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Cancer Talk

(Critical Survey of Contemporary Fiction)

Selma Schimmel is a cancer survivor. This text is an outgrowth of her personal experiences with the changes the diagnosis of cancer brings to patients and their loved ones. After battling cancer in her late twenties, Schimmel was motivated to establish Vital Options, the first organization in the nation dedicated to promoting awareness and support for young adults with cancer, in recognition of their unique needs. From that evolved “The Group Room,” a radio call in show for those dealing with cancer and related issues.

Cancer Talk: Voices of Hope and Endurance from “The Group Room,” the World’s Largest Cancer Support Group is the next step in the ongoing mission to promote a better understanding of cancers, and to provide hope for cancer patients and those they love. The text is user friendly, written in a discussion like format. Patients, family members, doctors, therapists, and clergy all have their say. Schimmel’s commentary about her personal experiences as both patient and caregiver ties the work together.

The medical, social, and legal aspects of cancer are candidly, but sensitively addressed. So is the fear of recurrence, and the joy of survival. Schimmel’s work provides guidance through the bureaucratic maze, and hope for all living with cancer. All “survivors” may not be cured, but they and those close to them can be “healed,” as knowledge replaces fear and communication builds bridges based on love and understanding. All who have experienced cancer in their lives will see themselves in this text. It is an outstanding resource for cancer patients and those who care for them.