Jonathan Waxman, a professor of oncology, was inspired to write a book by his conversations with his patients. Here, he gained insight into his patients’ fears, hopes, and the impact the disease has on their lives. In The Elephant in the Room
, Waxman explores the relationship of patient and specialist, how both sides deal with cancer, their interactions, and what doctors actually mean when talking to their patients.
Jonathan Waxman tackles the issue of cancer from a different perspective. Unlike other books by oncologists, this is not about the mere facts of cancer or how it can be treated. It depicts patients and doctors in way that goes beyond the stereotypical roles in the clinical and sterile setting of a hospital - as human beings fighting their fear of cancer.
The doctor and the patient are alone in the consultation room. “Cancer is the elephant in the room, a grim, grey ghost, […] hunched behind the sofa waiting on his time. And the elephant is readying himself for that moment when he will leap out to meet you in your unsuspecting moments, an ice axe, chain saw moment that you knew would be yours at some time,” writes Waxman in the Introduction about the moment the patient is informed he has cancer. However, hundreds of thousands of people survive cancer every year. This book wants to encourage cancer patients not to lose hope.
Jonathan Waxman is both an expert in oncology and a gifted storyteller, making for a unique combination of sound clinical information and an informal, enjoyable style. In The Elephant in the Room
, he includes a range of cancer cases from real-life accounts to compile his collection of short stories about cancer patients and their doctors. These stories comfort and entertain, inform and engage, and are a treat to read. With humor and empathy, Jonathan Waxman explores the human side of cancer.
Jonathan Waxman is a Professor of Oncology at Imperial College London and consultant physician to the Hammersmith Hospital. He founded The Prostate Cancer Charity, the first United Kingdom national organization promoting research and patient support for this condition. He is a clinician who has helped develop new treatments for cancer, which are now part of standard practice. He is the author of around 400 research papers and chapters, eleven books on cancer, a book on medical negligence law and a novel, The Fifth Gospel
. He directs a laboratory research group comprising 31 scientists, and a clinical trial group. He has developed and led media campaigns to rationalize cancer treatments and change government health policy. The author is available for interview.