly don't claim any Einstein-like brilliance either. I simply believe that a good mind knows the right answers, but a great mind knows the right questions.

Each chapter has a "Best Questions" list, plus one more question that I call "The Magic Question." A "magic question" is the one that even smart people rarely think to ask because it's a "gut-level" question without an obvious answer. I've also tried to include the "best answers" for each question so you'll know when you are hearing the full story.

In writing this book, I've taken a practical and holistic approach to researching the "Best Questions" to make you a "best-informed patient." My focus is to help your decisions, choices, and relationships by suggesting what you can ask your doctors, medical experts, partner, family, friends, and ultimately yourself after a diagnosis of breast cancer.

Your lifetime prescription for good health is to stay informed. Former surgeon general Dr. C. Everett Koop told me he believes, "There's nothing that will lead to better medical care than a knowledgeable patient."

Asking the 10 Best Questions in this book gives you the actual script in hand for each major conversation and decision you will soon be facing in the event of a breast cancer diagnosis. At the same time, be sure to ask plenty of your own questions, too. As Helen Thomas concludes, "There's no such thing as a bad question, only a lot of bad answers."

Copyright 2008 by 10 Best Questions, LLC

Meet the Author

Dede Bonner, Ph.D., a.k.a. “the Question Doctor,” is on the graduate business faculties of The George Washington University and Curtin University in Perth, Western Australia. She is an internationally acclaimed expert in questioning skills and money-saving “Best Questions” for CEOs and other clients. A former political analyst for the federal government, Dr. Bonner is the owner of the 10 Best Questions, LLC and New Century Management, Inc. She has a doctorate of education in executive leadership.

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