Book Reviews

Not for the Squeamish: Surgery in the 19th Century

Ronald Piana  / September 10, 2019

Imagine undergoing major surgery in a grimy operating room without any form of antisepsis. That was the grim reality in the 1800s, when the ruling theory was that damage from “bad air” was responsible for infections in surgical wounds. Hospitals simply aired out the surgical wards at midday to avoid...

A Vigorous Life Through the Prism of Impending Death

Ronald Piana  / September 10, 2019

“Live while you’re living, friends,” writes Julie Yip-­Williams in her memoir, The Unwinding of the Miracle: A Memoir of Life, Death, and Everything That Comes After. It was The New York Times bestseller when she died of stage IV colon cancer at the age of 42. She is the most recent of several debut...

Breast Cancer

Almost 20 Years Later, Breast Fitness Is More Relevant Than Ever

Ronald Piana  / August 25, 2019

BOOKMARK Title: Breast Fitness: An Optimal Exercise and Health Plan for Reducing Your Risk of Breast CancerAuthors: Anne McTiernan, MD, PhD; Julie Gralow, MD; and Lisa TalbottPublisher: St. Martin’s PressPublication Date: October 2000 (first edition)Price: $48.75, hardcover, 352 pages   The Nat...

The Obesity Epidemic From a Neuroscience Perspective

Ronald Piana  / August 10, 2019

Since the 1970s, there has been an alarming increase in obesity. According to the latest data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), about 70% of Americans are either overweight or obese. Excess body weight is linked to numerous diseases, including more than 14 types of cancers. ...

The Opioid Overdose Crisis: Victims, Villains, and the Gray Area in Between

Ronald Piana  / August 10, 2019

According to politicians and the media, such as award-winning journalist Beth Macy, we are in the midst of the worst drug crisis in American history. Sparked first by oxycodone and broadening into heroin and fentanyl, opioid addiction is indeed ravaging communities across the nation, largely in econ...

Emergency Medicine Doctor Reflects on 5 Decades of Career Experiences

Ronald Piana  / July 25, 2019

BOOKMARK Title: Patient Care: Death and Life in the Emergency RoomAuthor: Paul Seward, MDPublisher: CatapultPublication Date: July 2018Price: $22.95, hardcover, 240 page The history of emergency medicine residency training is interlaced with the impetus for specialty status in emergency medicine...

Issues in Oncology
Health-Care Policy

The Unhealthy Health-Care System, and How to Fix It

Ronald Piana  / July 25, 2019

BOOKMARK Title: An American Sickness: How Healthcare Became Big Business and How You Can Take It BackAuthor: Elisabeth Rosenthal, MDPublisher: Penguin PressPublication Date: April 2017Price: $27.95, hardcover; 416 pages The United States spends considerably more on health care than all other wea...

Scientist, Father of A Child With Autism Pushes Back on the Antivaccine Movement

Ronald Piana  / June 10, 2019

BOOKMARK Title: Vaccines Did Not Cause Rachel’s Autism: My Journey as a Vaccine Scientist, Pediatrician, and Autism DadAuthor: Peter J. Hotez, MD, PhDPublisher: Johns Hopkins University PressPublication date: October 2018Price: $22.95, hardcover; 240 pages English physician Edward Jenner invente...

From Leeches to Liquid Biopsy: Uncovering the Mysteries of Blood

Ronald Piana  / June 10, 2019

BOOKMARK Title: Nine Pints: A Journey Through the Money, Medicine, and Mysteries of BloodAuthor: Rose GeorgePublisher: Metropolitan BooksPublication date: October 2018Price: $27.00, hardcover, 368 pages Blood has been mythologized and misunderstood since the earliest records of humankind and sti...

An Insider’s Account of the Nobel Prize–Winning Race to Uncover the Secret of the Ribosome

Ronald Piana  / May 25, 2019

Situated in the nucleus of the human cell is DNA, the secret of life discovered by the Nobel Prize laureates Drs. Watson and Crick. More recently, another scientist, Venki Ramakrishnan, PhD, won a Nobel Prize for his work in uncovering another secret within the human cell: the structure of the ribos...

Unlocking the Secrets of the Immune System, Story by Story

Ronald Piana  / May 25, 2019

The story of immunotherapy is one of the most interesting and provocative in medical history. William B. Coley, MD, first harnessed the immune system against cancer in the late 19th century by injecting mixtures of live and inactivated bacteria into patients’ tumors. For various reasons, immunothera...

Obesity, Examined and Explained

Ronald Piana  / March 25, 2019

BOOKMARK Title: The Obesity Code: Unlocking the Secrets of Weight LossAuthor: Jason Fung, MDPublisher: Greystone BooksDate: March 2016Price: $18.95, paperback; 296 pages According to data from the National Cancer Institute (NCI), obesity plays a significant role in developing at least 12 differe...

Humanitarian, Cancer Specialist Advocates for Universal Access to Care as a Basic Human Right

Ronald Piana  / March 10, 2019

There is a plethora of educational books for patients with cancer and their families; advocates and patients themselves write most. Books in this genre often have a difficult time distilling the hard science of oncology into a lay-friendly narrative that keeps the reader engaged from cover to cover....

Issues in Oncology

Former JAMA Editor Offers Perspective on Challenges Past and Present in American Health Care

Ronald Piana  / February 25, 2019

BOOKMARK Title: Severed Trust: Why American Medicine Hasn’t Been FixedAuthor: George D. Lundberg, MD, With James StaceyPublisher: Basic BooksPublication date: March 2001Price: $28.00, hardcover, 336 pages Pathologist George D. Lundberg, MD, served as Editor-in-Chief of The Journal of the America...


Stories of the Scientists Behind Immunotherapy

Ronald Piana  / December 25, 2018

As the field of immunotherapy accelerates, so does the literature reporting on the path ahead. One of the newer books on the topic is A Cure Within: Scientists Unleashing the Immune System to Kill Cancer. It has a top-notch pedigree: the author, Neil Canavan, is a seasoned journalist with more than ...

Issues in Oncology

A Feminist Take on Health-Care Disparities

Ronald Piana  / December 10, 2018

BOOKMARK Title: Doing Harm: The Truth About Bad Medicine and Lazy Science Leave Women Dismissed, Misdiagnosed, and SickAuthor: Maya DusenberyPublisher: HarperOnePublication date: March 2018Price: $27.99, hardcover, 400 pages Over the past year or so, there have been several books by women focuse...

Neurologic Knowledge to Enhance Well-Being and Happiness

Ronald Piana  / December 10, 2018

BOOKMARK Title: Your Happy Brain: Why and How to Hug ItAuthors: Philomena Lawrence, BA, BEd, and Gilbert Lawrence, MD, FRCRPublisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing PlatformPublication date: June 2018Price: $16.00, paperback, 390 pages Some 2,400 years ago, the ancient Greeks were among the ...

Hematologic Malignancies

A Battle With Leukemia: Part Memoir, Part Oncology History

Ronald Piana  / December 10, 2018

BOOKMARK Title: Cancer Crossings: A Brother, His Doctors, and the Quest for a Cure to Childhood LeukemiaAuthor: Tim WendelPublisher: ILR PressPublication date: April 2018Price: $24.95, hardcover, 256 pages Tim Wendel is a journalist and author of several noted books, mostly concerning sports. In...

When Illness and Culture Collide

Ronald Piana  / November 25, 2018

“‘Sickness’ is what is happening to the patient. Listen to him. Disease is what is happening to science and to populations.” —Lawrence Weed, MD, 1978 America’s massive health-care system is highly complex, with its own unique language, methods, technologies, and scientific approaches, developed an...

