One of my rare forays into the world of non-fiction, You Have Cancer contains the writings of four African American friends who discovered that they all had cancer at around the same time. The book details each of their journeys as they dealt with their cancers, including treatment, emotional reactions to the illness, and the effect their illness had on family and friends. This book is unique in that it is directed at an African American audience, but it was also an accessible and easy-to-read book that can be very helpful to those of any ethnic background on how to deal with such a devastating medical prognosis.
Most of the book is divided into segments in which each of the four men tells their own story. They talk about cancer in layman's terms, making the reader feel as if they are hearing about cancer from a friend. But there is also a section in which there is actual medical terminology for those who would like to know more details about the individual cancers that each man had to be treated for. There is also a wealth of information at the back of the book, a list of agencies and medical help groups that a person can contact in order to get help or advice on various aspects on cancer. This section is worth the price of the entire book, a helpful resource that will come in handy for many people who come in contact with this book.
Overall, this book can be an excellent resource for cancer patients and their loved ones who feel they need more information on the cancer they are dealing with and what to expect. Reading about cancer firsthand from each of these men can give hope to those who are diagnosed with cancer or for those who know a family member or friend who has the disease. Most of all, it gives guidance as to what to expect in terms of the emotional devastation that cancer will cause.
The book is also unique in that it aims its message to a group of people who traditionally do not get help until it is often too late when it comes to health. The authors of You Have Cancer wrote this book to break that mold for other African American men, to tell everyone out there not to be afraid to get help, to not prolong the wait before a visit to the doctor, because getting help can save a life. What I enjoyed most about the book is that I felt I got to know these four men, and was able to get an inkling of what they went through in their fight against cancer. The book could have been edited a bit more carefully and its structure could have been tighter, but for what it is, it does a good job with its message. I definitely recommend this book.