Off Our Chests: A Candid Tour Through the World of Cancer

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Product Details
$26.95  $25.06
Ideapress Publishing
Publish Date
6.1 X 9.1 X 1.3 inches | 1.54 pounds

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About the Author

John Marshall is a medical oncologist and a professor at Georgetown University, and he is an internationally recognized expert in gastrointestinal cancers and the development of new treatments for cancer. He has been outspoken on controversial issues in cancer research, including his criticism of the dominance and success of breast cancer advocacy and research at the unfortunate expense of other specialties.

Liza Marshall is an attorney, who retired from the practice of law in 2005 to manage her family. She then became involved in the establishment of a cancer support organization in the Washington, DC area, and she remains deeply involved in their work. In 2006, when she was 43 years old, Liza was diagnosed with a high-risk Stage 3 triple negative breast cancer.


A couple share their up-close and personal story of trouncing cancer.

In this memoir, the Marshalls take readers to the front lines of their triumphant battle against a cancer that invaded not only the wife's body, but also their 22-year marriage. Liza was 43 years old when she was diagnosed with triple negative breast cancer, one of the most virulent and deadly forms of the disease. Ironically, her husband, John, was a world-renowned oncologist who had witnessed more than 1,700 of his 2,500 patients die. He voices strong opinions about the state of medical care in America in these pages. The book stands out among other first-person accounts about surviving cancer because of the authors' striking frankness throughout the 340 pages. That's not to say that the story is a downer. Although the account is flat-out honest and holds back nothing, the Marshalls inject lighter touches that balance the gravity of the situation. ("A brief history of my breasts. There were two of them.") The couple's emotional experiences at times diverge. A telling moment was their shopping trip to choose a wig for Liza. She and the couple's children embraced the excursion as a fun family adventure. But John was roiling inside because the trip made Liza's disease more real than he could handle. He notes that cancer is an entire family experience and that "whatever skeletons are hiding in the closet rattle louder." A rare blowup happened when Liza wanted an expensive medication for her unrelenting nausea. John retorted: "Do you know how much that drug costs?" The Marshalls' book is exceptional because it is multifaceted, deeply insightful, and brings readers right into the room. Liza delivers extensive details, including that her diagnosis came a few days before Thanksgiving at 2 p.m. Monday, Nov. 20, 2006. After months of agonizing tests, she opted for surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation and participated in a clinical trial, with John largely supporting her selections. He was against or had mixed feelings about other choices but stayed silent because he felt they should be her decisions. Ultimately, the treatments were successful and Liza remains cancer-free.

An astute and valuable resource for both cancer physicians and patients.