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When Your Life Is Touched by Cancer

A review of "When Your Life Is Touched by Cancer: Practical Advice and Insights for Patients, Professionals and Those Who Care" by Bob Riter.
BY Beth Fand Incollingo
PUBLISHED February 20, 2015
When Your Life Is Touched by Cancer: Practical Advice and Insights for Patients, Professionals and Those Who Care
By Bob Riter [Hunter House Publishers, 2014]

When he was 40, Bob Riter became one of the rare men who develops breast cancer. After a single mastectomy, he began working at the Cancer Resource Center of the Finger Lakes, in Ithaca, N.Y., where he has now spent 12 years shepherding people through the issues surrounding diagnosis, treatment and survival. Wanting to help eliminate the miscommunications that often arise between patients and caregivers, Riter began penning short newspaper pieces to offer guidance. It’s those essays that comprise his book, When Your Life is Touched by Cancer: Practical Advice and Insights for Patients, Professionals and Those Who Care.

The essays in this 130-page book span the cancer experience and include “Telling the Kids,” “Clinical Trials,” “Chemobrain,” “Single with Cancer,” “The Posttreatment Blahs,” and, for caregivers or supporters, “What to Say—and Not Say.” The pieces are intended to give patients decision-making tools.

The essays are short, and for a reason, Riter notes in an introduction. “This seems to work for people just diagnosed with cancer because they tend to have brief attention spans,” he writes. “Their minds are spinning in a thousand directions and they tend to browse rather than read a book cover to cover.”

With its friendly tone and wide range of information, this book is a good find for those grappling with cancer.
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