Carole Dunstone and Anne Bennett's story is a heartwarming and heartbreaking account of a perilous journey through uncharted territory. It's a very personal story of life with oral cancer; the rough and the smooth, no holds barred, nitty gritty of day to day life and what this really means.
A cancer diagnosis is invariably devastating. Whilst treatment options and life expectancy have improved, cancer remains an emotive word. For those diagnosed with any oral cancer ( mouth, throat, tongue, tonsil, soft palate etc) there are additional lifelong and life changing difficulties to deal with all day, every day. For example, significant post operative disfigurement, speech difficulty, inability to swallow easily, dental problems, no saliva, no taste and/ or altered taste...the list goes on and that's before considering any psychological impact. Loss of confidence and depression would be expected in the circumstances. Whilst this book has very personal stories, there's an underlying common relevance.
No Time For Cancer is a remarkable and notable tribute, not only to the authors, but to all who have suffered the disease. The narrative is lively, entertaining and informed. It puts the disease and treatments into context by giving meaning to the realities. Amusing and sometimes touching, it shows that it's possible to turn almost anything into a life affirming legacy. The dedication and determination of these amazing ladies has resulted in better understanding and awareness of oral cancer. They highlight the importance of early diagnosis and explain what's likely to happen, when, why and most importantly, the effects. For a lay person affected by a similar diagnosis, this is an eye opener. Consultants and their supporting teams are inclined to view diagnosis from a medical perspective. Mesdames Dunstone and Bennett travel a different path and take us on their journey. The recipe section alone is inspirational as a starter for different meals and complementary therapy options are explained without being oversold. The NHS in Northampton seems to have bought into providing and supporting a range of dedicated resources. A potential gold standard model for other Trusts, surely.
Brave, honest, practical, unflinching and filled with compassion, I'd commend this account to anyone involved with oral cancer. It makes one appreciate, all the more, so many things we take for granted.