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2. Author's Note

Six years ago I started a counseling & resource center for cancer patients, serving a group of largely rural communities. Today we see about 400 patients a year, most within 48 hours of diagnosis.

Based on experience I'd say most cancer patients know, from the start, that they will need to navigate through very unfamiliar territory. We often hear them say "help me get my bearings," or they'll want to get the "Big Picture" and figure out where they fit in.

This book attempts to paint a picture of the unfamiliar world that cancer patients enter into, based upon my many years of trying to explain it.

It is a world of financial stress and uncertain insurance coverage. A world with multiple doctors, highly specialized medicine and experimental drugs. The treatment choices are numerous, many are very expensive and they can include severe side effects. There is big money to be made by some and so you will also see plenty of politics.

Most of all, it is a world where patients are now expected to educate themselves. even though many do not even know where to start.

Well, try starting here. It will take 15 minutes. Think of it as basic training. And remember, everyone who battles cancer deserves a fighting chance.

Duncan Darrow
Long Island, New York

With special thanks to Charles Keefe