"No one can be lonely who has a book for company." ~ Nelle Reagan

Saturday, February 8, 2014

100 Perks of Cancer by Florence Strang and Susan Gonzalez

100 Perks of Having Cancer
plus 100 Health Tips for Surviving It!
Authors:  Florence Strang (registered psychologist) and Susan Gonzalez (registered nurse)
Published:  August 2013
Publisher:  Basic Health Communications
Pages:  500
Includes Recommended Websites, Suggested Reading and Viewing, References and Index
ISBN:  9781591203568
Edition:  Trade Paperback
Genre/Category:  Self Help, Health, Cancer
Source:  A complimentary copy was provided by the authors and the publisher via JKS Communications.  Receipt thereof does not influence this review nor my opinion expressed here.  

While the authors recognize that cancer is certainly no laughing matter, both cancer survivors set out to remind readers that no matter how bad one's life circumstances may be, there are always reasons to smile - and steps that can be taken to improve one's health, outlook, and prognosis. Containing many healthy-living tips to promote healing of the body as well as healing the mind and soul. (Goodreads)

How often do you hear the words “healthy”, “happy” and “cancer” mentioned in the same sentence?  That is precisely what gives 100 Perks of Having Cancer (Plus 100 Health Tips for Surviving It) its unique character.  Its authors not only “talk the talk” of living a healthy lifestyle with a positive attitude on the cancer journey, they also continue to “walk the walk”.
Florence’s perks, which are a combination of inspirational and humorous anecdotes, have made her audiences laugh and cry.  Susan’s tips are sought after because of their educational content with a witty twist. Together they provide a valuable resource which will inspire and motivate their readers, while keeping them smiling. 
See more at the 100PerksofHavingCancer.com! (from JKS Communications)
My Thoughts:

Twenty-one years ago this August my father died of lung cancer.  My step-father has battled with prostate cancer.  An uncle with prostate cancer.  My sister-in-law's mother.  A dear friend with breast cancer which has now spread.  This friend has battled valiantly and cheerfully, beating all odds predicted.  I remember years ago, maybe twenty five or so, I didn't know anyone with cancer.  Now I have had and do have people close to me battling the disease so when the book 100 Perks of Having Cancer came to my attention, I really wanted to read it.

Both authors have at some point personally received the diagnosis of cancer.  Both are doing very well and through their collaborative efforts this book came into being.  It's just incredible! Their optimism, humour, experiences and knowledge is evident on each page as they share a perk of having cancer as a chapter heading, then delve further into therapies, nutrition, recipes, things to avoid, things to do and eat, and things to be aware of.  There's so much here!  I think, even for someone who is not personally fighting cancer, but who perhaps knows someone or is related to someone who is, this is a valuable resource.  100 Perks of Having Cancer offers support with each paragraph and insight as well.  If you want to know what your loved one is feeling, just read this book.  The best way to relate to someone is to understand them.

Take for example the Chapter Perk # 73 Cancer Brought Out the Family Resemblance to My Son.  

"Ever since the day Donovan was born, I've been hearing the same thing over and over again, "He looks JUST like his father." However, following my cancer treatments, people started to notice my resemblance to my handsome son.  Maybe it's the eyes?  Could it be the nose? No, it was definitely the hair!" (page 304)  There's a photo of the two of them with a crew-cut hairstyle.

She speaks of how she didn't mind when her hair fell out from the chemotherapy treatment (not all chemo drugs cause hair loss she tells the reader) but she was not comfortable going out in public until it began to grow back in again.  It was then that if she squinted her eyes just right she could see her resemblance to Demi Moore in the film G.I. Jane! 

"While being bald as a pumpkin has its perks, it is a joyous day when new hair starts to grow in.  Be patient, it will grow back." (page 305)

Following this experience Health Tip #73 talks about the benefits of pumpkins after which is a recipe for Creamy Pumpkin Soup which I just might give a try.  I still have a pumpkin left over from Halloween.  (yes, it's still good!)

Alas, there's a tip about sweets.  I have such a sweet tooth!!!   There's a short lesson on the function of the pancreas (remember one of these authors is an RN) and the liver.  After reading this I think I may be able to curb that appetite a bit better.  The authors included a list of ingredients that really are just synonyms for sugar like date sugar, lactose, barley malt, honey, maltodexrin, agave nectar, to name a few.  The reader is reminded that a healthy diet contains no artificial, chemical, "no-calorie" sweeteners.  

There's a lot to learn in the 500 pages of 100 Perks of Cancer and a lot of support as well.  I highly recommend this as a resource for anyone dealing with cancer in any form and for their loved ones as well.  "Whether you are a cancer warrior, a cancer survivor, or a cancer avoider, this book has something for you!" (quoted from the back cover)

 February 5th is World Cancer Awareness Day!

Listen to an interview with the authors:  http://100perksofhavingcancer.com/interviews-and-publications/

Author Links below:


  1. Thanks so much for your wonderful review of our book! We really appreciate you getting the word out. So sorry for the loss of your dad. I lost mine too to cancer, Our hope is that we can spread the word about what you CAN do to fight this disease.


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