Founder of the Harvard Stem Cell Institute Relates the History of Cancer Research

Ronald Piana  / November 25, 2018

Cancer memoirs are generally written by people who have an intimate relationship with the disease, mostly survivors, sometimes by those who are dying while writing, such as the breathtaking book, The Bright Hour: A Memoir of Living and Dying, by the poet Nina Riggs. Once in a while, a scientist or p...

A Pediatric Oncologist Recounts 7 Years at a Hospital in Jerusalem

Ronald Piana  / November 25, 2018

Elisha Waldman, MD, is a pediatric oncologist and Associate Chief in the Division of Palliative Care at the Ann and Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital in Chicago. He grew up in a Connecticut suburb, the son of a conservative rabbi. Early on, Dr. Waldman majored in religious studies and felt spiritu...

Family Archivist Holds Joyful Memories Amid Grief of Losing Loved Ones

Ronald Piana  / November 10, 2018

BOOKMARK Title: The Trail to Tincup: Love Stories at Life’s EndEditors: Joyce Lynnette HockerPublisher: She Writes PressPublication date: May 2018Price: $23.95, hardcover, 288 pages Human mortality is embedded in the day-to-day challenges of clinical oncology; a cancer diagnosis is a reality che...

Living a Full Life After a Diagnosis of Cancer

Ronald Piana  / November 10, 2018

BOOKMARK Title: Here We Grow: Mindfulness Through Cancer and BeyondAuthor: Paige DavisPublisher: She Writes PressDate: May 2018Price: $22.95, paperback, 154 pages Since the publication of Dr. Paul Kalanithi’s best-selling book, When Breath Becomes Air, about his diagnosis of cancer and untimely ...

On Aging and the Wellness Industry

Ronald Piana  / October 10, 2018

Only a few centuries ago, the major source of moral and scientific authority in Western culture was religion, which requires trusting one of numerous supernatural deities. However, the presumption that medicine is based on evidence-based and peer-reviewed science is what gives it authority in modern...

Learning to Listen and Returning to the Art of Medicine

Ronald Piana  / October 10, 2018

Bernard Lown, MD, was born in Lithuania, the son of a rabbi. He immigrated to the United States at the age of 14, where his scientific precocity bloomed. After attaining his medical degree from John Hopkins University School of Medicine, he pursued his passion of raising international awareness of s...


A Journey Through the Immune System

Ronald Piana  / September 25, 2018

Although the basic concept of using the body’s immune defense mechanisms to fight cancer has been around for centuries, the idea of using immunotherapy in cancer, in general, returned to prominence when Dr. Thomas Burnet first proposed the theory of cancer immunosurveillance in 1957. Despite promisi...

A Daughter Struggles Through Her Father’s Battle With Cancer

Ronald Piana  / September 10, 2018

BOOKMARK Title: White Hot Grief Parade: A Memoir Author: Alexandra Silber Publisher: Pegasus Books Publication date: July 2018 Price: $25.95, hardcover; 288 pages   The sudden death of a loved one produces a different type of trauma for family and friends than the protracted fading away of ...

Hematologic Malignancies

A Story of a Mother and Daughter and Cancer

Ronald Piana  / September 10, 2018

BOOKMARK Title: The Cookie Cure: A Mother-Daughter Memoir of Cookies and CancerAuthors: Susan Stachler With Laura StachlerPublisher: SourcebooksPublication date: February 2018Price: $19.95, paperback, 320 pages Cancer memoirs vary in their voice and message. Some are slapstick humorous attempts ...

Issues in Oncology
CNS Cancers

A Firsthand Account of Cancer and Mental Illness

Ronald Piana  / August 25, 2018

Brain tumors are among the most challenging clinical scenarios faced by the oncology community. Along with devastating physiologic damage, brain tumors often have a dramatic effect on the patient’s cognitive, neurologic, and psychological functions. However, the body of literature focusing on neurop...

Issues in Oncology

The Story of a Notorious Cluster of Childhood Cancers

Ronald Piana  / August 10, 2018

BOOKMARK Title: Toms River: A Story of Science and SalvationAuthor: Dan FaginPublisher: Random HouseOriginal publication date: March 2013Price: $28.00, hardcover, 560 pages The Toms River emerges in the Pine Barrens of northern Ocean County, New Jersey, and zigzags through wetlands, emptying int...

A Celebrity Gadfly’s Reflections on His Death and Other Things Meant to Irritate

Ronald Piana  / August 10, 2018

BOOKMARK Title: MortalityAuthor: Christopher HitchensPublisher: Twelve: Hachette Book GroupOriginal Publication Date: May 13, 2014Price: $19.95, paperback, 128 pages “There are no atheists in foxholes” is an aphorism used to contend that in times of extreme fear, such as during war or facing a l...


Is Some DNA Worthless?

Ronald Piana  / August 10, 2018

BOOKMARK Title: Junk DNA: A Journey Through the Dark Matter of the GenomeAuthor: Nessa CareyPublisher: Columbia University PressOriginal publication date: April 2015Price: $22.95, paperback, 360 pages When biologists first delved into the human wonder of genes in the 1970s, they eventually disco...

Solid Tumors
Prostate Cancer

A Medical Oncologist Urges Men to Keep Their Prostates

Ronald Piana  / July 10, 2018

With the development of the prostate-specific antigen (PSA) test in the early 1990s, the urology community advocated for population screening of all men of a certain age, igniting a heated argument about the test’s clinical value vs potential harms that has not abated to this day. Moreover, from...

Supportive Care

Inside Look at Widowers Coping With Grief

Ronald Piana  / June 10, 2018

BOOKMARK Title: The Group: Seven Widowed Fathers Reimagine LifeAuthors: Donald L. Rosenstein, MD, and Justin M. Yopp, PhDPublisher: Oxford University PressPublication Date: January 2018Price: $28.95; hardcover, 192 pages Looking back, the cancer advocacy movement took shape in two waves: the fir...

Issues in Oncology

Fast Food Nation and America’s Sick Diet

Ronald Piana  / March 10, 2018

BOOKMARK Title: Fast Food Nation: The Dark Side of the All-American MealAuthor: Eric SchlosserOriginal Publisher: Houghton MifflinOriginal Publication Date: January 2001Price: $23.95, paperback, 288 pages     The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that about two-thirds ...

Issues in Oncology

Seeking Beauty From the Inside Out After Cancer Treatment

Ronald Piana  / March 10, 2018

  BOOKMARK Title: Autobiography of a FaceAuthor: Lucy GrealyPublisher: Houghton Mifflin HarcourtOriginal Publication Date: June 1994Price: $14.95, paperback; 256 pages We live in a celebrity-obsessed society that is consumed by images of what we perceive as ideal beauty. Numerous studies show t...

A Neuroscientist Examines Intact Minds Adrift in Damaged Brains and Bodies

Ronald Piana  / January 25, 2018

Understanding what consciousness is, and why and how it evolved, is perhaps the greatest mystery known to science. With its 100 billion or so neurons and a processing rate of about 4 billion bits per second, the human brain is a miraculously complicated entity, much of which is still under scientifi...

The Telltale Heart: A Surgeon’s Memoir

Ronald Piana  / January 25, 2018

We don’t feel our liver or pancreas working, but we all feel our hearts beating—the drumbeat of our mortality since we all have a finite number of heartbeats from birth to death. And unlike with most other organs, we are painfully aware of how fragile this mighty muscle can be. About 610,000 people ...

