Dr Susan Love's Breast Book: An In-Depth Critique of The Best Authority on Breast Cancer

For a book that is supposed to be the best book to use on breast cancer, Dr Susan Love’s Breast Book falls short in many important areas. Of course, it is not a complete waste of print. It may help to know what to expect ahead of time, though .

The first problem is an obvious one. That is, too much of the book covers basic anatomy of breast tissue and development instead of the information that women who read the book need the most. Women who are looking for answers do not want to have to sift through half of the book before they find them. Particularly when one’s life hangs in the balance.

The next difficulty lies in the fact that the book was published only as recently as 2005. This has to take its toll on the accuracy of the survival and mortality statistics quoted within its pages. In the cases of chemotherapy, antibodies, and hormonal therapies, advances are often realized much more quickly than a five-year span. Consequently, the statistics on ten-year survival rates are especially suspect.

As if that weren’t enough, Dr. Love only dedicates one paragraph to the very sensitive topic of interpreting the data so that readers may relate it to their own situations! How are they supposed to prepare to live well and fight hard when they are left with feelings of resignation and fear?

In addition, descriptions of rare complications of surgery and recurrence are given too much space. At a time when most readers are looking for cold hard facts about their options in order to make treatment decisions, Dr Love agonizes over the number of lives lost as well as medical inadequacy. Again, to a woman looking for information right now: not necessary.

Even when Dr. Love does have some good information for the reader about how dangerous chemotherapy, radiation, and surgery can be, she still recommends it wholeheartedly. And that is in the face of the evidence that chemotherapy is only 2-9% effective when given to non-metastatic women and that many of the side effects of the big three treatment options are permanent and life threatening in themselves!

Not the kind of person I want giving me advice on matters that directly affect my health and ultimate quality of life. Let’s not forget that she is a doctor, after all, and may have a detached manner of assessing treatment plans.

Again, I am not saying that no one should read the book. Dr Susan Love’s Breast Book is still a good reference. But most women need real advice on what to do next, what will happen next, and how to detect (and prevent) recurrences.

Looking for practical information about preventing breast cancer in yourself and the women you love? Visit the preventing breast cancer page on Holistic-Medicine-MD. Better yet, check out the book Breast Cancer: Reduce Your Risk With Foods You Love by Dr. Robert Pendergrast.

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