Editorial Reviews of The Journey Through Cancer

The Journey Through Cancer: An Oncologist's Seven-Level Program for Healing and Transforming the Whole Person

Jeremy R. Geffen, MD
Crown Publishers, 2000

Oncologist Jeremy R. Geffen, MD, has done medicine -- physicians, nurses, allied health providers, patients and their families -- an extraordinary service in giving us this sensitive, thoughtful, beautifully written book. Its premise is that medicine embodies both relative and ultimate purposes, corresponding to the "doing," biological aspects of life, and the "being," emotional and spiritual dimensions. In its relative focus, medicine seeks to cure disease; on a deeper, ultimate level it must support a patient's discovery of the capacity for love and joy regardless of diagnosis or the possibility of cure.

In a seven-level program created to address both the relative and ultimate goals of oncologic care, Geffen explores the most current thinking on the etiology, expression, and progression of cancer; its treatment, both conventional and complementary/alternative; and the promotion of healing in mind, body, and spirit -- even, perhaps especially, when the goal is no longer cure. There are particularly valuable sections on nutritional and psychological approaches to cancer care, and extended coverage of the spiritual realities of life with cancer that will empower physicians, patients, and their families to forthrightly address the obstacles to finding meaningful existence in the face of the most dire prognoses.

While the book is written for a lay audience (and should become assigned reading for any physician's cancer patients), it can also be a useful resource for physicians, serving as a guidebook for the journey they are often asked to walk with their patients, but for which they have been poorly prepared by conventional medical education and training. Its over 50 pages of resources -- journal articles, books, websites, associations, and support groups -- is alone worth the cover price.

-Reviewed by Denis Meacham, Consult Editorial Director


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