This was my first commissioned book, and writing it was a very interesting experience - being able to update my knowledge and involvement with promoting awareness of the importance of screening, and to work with a professional editor.
UPDATE June 2018: the publishers have decided to issue a second edition. I have completed my part in the initial updating, it is hoped it will be available in September. In the meantime I thinkthe ebook is still available, and you will find secondhand copies online.
The Need2Know website describes the book this way:
“Cervical Cancer: The Essential Guide” Need2Know Books, published in March 2010, joins a series of practical and informative books aimed at young people, parents, teachers and professionals. It is also available as e-book.
Approximately 3,000 women in the UK are diagnosed with cervical cancer each year. Awareness is on the increase, with many women wanting to arm themselves with accurate information.
This no-nonsense guide gives you clear facts about cervical cancer, explaining in detail the screening process, why regular check-ups are important and how to overcome the physical and emotional challenges that cervical cancer can bring.
Written by a survivor of cervical cancer, this sensitive book takes women through the entire process: from check-ups and diagnosis, through to treatment options and aftercare. Practical strategies for supporting relatives are included, together with advice for parents and teachers wanting to talk to young people about the risks. "
Readers’ reviews of this book:
Journal of Family Planning and Reproductive Health Care
I was delighted to receive a photocopy from my publisher of a review of Cervical Cancer: The Essential Guide, written by Susan Quilliam
[in the Journal of Family Planning and Reproductive Health Care, Volume 36, Number 3, July 2010 , pp. 174-174(1)]
I bought Susan’s book Positive Smear many years ago when I was being treated and found the combination of expert knowledge and individual experiences extremely helpful. I was able to email her to express my appreciation for her writing, and for the review, which she has given me permission to quote. I have included it in full so as not to inadvertently change the meaning in any way.
Here is what she wrote:
“As someone who has had their own brush with CIN3, I am always on the lookout for good books aimed at those who want to inform and empower themselves around the issue of smear tests, positive smear results and cervical cancer. So I am delighted at this new addition to a currently under-resourced field.
Three adjectives describe the book: compassionate, comprehensive, cancer-focused. Let’s take these one by one.
Compassion shines through in every word of this work – unsurprisingly, for the author is Mary Lunnen, herself a cervical cancer survivor and someone who clearly knows the rollercoaster of reactions a diagnosis triggers. Thankfully, and unusually – even the current NHS call-back leaflets fail here – she addresses not only the factual but also the emotional issues, offering both reassurance and practical suggestions.
Comprehensive? Again Lunnen scores a perfect ten. The book takes the reader from definition through prevention, screening, treatment, and beyond, also including a helpful booklist, referral list and glossary. Wide-ranging too is its market: the book is aimed at cancer sufferers; women who have had a positive smear; families, friends and partners; and also at parents of teenage daughters (and the daughters themselves) who are considering vaccination. Comprehensive indeed.
Which brings us to my third adjective - and the only hesitation I have about the book. As the title of the book reflects – and the introduction, opening chapter and much of the succeeding text confirms – the book’s focus is on cervical cancer. But we know full well that patients need support way before a cancer diagnosis; the very thought of having a smear test, let alone receiving the results, can trigger even the most resourced woman into confusion, embarrassment and fear. The result is that many don’t go for the test, or fail to respond to call-back. And I believe that this book misses a chance here.
I am not, of course, suggesting that the book should have missed even one word of its coverage of cervical cancer. But differently titled and slightly differently focused, it could have addressed the issues of those women not suffering from cancer – even those who have not had a positive smear – but who need information and encouragement in order to engage with the system and keep so engaged. It could have presented the whole process of “prevention – test – treatment” as a vital and reassuring component of regular female health care, rather than re-emphasising the worst, yet unlikely, outcome.
In short, I love this book. But I do hope that the fullest possible target market will not be misdirected by its cancer-focused title, and so fail to benefit from its superbly comprehensive and compassionate approach.”
Some very good points made about the focus on cancer, perhaps I’ll be able to look again at that in a future book, in the meantime, I am very proud to have ‘scored a perfect ten’ on something! And it is particularly encouraging that the review was published in a professional journal.
“This addition to the excellent Need to Know range of guides is recommended as a first stop for those with cervical cancer, as well as their families and friends. It is ideal because, when you have just been diagnosed, the last thing you need is a weighty textbook.
Written by a survivor of cervical cancer, this guide takes women through the entire process of cervical health check-ups and diagnosis to treatment options and aftercare. Mary Lunnen’s style is sensible, readable and friendly.
Nurses and nursing students will find this a ready guide to enhance their knowledge. The Need to Know series should be in every nursing library.”
Reviewer: Greta McGough, freelance writer and teacher
Nursing Standard accessed 10/2/2011
Reviews posted on Amazon:
“This is a really really good book. Well laid out and interesting, one I will come back to again and again. I found it pitched at exactly the right level, well written with the right amount of detail. It covers the key facts clearly and will be an ideal read for those who require a comprehensive overview of the topic. For those with the need for an in depth understanding and exploration of the topic it is an excellent starting point for further research.” Mrs A.G. Attfield, 3/3/2010
“I found this book to be extremely informative and a comforting read for anyone going through the trauma of cervical cancer. It is an excellent quick reference guide and does not go over the top but treats the subject matter sympathetically. I would recommend this book to anyone wishing to find out more whether it be the patient or their family.” Louise, 3/3/2010
Reviews sent direct:
“I was immediately impressed of how clear the headings were and how easy the information was to find. I felt that the contents of the book visibly, was very well set out, each page was not overloaded and overcrowded with information and therefore made it much easier to read and digest the information. People reading this book will obviously have a specific reason for reading it and it may be read by anxious individuals, which always makes digesting information harder. Having such a well organised, clearly set out book will help everyone that reads your book.” Tracey Bishop, 20/4/2010