Love Triumphs Amid a Battle With Cancer

Ronald Piana  / December 10, 2017

BOOKMARK Title: The Red Devil: To Hell With Cancer—and BackAuthor: Katherine Russell RichPublisher: CrownDate Published: October 1999Price: $23.95, hardcover, 256 pages Over the past year or so, there have been several best-selling memoirs of people fighting and ultimately losing their battle wi...

Solid Tumors
Pancreatic Cancer

Achieving One’s Childhood Dreams While Facing Pancreatic Cancer

Ronald Piana  / December 10, 2017

BOOMARK Title: The Last LectureAuthor: Randy Pausch with Jeffrey ZaslowPublisher: HyperionDate: April 2008Price: $21.95, hardcover; 206 pages Faced with imminent death, how does one chose to live out the remainder of one’s life? Such is the question at the heart of The Last Lecture, a memoir der...

Old and New Perspectives on the Theory of Cancer

Ronald Piana  / December 10, 2017

BOOKMARK Title: Tripping Over the Truth: How the Metabolic Theory of Cancer Is Overturning One of Medicine’s Most Entrenched ParadigmsAuthor: Travis Christofferson, MSPublisher: Chelsea Green PublishingPublication Date: February 2017Price: $24.95, hardcover; 288 pages Bringing a book to market i...

Radiation Oncologist Gives Clear Advice to Patients With Cancer

Ronald Piana  / December 10, 2017

BOOKMARK Title: Cancer: What You Need to Know: Overcome the 10 Common Mistakes Patients MakeAuthor: Stephen A. Rosenberg, MDPublisher: Stephen Rosenberg, MDYear Published: November 2017Price: $9.99, paperback, 248 pages Stephen A. Rosenberg, MD, is Chief Resident in Radiation Oncology at the Uni...

Hematologic Malignancies

Untangling the Controversies of Hematopoietic Cell Transplantation

Shahrukh K. Hashmi, MD, MPH  / December 10, 2017

BOOKMARK Title: Hematopoietic Cell Transplants: Concepts, Controversies, and Future DirectionsEditors: Hillard M. Lazarus, MD; Robert Peter Gale, MD, PhD, DSc (hon), FACP; Armand Keating, MD, FRCP(C); Andrea Bacigalupo, MD; Reinhold Munker, MD; Kerry Atkinson, MBBS, MD, DTM&H, FRCP, FRACP; and ...

A Vivid Look Back, a Cogent Look Forward

Ronald Piana  / November 25, 2017

Cancer memoirs come in a variety of literary styles and voices. Not surprisingly, the most poignant cancer memoirs are by those who are writing, in essence, their final words before departing this earth. The most widely read of that variety has been the beautifully written best seller When Breath Be...

A Revolutionary Technology Offers Hope and Ethical Concern

Ronald Piana  / November 10, 2017

Aldous Huxley’s classic 1932 dystopian novel Brave New World pictures an eerie future where humans are genetically bred, altered to create worthy citizens. Welcome back to the future. First there was the astounding feat of sequencing the entire human genome; now, thanks to a revolutionary gene-edi...

Life With Death in the Room

Ronald Piana  / November 10, 2017

It began, as so many do, with what a doctor often calls “a small spot,” a vague description that makes a potentially fatal disease sound like something that, with a slight bit of attention, can be ridded, like erasing a misplaced comma. In 2015, during a routine mammogram, doctors found one “small...

Solid Tumors
Breast Cancer

Stalked by BRCA1: A Women Struggles to Survive the Same Disease That Killed Her Mother

Ronald Piana  / October 25, 2017

No matter what a person does in life, for good and bad, his or her inherited genetic makeup follows along the way. Such was the case with British journalist Sarah Gabriel, who inherited the BRCA1 mutation from her mother, who died of ovarian cancer when Ms. Gabriel was in college. Much of her moth...

The Dark Side of Medicine: Physician Suicide

Ronald Piana  / September 25, 2017

The statistics on physician suicide are stark: Physicians are more than twice as likely to take their own lives as nonphysicians, and more than 400 physicians commit suicide each year in the United States. Moreover, young physicians at the early part of their training are reported to be particu...

A New Manual for the Expanding Field of Bone Marrow Transplantation

Ronald Piana  / September 10, 2017

The first hematopoietic stem cell transplant was pioneered by E. Donnall Thomas, MD, and published in The New England Journal of Medicine in September 12, 1957. Although the six patients on his trial all died by 100 days post transplantation, Dr. Thomas remained undaunted, continuing his groundbre...

A Doctor’s Call to Arms About the Overuse of Antibiotics

Ronald Piana  / September 10, 2017

On September 3, 1928, Scottish biologist Alexander Fleming returned to London from a vacation and sorted through some petri dishes containing colonies of Staphylococcus. He noticed something unusual in one dish: It was dotted with colonies except for one area where a patch of mold grew. Immediatel...

Tales From the OR: A Pediatric Surgeon’s Memoir

Ronald Piana  / September 10, 2017

CARING FOR sick children brings with it a set of emotional and physical challeneges that differ from those with the adult patient population. In a new book, Healing Children: A Surgeon’s Stories From the Frontiers of Pediatric Medicine, Kurt Newman, MD, draws on more than 30 years of his experienc...

Addressing the Challenges of Intimacy After Cancer

Ronald Piana  / September 10, 2017

The literature has documented the stress and damage that intimacy problems cause among women undergoing cancer treatment and during survivorship. A new book, Sex and Cancer: Intimacy, Romance, and Love After Diagnosis and Treatment, by Saketh R. Guntupalli, MD, and Maryann Karinch tackles the prob...

A Textbook That Fills a Special Need in Oncology: Uncommon Cancers

Ronald Piana  / August 10, 2017

A cancer diagnosis provokes a sea of emotions, fear and anxiety over the future foremost. However, being diagnosed with a common cancer such as breast or prostate cancer has a hard-won comfort zone, in that both patients and physicians are armed with a plethora of data and resources on how to treat ...

A Deep and Incisive Look Into the Health-Care System

Ronald Piana  / August 10, 2017

The seemingly impossible-to-cure maladies of our $3 trillion per year health-care system have been hyperanalyzed, fiercely debated, and voluminously written about by the country’s leading public health experts, opinionated doctors, and policymakers on Capitol Hill. The Affordable Care Act exten...

An Expert on End-of-Life Care Shares Her Stories

Ronald Piana  / August 10, 2017

“In the sufferer let me see only the human being.” So said Maimonides, the medieval Jewish philosopher and physician who espoused treating the patient rather than the illness, a philosophy that modern oncology had to relearn. This brief quote greets readers of a new book called Extreme Measures: Fi...

A Social Media Guide by a Doctor for Doctors

Ronald Piana  / July 25, 2017

Today’s brave new world of digital technology has both enhanced and compromised the day-to-day operational efficiency of ultrabusy oncologists who are struggling to balance patient care with the rapid evolution of technology. Like all scientific advances, health-care technology is a double-edged...

A Frank Memoir About Doctors, Patients, and the Health-Care System

Ronald Piana  / July 25, 2017

“In 1981, 2 days after my older brother Matthew was born, my father sawed off the tip of his index finger.” So begins No Apparent Distress: A Doctor’s Coming of Age on the Front Lines of American Medicine, a memoir by Rachel Pearson, MD, who is currently a resident at Seattle Children’s Hospital...

