Book recommendation - The Human Side of Cancer: Living with Hope, Coping with Uncertainty

December 02, 2016
Book Recommendation
By Patti Kwok, ARNP, Ph.D., Cancer Survivorship Clinic

Written by Jimmie C. Holland, M.D., and Sheldon Lewis, this book reflects over two decades of research working directly with cancer patients and their families. Jimmie Holland is a psychiatrist who has worked at Memorial Sloan Kettering for over thirty years. Sheldon Lewis is a journalist with a special interest in the human side of medicine. The authors share from a patient’s perspective what it is like to navigate the land of uncertainty, describing deep seated fears and the significant challenges that families and loved ones face caring for those with cancer.

As one patient told Dr. Holland, “write the book and forget the science — just tell it from the heart.” There is significant insight and wisdom in the 300 pages of this book, revealing perhaps the most important side of cancer —the one that is often overshadowed by science, countless procedures and technology. There are diverse chapters addressing a wide range of important topics, such as dealing with psychological concerns, discovering a healthier physical and emotional lifestyle, finding more meaning in life and critical issues for families and caregivers. 

The final chapter is called “How Do I Go On?” There are no quick fixes or prescriptions in this body of work. The heart of what Dr. Holland offers is “my suggestions, impartial information, and sharing of what I have learned over many years of clinical work can make your own journey a little easier and keep you from losing hope.” 

Their work is a powerful reminder that we all have fears and must discover our own internal sources of strength, healing and courage. Although this is an older book, there are few others that describe with such depth of personal experience what it means to be human facing life-threatening illness.



This article is from the Winter 2016 issue of Life to the Fullest, the newsletter from the Swedish Cancer Institute (SCI) dedicated to those with cancer, cancer survivors, and their family members and caregivers.

Topics: Cancer