Everything Changes: The Insider’s Guide to Cancer in Your 20s and 30s

Kairol Rosenthal, Author . Wiley $16.95 (247p) ISBN 978-0-470-29402-4

After being diagnosed with thyroid cancer at the age of 27, Rosenthal, a choreographer and now a patient advocate for young adults with cancer, crisscrossed the country, interviewing other young cancer victims. Rosenthal’s text is part guidebook, part true confessions (including her own), as she segues between intimate conversations and sound advice on topics ranging from dating and parenting to working the health-care system and coping with pain. The interviews are riveting and reveal a youthful perspective on cancer (one girl goes to chemo wearing goth makeup; others worry about when to confide in a lover). As she talks with 25 young adults of varying backgrounds, the author points out that many are not diagnosed until their symptoms are advanced, often because they’ve been dismissed by doctors who say they are “too young” to have cancer, or because they have lost their health insurance during the transition from college to jobs. Rosenthal notes that 70,000 young adults between the ages of 20 and 39 are diagnosed with cancer each year, and 25% do not survive. Though at times the volleying between Rosenthal’s own story and those of her subjects is disorienting, the work as a whole is poignant, raw and informative. The text will provide needed support and valuable resources for young adults, their parents, friends and caregivers. (Feb.)

Reviewed on: 12/15/2008
Release date: 02/01/2009
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