Big Data and the Learning Machine

Ronald Piana  / July 10, 2017

BOOKMARK Title: The Master Algorithm: How the Quest for the Ultimate Learning Machine Will Remake Our WorldAuthor: Pedro DomingosPublisher: Beacon PressPublication date: February 2017Price: $24.95, hardcover, 288 pages Technology is revolutionizing our understanding and treatment of diseases. Ma...

Cancer Survivor Publishes Book for Children About Cancer

The ASCO Post  / July 10, 2017

A book aimed at helping young families understand cancer, Hair to the Queen! is now available on Amazon. Written by first-time author Tamara B. Rodriguez and illustrated by Carole A. Smith, the book empowers adults to discuss cancer with children in a simple and compassionate way. Hair to the Que...

The Serendipitous Road to Drug Development

Ronald Piana  / June 10, 2017

BOOKMARK Title: The Drug Hunters: The Improbable Quest to Discover New MedicinesAuthors: Donald R. Kirsch, PhD, and Ogi Ogas, PhDPublisher: Arcade PublishingPublication date: January 2017Price: $24.99, hardcover, 328 pages Only about 1 in 100 drug discovery projects initiated by the pharmaceutic...

Refocusing Doctor-Patient Conversations

Ronald Piana  / June 10, 2017

BOOKMARK Title: What Patients Say, What Doctors HearAuthor: Danielle Ofri, MDPublisher: Beacon PressPublication date: February 2017Price: $24.95, hardcover, 288 pages Despite our scientific and medical advances, the single most important diagnostic tool is the doctor-patient conversation, which ...

A New Book Deals With an Age-Old Crisis: Cancer Patients and Mortality

Ronald Piana  / May 10, 2017

The field of psycho-oncology began to take hold in the mid-1970s, when the “C” word was beginning to lose its long-held stigmatization, and patients with cancer could finally begin to openly reveal their diagnosis and express their feelings about their life-threatening disease. Despite that soc...

Breast Cancer

An Oncologist’s Straightforward Guide for Women With Breast Cancer

Ronald Piana  / March 10, 2017

If you Google the search term “breast cancer,” about 155,000,000 results will pop up in .83 seconds. Add to that pamphlets, journal articles, and library shelves bending under the weight of books written about breast cancer. That’s a mind-bending amount of information to parse through for the 2...

Gynecologic Cancers

An Ovarian Cancer Survivor’s Story

Ronald Piana  / January 25, 2017

Ovarian cancer, the deadliest of gynecologic cancers, is usually diagnosed after the disease has spread. Susan Evans was a secondary English and remedial reading teacher for 32 years in Bradford, Pennsylvania. She was on several advisory boards and was recognized by the Pennsylvania Senate and ...

Issues in Oncology

An Insider’s Account of the AIDS Epidemic

Ronald Piana  / January 25, 2017

On June 5, 1981, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention published a Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR) describing cases of a rare lung infection in five young gay men in Los Angeles. The men had other unusual infections as well, indicating their immune systems were compromised...

A Cancer Diagnosis Brings Two Sisters Back Together

Ron Piana  / October 25, 2016

Elizabeth Lesser is an award-winning writer and co-founder of the Omega Institute, the largest adult education center in the United States focusing on health, wellness, spirituality, and creativity. She is the author of several acclaimed books including Broken Open: How Difficult Times Can Help ...


Bruce A. Chabner, MD  / October 10, 2016

Mr. C is almost 90 now, but every summer the boxes of squash, pumpkins, tomatoes, and other vegetables from his truck farm still arrive like clockwork at our door. The cancer that required treatment 17 years ago has never recurred. He’s now struggling with a new problem, recovering from a broken...

Gynecologic Cancers

An Ovarian Cancer Expert’s Guide Offers Insight, Wisdom, and Hope

Ronald Piana  / September 25, 2016

There have been numerous books explicating the information a physician or patient needs to know about our current clinical state in the diagnosis and treatment of ovarian cancer. Many of them are good, but rare is a well-written book in the cancer genre that offers solid scientific hope exceedin...

Breast Cancer

A Complete Guide to Breast Surgery and Reconstruction

Ronald Piana  / August 25, 2016

BookmarkTitle: Breast Cancer Surgery and Reconstruction: What’s Right for YouAuthor: Patricia Anstett, with photography by Kathleen GalliganPublisher: Rowman & LittlefieldPublication date: June 2, 2016Price: $35.00; hardcover, 224 pages Over the past 2 decades, we have seen tremendous improve...

Measures of Success

A. Collier Smyth, MD  / August 10, 2016

I was raised to be an engineer. I grew up in an industrial community, worked summer jobs in a U.S. Steel chemical plant, and was good at science and math. My career choice was straightforward: I went to an engineering university. My first semester freshman year included a mandatory introduction ...

The Building Block of Life, Brick by Brick

Ronald Piana  / August 10, 2016

BookmarkTitle: The Gene: An Intimate HistoryAuthor: Siddhartha Mukherjee, MDPublisher: ScribnerPublication date: May 2016Price: $32.00; hardcover, 608 pagesOn February 28, 1953, James Watson and Francis Crick entered The Eagle, a favorite watering hole for researchers working at the University of ...

An Epic Medical Story by an Old-Style Doctor on the Front Lines of Care

Ronald Piana  / July 25, 2016

The U.S. health-care system is a $3 trillion behemoth of dizzying complexity. Government oversight, ever-changing regulations, mountains of paperwork, electronic health records, initiative after initiative, and so forth, all of which has reshaped the delivery of care, for the good and bad. But o...

The Healing Power of Words

Ronald Piana  / July 25, 2016

Feminist literary scholar Susan Gubar was diagnosed with advanced ovarian cancer in November 2008. She then began her emigration “from the world of the healthy to the domain of the ill,” she wrote in her acclaimed book, Memoir of a Debulked Woman: Enduring Ovarian Cancer. In her memoir, she deta...

A Concerned Physician Reflects on Today’s Doctor-Patient Relationship

Ronald Piana  / July 10, 2016

Doctoring isn’t what it used to be. Like many other professions, it has gone through a multitude of changes ostensibly to improve efficiencies and lower costs. The digital age has reshaped clinical practice from the front office to the exam room. And with the advent of electronic health records ...

An Exotic Journey Into Immunotherapy

Ronald Piana  / June 25, 2016

In his new book, Sharks Get Cancer, Mole Rats Don’t: How Animals Could Hold the Key to Unlocking Cancer Immunity in Humans, James S. Welsh, MD, examines a wide array of animal and human biologic phenomena, searching for clues that might help us unlock the full power of the human immune system. D...

A Journalist’s Cancer Saga

Ronald Piana  / June 25, 2016

Readers of the recently published memoir A Series of Catastrophes & Miracles: A True Story of Love, Science, and Cancer find out that the book has a happy ending on the cover page of chapter 1. Spoiler: I lived, writes the author, Mary Elizabeth Williams, an acclaimed journalist with a list ...

Inside Knowledge From a Cancer Survivor

Ronald Piana  / June 25, 2016

Curtis Pesmen is a well-regarded writer who has authored six books of nonfiction as well as numerous articles for publications such as Esquire and The New York Times. He also has served as founding editor of LIVESTRONG Quarterly and often speaks and writes on patient advocacy. Shortly after tur...

An Unusual Memoir of Cancer

Ronald Piana  / June 10, 2016

“A book about the future must be written in advance. Later I won’t have the energy. So I will do it now.” So begins The Iceberg, a memoir set in Britain of a woman, Marion Coutts, whose husband was diagnosed with a brain tumor, which eventually killed him. Unfortunately, cancer memoirs flood the...

