Keeping It All Together

Part workbook, part encyclopedia, The Breast Cancer Companion provides a valuable resource for breast cancer patients.

By Diana Price

If you’ve been treated for cancer or have spent time with a friend or relative who has made the rounds, you know that the information and the paperwork related to the diagnosis and all of the appointments pile up fast. And it’s all important: diagnosis details, first opinions about treatment, second opinions about treatment, treatment schedules, information about how to prepare for treatment, information about how to recover from treatment, drug dosage and schedules—you get the point.

Nancy Sokolowski, RN, OCN, and Valerie Rossi get it, too. Sokolowski is a nationally recognized breast health specialist with a 30-year career that includes roles as a co-founder of the Smilow Family Breast Health Center at Norwalk Hospital (a teaching affiliate of Yale University School of Medicine) and as a breast health navigator. Rossi is an experienced medical writer who has co-authored a planner and guide for diabetes patients. Together the women have created The Breast Cancer Companion: A Guide for the Newly Diagnosed (Demos Health, 2011), a welcome resource for women facing a breast cancer diagnosis that is part organizer, part workbook, part information source, and all-around reference about all things breast cancer.

“When a woman hears that she has breast cancer, she most often wants to know what she is supposed to do next,” Rossi says. “Nancy and I wanted to reassure her step-by-step so that she felt informed, prepared, and in control through diagnosis, treatments, and recovery. With The Breast Cancer Companion, we can share all that Nancy has learned from guiding thousands of women in her role as a breast health navigator.”

In fact, the best way to describe the many aspects of the breast cancer experience that are addressed in this book and to accurately convey how they are delivered is to reproduce some of the book’s pages. As you’ll note in the pages featured here, the book invites patients to fill in information about each stage of their diagnosis and treatment while simultaneously providing comprehensive information about those stages (as well as links to more in-depth sources). So take a look, and if you know someone recently diagnosed, consider passing along this extremely well-thought-out and helpful resource.