Dr. Vladimir Lange, an emergency room physician and author of two previous books
on surviving breast cancer, is described as an authority on helping patients and families
cope with a loved one’s breast cancer. Dr. Lange’s wife, Mandy, a pediatrician, went
through a personal experience of breast cancer detection, exploring facts, treatment
options, after-care, and support. Mandy survived, and continues to survive, after her
breast-cancer treatment sixteen years ago. Both Drs. Lange hope this third revised and updated
version of Be a Survivor will help more breast cancer patients learn what can help
them manage and survive for life.
The author recommends specific questions the patient can ask their doctor and medical
treatment team: How do I decide what are the best treatment options for me and what
fits and feels best for my life style? What are the pros and cons of breast conservation,
mastectomy, hormonal or other treatments? What options should I consider when
choosing breast reconstruction and augmentation? What should I consider and plan
for when using newer treatments (ex., brachytherapy), complimentary, and alternative
therapies? Finally, some questions to raise when exposed to so-called “cures” or
miraculous, scientifically-unfounded cancer remedies.
Beyond learning about different kinds of breast cancer, the trials and tribulations of
detection, diagnostic tests and procedures, treatment options and risks, one underlying
theme is the repeated references to and implications that the patient be responsible
for disclosing feelings and asking for help with family and lifestyle issues. Without
overstating the book’s value for overcoming personally-perceived attributions of
weakness and social stigma, positive self-statements and assertions can become
reinforcing, empowering, and helpful to one’s motivations for treatment, recovery,
and healthy, life changes.
Although Be a Survivor may not have a dramatic emotional impact on you, compared
to the visuals, candid expressions, and graphics in the companion DVD, this reviewer
believes a mature reader or patient will need this information to share with spouse, life-
partner, family, and supportive care-givers. After all is said and done, this sequentially-
organized, informative medical book with illustrative, visual graphics, up-dated resources,
and glossary of medical terms, if used appropriately, can become powerful medicine, too.