A Physician’s Guide to Pain and Symptom Management in Cancer Patients

Ronald Piana  / May 25, 2016

Despite growing awareness and the existence of guidelines, undertreatment of cancer pain remains a persistent dilemma in the oncology community. Researchers from The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center found that more than 33% of patients suffering from invasive cancer do not receive s...

A Toolkit for Dealing With the Trauma of a Prostate Cancer Diagnosis

Ronald Piana  / May 25, 2016

This year, an estimated 180,890 men in the United States will be diagnosed with prostate cancer; about 21,120 men die of the disease each year. On top of these sobering statistics, from screening to diagnosis and treatment, prostate cancer is fraught with controversy, creating untoward anxiety f...

A Psychotherapist’s Approach to End-of-Life Care

Ronald Piana  / May 25, 2016

BookmarkTitle: Dying: A TransitionAuthor: Monika Renz, PhD; translated by Mark Kyburz and John PeckPublisher: Columbia University PressPublication date: October 2015Price: $38.00; hardcover, 176 pages The night before Julius Caesar was assassinated, he had dinner with his friend Mar...

Inspirational Stories for Cancer Survivors

Ronald Piana  / May 10, 2016

Surveys indicate that cancer survivors have varying desires regarding the kind of support they want. Some patients find support groups very helpful as they deal with the host of issues in survivorship. Others want to distance themselves from the “world of cancer.” Studies also show that enrollme...

A History of Medical Care for the Dying

Ronald Piana  / May 10, 2016

In 2006, palliative care became a board-certified subspecialty of internal medicine, with specialized fellowships for physicians interested in the field. Despite its formal integration into best practices medical care, about 70% of Americans describe themselves as “not at all knowledgeable” abou...

Radiation: Myths, Facts, Dangers and Benefits

Ronald Piana  / April 25, 2016

For many, the word “radiation” conjures up images of mushroom clouds and the nightmarish nuclear disaster at Chernobyl. It also brings to mind those pesky dental x-rays and lifesaving cancer treatments. However, to most people, radiation is a mysterious invisible power to be feared and embraced ...

Things May Not Be What They Seem: Are Old Cancer Treatment Theories New Again?

Ronald Piana  / April 10, 2016

The adage “you can’t judge a book by its cover,” is true, but authors still need to be aware of the importance of first impressions. The title of science writer Travis Christofferson’s book Tripping Over the Truth: The Return of the Metabolic Theory of Cancer Illuminates a New and Hopeful Path t...

A Political Activist Challenges the Drug Approval Process and the U.S. Government

Ronald Piana  / April 10, 2016

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA’s) primary concern in the drug approval process is to ensure that the drug is safe and effective. For the past several decades, the advocacy groups have vociferously painted the agency as a stodgy bureaucracy that prevents desperate patients access to...

A Gene Hunter’s Advice on How to Take Control of Your Genetic Inheritance

Ronald Piana  / March 25, 2016

Since the late 1970s, researchers have identified several gene mutations that are implicated in cancer. Many of these mutations are acquired during our lifetime, but, as we know, some are inherited in families. Identifying heritable cancer-causing genetic mutations is a double-edged sword, raisi...

A Doctor’s Prescription for a Long Life

Ronald Piana  / March 25, 2016

Longevity is a common goal among humans. And like all things human, it is not distributed equally. According to world health data, Japan is number one on the longevity list; its 130 million citizens have a life expectancy of about 84.74 years. The sub-Saharan country of Chad is number 224, havin...

A Hard Look at the Connection Between Germs and Mental Illness

Ronald Piana  / March 25, 2016

The relationship between disease and microbes was first proposed in the 17th century, but the basic standards for proving that infection causes disease were not laid down until 1883, when the German bacteriologists Robert Koch and Friedrich Loeffler provided the first evidence of the processes u...


A Cancer Patient’s Harried Survivorship Story

Ronald Piana  / March 25, 2016

There are approximately 14 million cancer survivors in the United States, a number that is steadily increasing, thanks to our advances in detection and treatment. However, surviving cancer can leave a host of physical, emotional, and financial hardships for years after diagnosis and treatment. ...

Breast Cancer

A TV Host’s Breast Cancer Survival Story

Ronald Piana  / March 10, 2016

Bookmark Title: Had I Known: A Memoir of SurvivalAuthor: Joan Lunden with Laura MortonPublisher: Harper CollinsPublication date: September 2015Price: $26.99; hardcover, 336 pages In 1974, several weeks after Betty Ford became the nation’s First Lady, she underwent a mastectomy for breast cancer....

A Surgeon’s Inspiring Journey to Death

Ronald Piana  / February 25, 2016

Every so often, a memoir comes along in which the story speaks to universal themes. For that magic to occur, the author must step aside at times and let others tell their story, too. Moreover, the writing must be clear, vibrant, and above all else honest to the core. The recently published memoir by...

Global Cancer: The Current Reality and the Future Need for Action

Ronald Piana  / February 25, 2016

The estimated number of cancer cases worldwide in 2008 was 12.7 million, with 7.6 million deaths. By 2030, it is estimated that there will be 22 million newly diagnosed cancer cases and 12 million deaths, shocking to contemplate in dollars and human suffering. Although this impending disaster has be...

A Pioneering Oncologist’s Roadmap Forward

Ronald Piana  / February 10, 2016

Bookmark Title: The Death of Cancer: After Fifty Years on the Front Lines of Medicine, a Pioneering Oncologist Reveals Why the War on Cancer Is Winnable—and How We Can Get There Authors: Vincent T. DeVita, Jr, MD, and Elizabeth DeVita-Raeburn Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux Publication dat...

Fear’s Many Deleterious Consequences

Ronald Piana  / February 10, 2016

Bookmark Title: The Fear Cure: Cultivating Courage as Medicine for the Body, Mind, and Soul Author: Lissa Rankin, MD Publisher: Hay House, Inc Publication date: February 23, 2015 Price: $25.99; hardcover, 336 pages   Fear is a healthy survival mechanism, a fight-or-flight response designed t...

A Famous French Oncologist’s Gastronomic Advice for Reducing Cancer Risk

Ronald Piana  / February 10, 2016

BookmarkTitle: The Anti-cancer Diet: Reduce Cancer Risk Through the Foods You EatAuthors:  David Khayat, MDPublisher: W.W. Norton & CompanyPublication date: April 2015Price: $26.95; hardcover, 288 pages   In 2002, David Khayat, MD, was in Turkey on holiday with friends when he received a call ...

Saving Children Orphaned by AIDS in South Africa

Ronald Piana  / January 25, 2016

Bookmark Title: Empty Hands, A Memoir: One Woman’s Journey to Save Children Orphaned by AIDS in South Africa Author:  Sister Abegail Ntleko Publisher: North Atlantic Books Publication date: September 1, 2015 Price: $12.95; paperback, 176 pages With the development of the multidrug highly act...

Breast Cancer

A Noted Breast Surgeon’s Book of Solid Advice

Ronald Piana  / January 25, 2016

Bookmark Title: The New Generation Breast Cancer Book: How to Navigate Your Diagnosis and Treatment Options—and Remain Optimistic—in an Age of Information Overload Author: Elisa Port, MD Publisher: Ballantine Books Publication date: September 2015 Price: $20.00; paperback, 320 pages When a n...

