As a Macmillan Head and Neck Specialist Nurse, I was very pleased to be asked to review this book, The Laryngectomee Guide, by Itzhak Brook, MD. It is fair to say that for most laryngectomy patients, life does go on after this radical surgery, however adapting to the new altered airway and its function can be challenging for patients and their families.
As the author has said, managing these challenges requires mastering new techniques and having to deal with the lifelong side-effects of radiation, and other treatments can make our patients and families feel uncertain about the future.
This book will certainly be welcomed by patients and their carers/families. It is light and easy to carry and, as the book says, is a guide for the patient to refer to throughout their lifetime. Not many people actually understand laryngectomy, and everybody is different. I feel the book will be well-respected by patients, knowing that Dr Brook has taken the time to write about his experience and use this positively with the intention of helping others. The literature is honest and certainly has a wealth of knowledge and useful information with solutions that can be tried by our patients.
This book has a very clear table of contents and is broken down into chapters that have clear bold print titles. Living with a laryngectomy can be trying at times and the book’s contents couldn’t really be any clearer for quick reference. The content of the book isn’t too medical; it talks about head and neck cancer from diagnosis through to treatment but also ensures that the practical elements are covered. It has some good diagrams. The book has some great websites for reference and looks into the psychological challenges of laryngectomy which patients experience throughout their lifetime. The challenges of living after laryngectomy are also explored in great depth from swallowing problems, to depression, going on holiday and travelling and many more. I would be happy to share this book with my laryngectomy colleagues.