Book Review : A welcome help to the patients and families of people suffering from Cancer, especially Breast Cancer.
I am a reluctant reader when it comes to medical books. More than half my life has been spent reading those books. But the title, Lump to Laughter: Breast Cancer… It’s time to talk. That is how I dived into this book on Breast Cancer awareness by Dr. Jayanti S Thumsi.
Dr. Thumsi is a hugely successful and popular Surgeon who has made tackling Breast Cancer her passion and mission. This book is a welcome help to the patients and families of people suffering from Cancer, especially Breast Cancer.
The author rightly says in the beginning that Breast Cancer is completely curable in early stages and the person can live normal life with all the dignity and self-respect. Cancer treatment has made tremendous strides over the past decade or so and Breast Cancer particularly has been handled rather well by the Medical fraternity. But there are hurdles which the patient has to overcome. The most important being a woman’s reluctance to consult a Doctor in early stages. Shyness, lack of self-importance, the tendency to gloss over personal issues in the interest of the family etc. are the reasons behind many a women not getting right treatment at the right time. This is a frustrating aspect of the treatment for the Doctors.
The book starts with the story of Divya, a young software Engineer who is diagnosed with Breast Cancer three months later than she actually should have been. The author takes us through different stages of the detection, confirmation of diagnosis, taking the patient into confidence, explaining the pros and cons of treatment, patient education, development of bonding between patients suffering from same illness, self-help groups, the treatment and beyond. Short very precise chapters with absolutely no beating around bush is the hallmark of this book.
Women tend to suffer more emotional trauma due to fear of loss of femininity, loss of reproductive capacity, loss of hair and all those things. How they can be helped to accept the worthiness of the whole painful treatment is explained beautifully. Chapters “What if it comes back?” and “WHO prediction for Cancer in India” deal with lurking fear and the sheer numbers about Cancer. Though many women want breast reconstruction along with the surgery, many refuse it because of cost issues. We are told the stories of Divya, Ameena and Deepa to establish different types of cancer and how the severity and length of treatment can vary with each one.
The author proceeds to tell us why a team is necessary to tackle Cancer effectively. Then comes the inner peace a Cancer survivor attains after the successful treatment. Early detection and prevention are discussed with clarity. THREE is an organisation that Supports to Heal, Restore, Empower and Energize patients who are undergoing Cancer treatment. This was founded by Dr. Thumsi’s patients.The Doctor indulges in some Philosophy quoting Rabindranath Tagore’s “Where the mind is without fear and the head is held high”.
There is an extremely well compiled chapter on FAQs followed by an even better one on Breast Awareness and Self Examination. The next segment of the book is dedicated to “Cancer Survivors Speak”. “A Story of Hope” is the story of Kamaldeep Peter and her conquest of Breast Cancer. Yeshi Dolker talks about “A Brush with breast cancer”. Anant Kumar concludes the book with the tragic refusal of Chemotherapy by his wife Namitha, which resulted in recurrence and loss of life in his piece, “Opportunity Lost”. The short and highly useful book concludes with List of Figures and References.
This is definitely a great effort by Dr. Jayanti S Thumsi. It is written is completely simple language without medical jargon and can be understood by anyone with basic English language capabilities. Simplicity is the greatest virtue of this Doctor and her book. I strongly recommend this to women into their 40s and above and to all those detected with Breast Cancer and in the process of making decisions on treatment modalities.
In one sentence: Short, sweet and superb.
Editor’s Note: Eighty percent of breast lumps aren’t cancerous. They often turn out to be harmless cysts or tissue changes related to menstrual cycle. However, only a qualified doctor can tell whether a lump is cancerous or not. In the event of a lump or anything unusual in the breast, consult a doctor right away. If it is cancer, the earlier it’s found, the better.
Details of the Book
Lump To Laughter, Breast Cancer… It’s time to talk.
Author: Dr. Jayanti S Thumsi
Published by: Bluejay Books Pvt. Ltd. in 2015
Pages: 84 with Soft Cover
Price: Rs. 95/-