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Non-Hodgkin's Lymphomas

Other books by Lorraine Johnston

Colon Cancer

Lung Cancer

Oncology Nursing Forum Reviews
Non-Hodgkins' Lymphomas
by Lorraine Johnston

This book is offered as a layperson's guide to the lived experience of non-Hodgkin's lymphomas (NHL). It could be used easily by anyone who wanted more information about NHL, such as patients, friends or loved ones of patients, or nonmedical personnel involved in the care of those with this illness. This book would be helpful at any point in living with the disease, whether it be coping with the initial shock of diagnosis, making sense of the past, or negotiating any twists and turns along the way. The author has no formal medical background but possesses a wealth of firsthand knowledge of the disease. Johnston became an expert when caring for both her mother and husband, who are long-term survivors of lymphomas. In addition, she used patient vignettes for illustration throughout. Non-Hodgkin's Lymphomas is one of a group of patient-centered guides offered by this publisher, each of which deals with a different health-related problem.

The text is well presented as it begins by stating who should use the book and offers help in how to go about doing so. Logically presented in a step-by-step format, the text starts with how a diagnosis is made. It proceeds to tests that are necessary and what they will entail. The book discusses the types of lymphomas and staging in concrete, accurate terms and why this information is of paramount importance. Other chapters in this well-researched text include those about chemotherapy, radiation, and early and late side effects. The whole spectrum of illness, including diagnosis, remission and other therapies, potential relapse, and death, is described.

The most valuable chapters of this book may be the ones that deal with less concrete topics. These chapters present topics that can help optimize and personalize patient care. Topics include helping the reader speak effectively with healthcare providers, how to seek out other sources of information, how to maximize social support, and how and when to get a second opinion. The chapters about the role of stress in illness, the use of complementary therapies, and advice regarding finances and insurance also are useful. Above all, the book constantly reminds readers to talk to their doctors because they are the best sources of information.

Potential deficits with this book are few but worth mentioning. Because it is more in-depth than most patient-centered literature, those who are newly diagnosed and overwhelmed or those who are less literate may be daunted by the material The book's cost of about $20 (based on an online book search) may be prohibitive to some. The book also has the underlying assumption that patients live in an area where a second opinion is possible or are free to travel for a second opinion. These things aside, the book is an invaluable tool for anyone whose life is affected by NHL and is an excellent resource for those who cope by gaining knowledge.

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