Physician Faces Cancer in Himself, A

By Samuel Sanes, M.D.

Paperback : 9780873954495, 201 pages, June 1979
Hardcover : 9780873953955, 201 pages, June 1979

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Table of contents

1. Discovery and Early Reactions
2. Responses of Lay Persons and Physicians to Patients with Cancer
3. Responses of Professional Colleagues and Co-workers to a Physician with Cancer
4. Relationships with Other Cancer Patients and Some Teaching from Them
5. The Effect of Cancer on the Family of the Patient
6. Communication Between the Physician and the Patient’s Family: Introduction
7. Communication Between the Physician and the Patient’s Family: Why, When, and Where?
8. Communication Between the Physician and the Patient’s Family: Who?
9. Communication Between the Physician and the Patient’s Family: What?
10. Communication Between the Physician and the Patient’s Family: How?


This is a frank and honest narrative of a personal experience with a serious disease written by a physician who died of the disease soon after finishing his book. He applies his personal knowledge to his experience as a patient in a manner which clarifies many aspects of cancer for both lay persons and physicians. The book is about dying of cancer, but it is primarily about relationships. At the center is the relationship of physician, family, and friends to the patient. Throughout, Dr. Sanes admonishes readers to consider the person who has the disease first and not the disease process itself independently of the person. The relationship between the physician and the patient's family is treated in depth providing concrete guidelines for communication. Dr. Sanes shows us unsuspected ramifications of these relationships and provides insight into the personal side of malignant disease for physicians, patients, and families.

Samuel Sanes, M. D. was first and foremost a teacher. During more than thirty years on the faculty of the School of Medicine of State University of New York at Buffalo, he taught pathology to most of the physicians and dentists practicing in Buffalo today, as well as many of the nurses and medical technologists. He had always believed that education of the public was as much a part of his responsibility as education of members of the health profession. For many years he averaged one or more lectures a week on subjects as diverse as cancer control, medicine in art and music, and the medical investigation of crime. He was a long-time moderator of the university's Medical Round Table on WBEN and WBEN-TV and coordinator of the station's pioneering television program, "Modern Medicine. "

A founder of the Erie County Unit of the American Cancer Society, he served twice as its president and as president of the society's State Division.

He had been retired less than two years and married only fifteen months when he learned he had an incurable type of cancer. Therefore, he had seen cancer from the viewpoint of a student, a pathologist, a Cancer Society volunteer, and a patient. Two weeks after reading proofs for the last of the articles that comprise this book he died.