Eight-year kidney cancer survivor, Sherry L. Meinberg, Ed.D, brings a positive approach to dealing with cancer in her self-help guide, A Cluster of Cancers. A compilation of encouraging quotes and suggestions, the book is designed to help patients participate in their own healing.
The prolific author and educator begins with a clinical overview, addressing how patients might deal with diagnosis and delineating the stages and grading of cancers, progress that’s been made in treatment and survival, and potential causes. An extensive reference section later provides Internet links and a bibliography.
Since Meinberg believes participation is key to surviving cancer, the majority of the book focuses on self-help. She covers topics the medical community generally believes beneficial for self-healing, from stress management and visualizations, to supplements and nutrition, positive relationships and even the use of humor. Much of the advice isn’t particularly fresh – the idea of setting intentions, employing affirmations and so on have long been a staple of the self-help genre – but she presents it clearly and compellingly.
The section on forgiveness is Meinberg’s most poignant. Stalked for decades by her ex-husband, a psychotic schizophrenic, she points out how years of unrelenting stress affected her health and well-being. Although her tormentor is deceased, she says she’s still working on forgiving — and advises readers to do the same in order to focus their energies on becoming healthy and cancer-free.
Meinberg’s attribution of quoted material can be problematic at times. While some of the experts quoted, such as Deepak Chopra, may be familiar, most will not. And Meinberg doesn’t often explain their particular expertise (beyond noting that they are MDs, Ph.Ds etc.), which leads readers to wonder why they have been included.
Nonetheless, A Cluster of Cancers delivers a quick read filled with sound advice for those coping with cancer. While the information doesn’t break new ground, it provides a nice summary of current thinking on how to tackle the difficult task of coping with cancer.
Also available as an ebook.