Coping with the Emotional Impact of Cancer:
Become an Active Patient and Take Charge of Your Treatment

by Neil Fiore, Ph.D, psychologist and personal coach
Author of Awaken Your Strongest Self and The Road Back to Health

Bay Tree Publishing 2009

Coping with the Emotional Impact of CancerWhen Neil Fiore was 32 he was diagnosed with terminal cancer and given one year to live. He told himself he would not live that year in fear or being controlled by doctors. He asked questions, read about his type of cancer and possible treatments, and fought to get the chemotherapy that saved his life. He volunteered for an experimental chemotherapy protocol that was the first to yield an 80-percent survival rate and led to the development of the chemo that cured the very advanced cancer of Lance Armstrong twenty years later. Neil continued to work as a psychology intern while taking weekly injections and did not experience severe side-effects for the first few months possibly because he was able to lower his stress hormones by choosing and fighting to get on chemotherapy. After 18 months of treatment he made the difficult decision to end chemotherapy, was asked to make a video for other cancer patients, spoke at Grand Rounds, and had his article, “Fighting Cancer—One Patient’s Perspective,” published in The New England Journal of Medicine. In 1986 Dr Fiore became one of the founding members of The National Coalition for Cancer Survivorship. He has survived metastasized cancer for over 30 years and is dedicated to encouraging other patients to be active and take charge of their treatment.

Become an active patient and build your emotional support systems

Drawing on his experience as a thirty-year survivor of a “terminal” cancer diagnosis and his training as a licensed psychologist, Neil Fiore provides deep insight and practical tools for:

  • managing the initial shock at receiving a cancer diagnosis
  • lessening stress and worry
  • combating depression
  • preparing your body for treatment
  • living a rich full life with cancer despite the fear and possibility of recurrence

Wise and compassionate, this book shows patients and their families how to establish team relationships with medical providers, communicate among themselves, and deal with feelings of helplessness.

“Dr. Neil Fiore is a Godsend to those making the journey through cancer. His wise and practical advice, which comes from personal experience as well as years of working with others on a healing path, is a gift beyond measure.”
— Joan Borysenko, Ph.D. author of Minding the Body, Mending the Mind

Coping with the Emotional Impact of Cancer offers hope and steps on how to deal with the stress and depression of cancer and its treatment, how to communicate with doctors and family. More important, Dr. Fiore, a psychologist, suggests ways to build emotional support systems with physicians, family and friends. And finally, he shows how personal attitudes can have an enormous impact on the course of recovery.

Read an Excerpt: Coping with the Emotional Impact (PDF)

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October – National Breast Cancer Month

About the author:

Dr. Neil Fiore is a 30-year survivor of a “terminal” cancer diagnosis, a founding member of the National Coalition for Cancer Survivorship, the author of five books, a Vietnam vet, and a psychologist in private practice in Berkeley, CA. He is an active skier and biker who completed a 100-mile Team In Training bike ride to raise money for Leukemia research.

Testimonials and Reviews:

“Fiore described . . . the steps he took to become more actively involved in his treatment . … Further, he proposed methods for marshalling the patient’s own psychological resources . . .”
Daniel Goleman, The New York Times

“From his personal and professional experience with cancer, Dr. Fiore guides patients and their families through the psychological and emotional consequences of cancer and its treatment. An insightful and practical guide.” — Kenneth R. Pelletier, PhD, UC, San Francisco, Medical School

“A valuable addition to the literature, this book will be welcomed by cancer patients and their families.” — Library Journal

“Neil Fiore PhD is a long term survivor. Coping with the Emotional Impact of Cancer is a book that may save your life. Don’t enter an oncologist’s office without it.” — Rachel Naomi Remen, MD, Author, Kitchen Table Wisdom and My Grandfather’s Blessings

“I found myself saying ‘yes’ over and over as I read each chapter. A breast cancer survivor, and an oncology social worker, I found wisdom and insight scattered throughout the pages.”
Patricia Fobair, LCSW, MPH, author and editor, Learning to Live Again and clinical social worker at Stanford University Medical Center’s radiation oncology department

Summary of Preface by Harold H. Benjamin, PhD, Founder, The Wellness Community, for The Road Back to Health: Coping with the Aspects of Cancer [Celestial Arts, 1990] by Neil Fiore, PhD

“. . . Although there is reason to believe that the patient can participate in actions which may enhance the possibility of recovery, no matter what anyone says, there is no behavioral formula a cancer patient can follow which assures recovery. Since there is no “right” way to act, the cancer patient cannot be at fault, because there is no “wrong” or “inadequate” way to act. But since these positive emotions and activities improve the quality of life, have no unpleasant side effects and may alter the course of the illness toward health there is every reason in the world to give them a try.

Dr. Fiore did just that and tells us about his efforts and their results . . . in concise and clear prose. He does all this while staying well within the bounds of accepted medical protocol. Hurrah for this inspiring life and this rational and interesting book about that life.”
Harold H. Benjamin, PhD, Founder, The Wellness Community

Foreword by Norman Cousins, UCLA Medical Center, for The Road Back to Health: Coping with the Emotional Side of Cancer [Bantam/Celestial Arts] by Neil Fiore, PhD

“… Neil Fiore’s feelings of emotional devastation on learning that he had cancer were typical of the average patient. What was unusual about Neil Fiore was that he recognized and acted upon the existence of those emotional needs. By becoming directly involved in his own case, by doing active research in what was known and unknown in the kind of challenge he was facing, he was able to take a measure of responsibility in the decisions that had to be made. Even more important perhaps was the fact that his involvement was therapeutic in itself. He found an antidote for the feelings of impotence and loss of control that are the terrible by-products of the disease. And, by maintaining this active partnership with his physicians, he was able to mobilize his own resources in combating the enemy within. . . . he demonstrated that everyone can benefit from the fact that the way one thinks about one’s illness has specific effects on the chemistry of one’s body and therefore on the healing system. . .”

— Norman Cousins, 1984

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