A Primary Care Doctor’s Tough-Love Medicare Fix

Ronald Piana  / December 25, 2015

Bookmark Title: Curing Medicare: One Doctor’s View of How Our Health Care System Is Failing the Elderly and How to Fix It Author:  Andy Lazris, MD Publisher: CreateSpace Publication date: September 13, 2014 Price: $13.75; paperback, 290 pages Several years ago I decided to write a book about...

The Lawless and Uncertain World of Medicine

Ronald Piana  / December 25, 2015

Bookmark Title: The Laws of Medicine: Field Notes From an Uncertain Science Author: Siddhartha Mukherjee Publisher: TED Books/Simon & Schuster Publication date: October 13, 2015 Price: $16.99; hardcover, 96 pages The Emperor of All Maladies, written by the Indian-born American oncologist...

Mixing Metaphors to Change the Language of Cancer

Ronald Piana  / December 25, 2015

BookmarkTitle: Malignant Metaphor: Confronting Cancer MythsAuthor:  Alanna MitchellPublisher: ECW PressPublication date: September 15, 2015Price: $24.95; hardcover, 184 pages Illness is the night-side of life, a more onerous citizenship. Everyone who is born holds dual citizenship, in the kingdom...

The Highs and Lows of a Transplant Surgeon

Ronald Piana  / December 10, 2015

Bookmark Title: Last Night in the OR: A Transplant Surgeon’s OdysseyAuthor: Bud Shaw, MDPublisher: Plume, division of Penguin GroupPublication date: September 15, 2015Price: $16.00; paperback, 304 pages Surgery has a distinct place in medicine. Surgeons cut deep into our bodies amid clusters of ...

Racial Issues on the Road to Medicine

Ronald Piana  / December 10, 2015

BookmarkTitle: Black Man in a White Coat: A Doctor’s Reflections on Race and MedicineAuthor: Damon Tweedy, MDPublisher: Picador, Macmillan PublishingPublication date: September 8, 2015Price: $26.00; hardcover, 304 pages Strained race relations over issues whose foundation is based on inequality r...

Yet Another Reason Why Dogs Are Our Best Friends

Ronald Piana  / December 10, 2015

BookmarkTitle: Heal: The Vital Role of Dogs in the Search for Cancer CuresAuthor: Arlene WeintraubPublisher: ECW PressPublication date: October 13, 2015Price:  $16.95; paperback, 240 pages Comparative oncology, a fairly recent addition to the ever-evolving world of cancer research, studies the na...

Breast Cancer

The Sixth Edition of the Essential Breast Cancer Book

Ronald Piana  / December 10, 2015

Bookmark Title: Dr. Susan Love’s Breast Book Author: Susan M. Love, MD Publisher: Da Capo Lifelong Books Publication date: September 8, 2015 Price: $24.00; paperback, 704 pages For more than 25 years, Dr. Susan Love’s Breast Book has been the best source of information for women with breast ...

One Long Shift With a Nurse on a Cancer Ward

Ronald Piana  / December 10, 2015

Bookmark Title: The Shift: One Nurse, Twelve Hours, Four Patients’ Lives Author: Theresa Brown, RN Publisher: Algonquin Books Publication date: September 22, 2015 Price: $15.59; hardcover, 272 pages If health care were looked at through an architect’s eyes, nurses would be the girders holdin...

A Shrink Tells the Inside Story of Psychiatry

Ronald Piana  / November 25, 2015

Bookmark Title: Shrinks: The Untold Story of PsychiatryAuthor:   Jeffrey A. Lieberman, MD, with Ogi OgasPublisher: Little, Brown and CompanyPublication date: March 10, 2015Price: $28.00, hardcover; 352 pages Jeffrey A. Lieberman, MD, is the Lawrence C. Kolb Professor and Chairman of Psychiatry a...

Stepping Back in Medical History: A Groundbreaking Surgeon’s Battle With the Establishment

Ronald Piana  / November 25, 2015

Bookmark Title: Dr. Mütter’s Marvels: A True Tale of Intrigue and Innovation at the Dawn of Modern MedicineAuthor:  Cristin O’Keefe AptowiczPublisher: Gotham BooksPublication date: September 8, 2015Price: $17.00, paperback; 384 pages In the late 1740s, John Wesley—a British evangelist and cofoun...

A Pandemic’s Story of Tragedy and Success

Ronald Piana  / November 10, 2015

Bookmark Title: AIDS Between Science and Politics Author:  Peter Piot Publisher: Columbia University Press Publication date: May 2015 Price: $29.95; hardcover, 216 pages AIDS is a global phenomenon that recognizes neither national boundaries nor social strata. The AIDS pandemic was one of th...

A Chemist Exposes Dangerous Chemicals

Ronald Piana  / November 10, 2015

Bookmark Title: Pick Your Poison: How Our Mad Dash to Chemical Utopia Is Making Lab Rats of Us All Author:  Monona Rossol Publisher: John Wiley & Sons Publication date: October 2015 Price: E-book, 210 pages Monona Rossol is a chemist and “industrial hygienist” who is a frequent contribut...

Glimpses of the Human Condition Through Lively, Medically Themed Short Stories

Ronald Piana  / October 25, 2015

BookmarkTitle: A View From the Inside: A Collection of Medically Oriented Short StoriesAuthor: Augustine L. Perrotta, DOPublisher: Keith Publications, LLCPublication date: March 31, 2015Price: $14.95, paperback; 246 pages The field of medicine, ripe with dramatic tension, offers an endless array ...

Pain, Still Undertreated and Misunderstood

Ronald Piana  / October 25, 2015

Bookmark Title: A Nation in Pain: Healing Our Biggest Health ProblemAuthor:  Judy ForemanPublisher: Oxford University PressPublication date: May 1, 2015Price: $19.95, paperback; 464 pages The subject of pain has been written about extensively, from the intriguing sociopolitical history of opium to...

A Neurologist’s Life: Oliver Sacks, MD

Ronald Piana  / October 25, 2015

BookmarkTitle: On the Move: A LifeAuthor: Oliver Sacks, MDPublisher: Alfred A. KnopfPublication date: April 28, 2015Price: $27.95, hardcover; 416 pages Our ability to detect cancer has grown markedly over the past several decades, with the advent of more sensitive screening methods, new biomarker...

Confessions of a Neurosurgeon

Ronald Piana  / October 25, 2015

BookmarkTitle: Do No Harm: Stories of Life, Death, and Brain SurgeryAuthor:  Henry Marsh, CBE, FRCSPublisher: Thomas Dunne BooksPublication date: May 26, 2015Price: $25.99, hardcover; 288 pages “I often have to cut into the brain and it is something I hate doing. With a pair of diathermy forceps ...

Measuring Global Health Issues, Seven Billion Times

Ronald Piana  / October 10, 2015

BOOKMARK Title: Epic Measures: One Doctor. Seven Billion PatientsAuthor: Jeremy N. SmithPublisher: Harper WavePublication date: April 7, 2015Price: $26.99; hardcover, 352 pages Health measures are essential tools in assessing public health and safety. Collecting large amounts of data is a laboriou...

Extraordinary Medical Advances and the Conundrum They Pose

Ronald Piana  / October 10, 2015

BOOKMARK Title: Ordinary Medicine: Extraordinary Treatments, Longer Lives, and Where to Draw the LineAuthor: Sharon R. KaufmanPublisher: Duke University PressPublication date: May 29, 2015Price: $26.95 paperback, 336 pages Medicine has changed radically over the past 15 years. Who doesn’t welcome ...

