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Conversing with Cancer

How to Ask Questions, Find and Share Information, and Make the Best Decisions

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Lisa Sparks and Anna Leahy

With more than 40% of people eventually facing a cancer diagnosis, Conversing with Cancer is a much-needed addition to understanding and improving cancer care through strong communication among providers, patients, and caregivers. Each person whose life is affected by a cancer diagnosis—patient, healthcare provider, caregiver—has information and needs information in order to make the best decisions possible under the circumstances. After studying and writing about the topics of communication and cancer for many years separately, authors Lisa Sparks and Anna Leahy combine their expertise in this new tour de force. Here, they apply principles from the field of health communication to the cancer care experience, drawing from a wide range of scholarship to offer a comprehensive view of cancer care communication and extend existing work into new insights. Engaging chapters cover all phases of the journey through cancer, from prevention to recovery or end-of-life; analyze the roles of the variety of cultural and social identities and relationships; and explore written, verbal, non-verbal, and electronic communication. In addition, this book draws from the real-life stories of cancer patients themselves to enrich the book’s unique discussions and to better understand how theory can be put into practice. Conversing with Cancer is ideal for use in health communication classes, medical and nursing programs, and formal caregiver training. In addition, it is useful for cancer patient and caregiver supports groups and for individual providers, patients, and caregivers.

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About the authors

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Lisa Sparks (Ph.D., University of Oklahoma) is Dean of the School of Communication at Chapman University, Orange, California. Dr. Sparks is a highly regarded teacher-scholar whose published work spans more than 150 research articles and scholarly book chapters and is the author and editor of more than ten books in the areas of communication, health, and aging with a distinct focus on intersections of provider–patient interaction and family decision-making as related to cancer communication science. Her innovative research has been featured in the Los Angeles Times, Orange County Register, and TED.

Anna Leahy (Ph.D., Ohio University; M.F.A., University of Maryland) is the author of Tumor and Aperture and co-author of Generation Space and What We Talk about When We Talk about Creative Writing. She is Director of the M.F.A. in Creative Writing at Chapman University, Orange, California, where she edits the international journal TAB. See more at www.amleahy.com and follow @AMLeahy.

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