cover image Man-To-Man


Michael Korda, Korda. Random House (NY), $20 (224pp) ISBN 978-0-679-44844-0

Although prostate cancer may well be ""the male equivalent of breast cancer,"" as Korda (The Immortals) here contends, it has yet to acquire an equivalent canon of literature charting the physical and emotional tolls of the illness. This intensely candid, engaging and sharply witty memoir, akin in approach and tone to Norman Cousins's memoir of his battle with heart disease, The Healing Heart, bears witness to the soul-searching, medical options and singularly male difficulties associated with prostate cancer-and will prove an extremely valuable resource. Korda, editor-in-chief of Simon & Schuster, underwent a radical prostatectomy after being diagnosed with cancer in October 1994, at age 60. His is a particularly privileged case. After his surgery was performed by Patrick Walsh of Johns Hopkins (""the Michelangelo of prostate surgery""), Korda was medivacced to his home in upstate New York. But readers of any economic bracket will appreciate his frank and humorous treatment of the prostate troubles that preceded his diagnosis; his terror of surgical pain (""I approach a routine colonoscopy as one might a firing squad""); the maddening repercussions of his surgery, including severe incontinence and impotence; and the fraternity he finds at a local prostate cancer support group. ""A deadly, silent scourge,"" prostate cancer strikes at the core of a man's masculinity; it can end a career and place extreme pressure on a marriage, Korda observes. Faced with an array of conflicting opinions and experimental treatments, men afflicted with prostrate cancer, Korda concludes, must be as well informed as possible, in part by learning the kind of communication and sharing that perhaps comes more easily to women-and should never give up hope. (May)