A Practical Guide to Surviving Breast Cancer and Its Treatments

Ronald Piana  / October 10, 2015

BOOKMARK Title: Bald Is Better With Earrings: A Survivor’s Guide to Getting Through Breast CancerAuthor: Andrea HuttonPublisher: Harper CollinsPublication date: July 7, 2015Price: $17.99; paperback, 224 pages There are a plethora of books written by breast cancer survivors, and there are sure to b...

Microbes by the Trillions

Ronald Piana  / September 25, 2015

BOOKMARK Title: 10% Human: How Your Body’s Microbes Hold the Key to Health and HappinessAuthor: Alanna CollenPublisher: Harper CollinsPublication date: April 27, 2015Price: $39.99; hardcover, 400 pages "As I walked back through the forest that night in the summer of 2005, with twenty bats in cot...

An Unvarnished, Behind-the-Scenes Look at the Hospital Nurse

Ronald Piana  / September 25, 2015

BOOKMARK Title: The Nurses: A Year of Secrets, Drama, and Miracles With the Heroes of the HospitalAuthor: Alexandra RobbinsPublisher: Workman Publishing CompanyPublication date: April 14, 20155Price: $17.53; hardcover, 368 pages Florence Nightingale, the most famous and influential figure in the...

In Search of a Good Ending for a Life Well Lived

Ronald Piana  / September 25, 2015

BOOKMARK Title: The Conversation: A Revolutionary Plan for End-of-life CareAuthor: Angelo E. Volandes, MDPublisher: BloomsburyPublication date: January 13, 2015Price: $26.00; hardcover, 240 pages A quick Google search on books about end-of-life care will yield pages of hits on the subject. The cur...

A Cancer Handbook for Inquisitive Laypersons and Health-Care Professionals

Ronald Piana  / September 10, 2015

Bookmark Title: The Cancer Solution: Taking Charge of Your Life With CancerAuthor: Jack C. Westman, MD, MSPublisher: Archway PublishingPublication date:  January 15, 2015Price: $20.00; paperback, 310 pages I was at a meeting in San Francisco in 1978 and received a call from my wife, Nancy: ‘Jack...

An Oncologist’s Memoir

Ronald Piana  / August 10, 2015

BOOKMARK Title: Megalies: A Memoir Author: Lodovico Balducci, MD Publisher: Resource Publications Publication date: February 28, 2014 Price: $33.00; hardcover, 304 pages Reading a good book produces various sensory responses; a skilled author exerts his or her narrative power on each page, w...

The Human Heart: Tales of Science and Mystery

Ronald Piana  / August 10, 2015

BOOKMARK Title: The Man Who Touched His Own Heart: True Tales of Science, Surgery, and Mystery Author: Rob Dunn Publisher: Little, Brown and Company Publication date: February 3, 2015 Price: $27.00; hardcover, 384 pages No part of the human anatomy has been as mythologized, analogized, and p...

Exploring the History and Psychology of Pain: Beyond the Clinical Setting

Ronald Piana  / May 25, 2015

BOOKMARKTitle: The Story of Pain: From Prayer to PainkillersAuthor: Joanna BourkePublisher: Oxford University PressPublication date: 2014Price: $34.95: hardcover, 416 page   “Pain may even kill. It may overwhelm the nervous system by its mere magnitude & duration.” —Peter Mere Latham, 1871 ...

A Less Is More View of Medicine

Ronald Piana  / May 25, 2015

BOOKMARKTitle: Less Medicine, More Health: 7 Assumptions That Drive Too Much Medical CareAuthor: H. Gilbert Welch, MDPublisher: Beacon PressPublication date: March 3, 2015Price: $24.95; hardcover, 241 pages He’s the best physician that knows the worthlessness of most medicines. —Benjamin Franklin ...

p53 Takes Center Stage

Ronald Piana  / May 25, 2015

BOOKMARKTitle: p53: The Gene That Cracked the Cancer CodeAuthor: Sue ArmstrongPublisher: Bloomsbury PublishingPublication date: November 20, 2014Price: $19.98; hardcover, 288 pages   Completed in April 2003, the Human Genome Project was one of the greatest feats of scientific exploration, an inwar...

Technology’s Double-Edged Sword: One Woman’s Story

Ronald Piana  / April 10, 2015

Bookmark Title: Pandora’s DNA: Tracing the Breast Cancer Genes Through History, Science, and One Family TreeAuthor: Lizzie StarkPublisher: Chicago Review PressPublication date: October 2014Price: $26.95; hardcover, 336 pages If we wish to learn more about cancer, we must concentrate on the cellula...

A Surgeon Cuts to the Chase

Ronald Piana  / April 10, 2015

BookmarkTitle: The Cost of Cutting: A Surgeon Reveals the Truth Behind a Multibillion-Dollar IndustryAuthor: Paul A. Ruggieri, MDPublisher: Berkley BooksPublication date: September 2014Price: $16.00; paperback, 320 pages The woman seated on the exam table was lean and fit and seemed perfectly at ea...

Medicine Turned Upside Down

Ronald Piana  / March 25, 2015

BookmarkTitle: The Patient Will See You Now: The Future of Medicine Is in Your HandsAuthor: Eric Topol, MDPublisher: Basic BooksPublication date: January 2015Price: $28.99; hardcover, 384 pagesMost books about health care center on fixing broken parts of the massive $3 trillion system, as seen with ...

Wrestling With the Challenges of Breast Cancer

Ronald Piana  / March 25, 2015

Bookmark Title: Then Came Life: Living With Courage, Spirit, and Gratitude After Breast CancerAuthor: Geralyn LucasPublisher: Gotham BooksPublication date: October 2, 2014Price: $19.89; hardcover, 240 pages Over the past decade or so, the oncology community has increased its understanding and reco...

Internal Medicine: A Doctor’s Stories

Ronald Piana  / December 15, 2014

Bookmark Title: Internal Medicine: A Doctor’s Stories Author: Terrence Holt, MD Publisher: Liveright Publishing Corporation Publication Date: September 2014 Price: $24.95; hardcover, 288 pages   “This book is the story of a residency in internal medicine. I wrote it over a period of 10 years,...

Working Stiff: Two Years, 262 Bodies, and the Making of a Medical Examiner

Ronald Piana  / December 15, 2014

Bookmark Title: Working Stiff: Two Years, 262 Bodies, and the Making of a Medical Examiner Authors: Judy Melinek, MD, and T.J. Mitchell Publisher: Scribner, a Division of Simon & Schuster, Inc Publication Date: August 2014 Price: $25.00; hardcover, 272 pages   Just as the sun came up ove...

A Good Life, All the Way to the Very End

Ronald Piana  / December 1, 2014

BOOKMARKTitle: Being MortalAuthor: Atul Gawande, MDPublisher: Metropolitan BooksPublication date: October 7, 2014Price: $26.00; hardcover, 304 pages   Mortality is the invisible observer in the oncology exam room. When people hear the three words, “You have cancer,” they see their world as they kn...

A Father and Son’s Journey Through Medicine

Ronald Piana  / November 15, 2014

BOOKMARK Title: The Good Doctor: A Father, a Son, and the Evolution of Medical EthicsAuthor: Barron H. Lerner, MDPublisher: Beacon PressPublication date: May 13, 2014Price: $25.95; hardcover, 240 pages   One morning in 1996, an infectious disease specialist was making rounds when he and his team ...

