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The C-Word: Teenagers and Their Families Living With Cancer

Harriet S. Meyer, MD
JAMA. 1994;272(15):1220-1221. doi:10.1001/jama.1994.03520150094046.
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"When I was ill, I desperately needed a person, or a book, that I could identify with," writes Elena Dorfman, who had rhabdomyosarcoma at age 16. Hence her creation The C-Word, which picks up where Jason Gaes' My Book for Kids With Cansur left off. Over a four-year period the author spent time with teenagers with cancer (four with acute lymphoblastic leukemia and one with osteosarcoma), their parents, siblings, and friends, photographed them, and took down their words. All respond candidly to questions like "How did you find out you had cancer?" "How did it feel when you lost your hair?" "Do you have many side effects from the chemotherapy?" "How do you feel about being the brother of someone with cancer?" "How did you feel when the cancer came back?" "What are your relationships with your parents like?" "What do you like to do with your free time when


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