A Candidly Humorous Approach to the Cancer Journey

Ronald Piana  / November 15, 2014

BOOKMARK Title: Shrinkage: Manhood, Marriage, and the Tumor That Tried to Kill MeAuthor: Bryan BishopPublisher: Thomas Dunne BooksPublication date: April 29, 2014Price: $25.99; hardcover, 336 pages   At 30 years old, Bryan Bishop was having the time of his life. Known to millions of radio fans as...

A History of Medical Oncology

Ronald Piana  / November 1, 2014

BOOKMARK Title: Therapeutic Revolution: The History of Medical Oncology From Early Days to the Creation of the SubspecialtyAuthor: Pierre R. BandPublisher: Bentham SciencePublication date: 2014Price: $39.00 (eBook); $78.00 (print on demand); 213 pagesAvailable at:   According to ...

Book Review: Breast Cancer, Break the Silence

Ronald Piana  / October 15, 2014

This date has a special place in my heart, as well as the hearts of my children, my family and my loved ones. It was the day when my life—and my priorities—took a whole new direction.” So begins Breast Cancer, Break the Silence, a slim yet powerful and highly revealing booklet by Saudi Arabian physi...

New Books by Authors at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center Address Aging, Survivorship

The ASCO Post  / October 15, 2014

Bookmark Title: Survivorship: Living Well During and After CancerAuthor: Barrie Cassileth, PhDFormat: PaperbackISBN: 978-1-938170-35-5Pages: 216Publication Date: April 1, 2014Dimensions: 5.5 × 8.5Also Available: eBook   Bookmark Title: Lighter as We Go: Virtues, Character Strengths, and AgingAut...

Integrative Oncology: Mind, Body, and More

Ronald Piana  / October 15, 2014

Bookmark Title: Integrative Oncology (Second Edition)Editors: Donald I. Abrams, MD, and Andrew T. Weil, MDPublisher: Oxford University PressPublication date: September 3, 2014Price: $65.00; Paperback, 848 pages   In 1990, David Eisenberg, MD, from the Harvard School of Public Health, conducted a ...

Cancer Frontier: Bringing the New Sciences to an Old School

Ronald Piana  / September 15, 2014

Cancer seems to have an endless supply of people who want to write about it. Why not? It’s an intriguing subject of life and death and struggle and hope, one that touches virtually every person of a certain age. However, the bookshelves are filled with cancer survivorship books, so to stand out, an ...

A New Book Explores an Old Subject: Aging

Ronald Piana  / September 1, 2014

Title: Lighter as We Go: Virtues, Character Strengths, and AgingAuthors: Mindy Greenstein, PhD, and Jimmie Holland, MDPublisher: Oxford University Press Publication date: September 2014Price: $27.95; Hardcover, 320 pages   Death is the universal experience shared by Earth’s 7 billion or so inhabit...

A Book of Solid Advice and ‘Silver Linings’ for Patients With Breast Cancer

Ronald Piana  / August 15, 2014

Title: The Silver Lining: A Supportive & Insightful Guide to Breast CancerEditors: Hollye Jacobs, RN, MS, MSWPublishing Platform: CreateSpace Publication information: Simon & Schuster, published March 2014. Available at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Indiebound, and other local bookstores.   Ov...

Oncologists Tell Inspiring Stories of What It’s  Like to Treat Cancer in The Big Casino

Jo Cavallo  / August 15, 2014

Title: The Big Casino: America’s Best Cancer Doctors Share Their Most Powerful StoriesEditors: Stan Winokur, MD, and Vincent CoppolaPublishing Platform: CreateSpacePublication date: May 2014Price: $9.99; Paperback, 160 pages   In May, Stan Winokur, MD, and co-editor Vincent Coppola, published The ...

Bookmark: Survivorship: Living Well During and After Cancer

Jo Cavallo  / May 15, 2014

Title: Survivorship: Living Well During and After Cancer Author: Barrie Cassileth, MS, PhD Publication Information: Spry Publishing, April 2014, 216 pages, $16.95 This slender-volume survivorship guidebook provides the latest evidence-based information on complementary therapies and is a must-rea...

Lessons Learned in Cancer Care Communication

Ronald Piana  / February 15, 2014

Over the past several decades, outcomes data have traced the success stories in cancer research and therapeutics. However, during those decades of increasingly rapid scientific breakthroughs, certain psychosocial components in the continuum of cancer care were often overlooked. One such element is p...

Issues in Oncology

The Trials and Tribulations of a Revolutionary Cancer Drug 

Ronald Piana  / September 15, 2013

A modest brass plaque above a booth in the Eagle Pub in Cambridge, notes, “On this spot, on February 28, 1953, Francis Crick and James Watson declared the discovery of DNA with these words: ‘We have discoverewd the secret of life.’” Announcing a major scientific advance over a pint of ale is a far c...

Radiation, Still Misunderstood after All These Years 

Ronald Piana  / April 15, 2013

Over the past few decades, radiation therapies have rapidly advanced, due, in large part, to an increasing technologic armamentarium. Among modern science’s most impressive machines, for example, 220-ton particle accelerators can generate near-light-speed beams of protons, with sniper-like precision...

Palliative Care

Important Messages about Palliative Care and Hospice at the Heart of New End-of-life Memoir 

Ronald Piana  / February 15, 2013

The illness memoir’s appeal proves enduring in a very crowded genre, perhaps because illness is a tie that binds us all. As Susan Sontag wrote in her classic work, Illness as a Metaphor, “Illness is the night-side of life, a more onerous citizenship. Everyone who is born holds dual citizenship, in t...

Ambitious Call to Arms Seeks a Shift in Priorities to Eradicate Cancer

Ronald Piana  / December 15, 2012

It has been more than 4 decades since our nation loaded its medical cannons and declared war on cancer, self-assured that money and American scientific resolve would lead to victory. But cancer has proved to be a humbling enemy. The war is now fought in targeted skirmishes; the weaponry is a growing...

Issues in Oncology

Cancer Memoir Provides Inspiration for Those with Terminal Illness and Their Caregivers

Ronald Piana  / October 15, 2012

“It almost always begins in darkness, my memory’s trip back to China where Terrence and I meet.” So begins Amanda Bennett’s moving new memoir, The Cost of Hope, the story of an intensely devoted marriage, cruelly shortened by the cancer that killed her husband. The word “darkness” in Ms. Bennett’s o...

Supportive Care

Getting the Right End-of-life Care: Coming to Terms with the Realities of Advanced Disease and Mortality

Ronald Piana  / September 15, 2012

“Dying is at once a fact of life and a profound mystery.” That was the opening sentence of a 1997 Institute of Medicine report, Approaching Death: Improving Care at the End of Life, a much-needed jump-start in the national dialogue over identifying the barriers that impede the delivery of high-quali...

Issues in Oncology

Medical Ethicists Reflect on Their Personal Cancer Experiences

Ronald Piana  / July 1, 2012

The recently published book, Malignant: Medical Ethicists Confront Cancer, takes a personal look at the cancer experience from the perspective of seven medical ethicists who were also patients with cancer or cared for spouses with cancer.1 The book’s editor, Rebecca Dresser, JD, MS, who teaches law ...

Health-Care Policy

A Dose of Destruction and Tough Love for Health Care

Ronald Piana  / March 1, 2012

Title: The Creative Destruction of Medicine: How the Digital Revolution Will Create Better Health Care
 Author: Eric Topol, MD Publisher: Basic Books Publication date: February 1, 2012 Price: $27.99 / $31.00 (CAN), Hardcover, 320 pages More information: