Local oncologist writes book to help explain cancer to others

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By Rachel Johnson, Staff Writer

SUPPLY—Dr. Patrick Maguire, oncologist with South Atlantic Radiation Oncology Center, has spent his life’s work helping others fight cancer. He lost his father to cancer and both of his in-laws.

During his personal and professional battles with cancer, Maguire discovered a need and sought to fill it. As an oncologist he is frequently asked questions ranging from what is cancer to how could I have prevented this?

Answering these questions on a daily basis, combined with his own personal relationship with cancer, led Maguire on a search for a book that addresses these concerns. He didn’t find one that explained the questions in non-doctor language, so he decided to write a book of his own.

“When Cancer Hits Home” was written by Maguire in early 2010 and published in December 2010. The book is written to help people better understand cancer.

“I tried to minimize the medical jargon and use everyday language,” Maguire said. “I realized when it hit my family and through my work with my patients there was a need. Cancer isn’t a topic that most folks look forward to reading about. Unfortunately, it’s one that many people find themselves needing to read about. Cancer kills nearly 600,000 people per year…Virtually everyone knows someone, a relative, a friend, a co-worker, who’s been diagnosed with cancer.”

“When Cancer Hits Home” is broken into two parts. The first discusses reducing your cancer risk. The second focuses on cancer treatment options for the 20 most common types of cancer.

“There is a personal story with each of the 20 cancers. I think people find this easier to read,” Maguire said. “It is realistic; not everybody is cured.”

The book serves as an excellent resource for anyone newly diagnosed with cancer, the patient’s family and friends, and anyone who wants to learn more about the disease and prevention.

“Specifically, you may benefit from reading this book if you want to reduce your risk of being diagnosed with cancer, want to learn more about how cancers can be diagnosed at the earliest stages and, therefore, provide the best chance for cure, have been recently diagnosed with cancer yourself, or someone close to you has been diagnosed, and you need to know about cancer treatment options, risks and benefits,” Maguire said.

The stories found in the book are based on a compilation of thousands of patients Maguire has encountered during the past 14 years as a cancer specialist. His goal in writing is to highlight key concepts about each cancer. Each chapter includes a general overview of the particular cancer, warning signs and symptoms and red flags that may signal its presence.

A summary of the diagnosis and cancer staging process follows. Each chapter ends with the treatment and outcome for the fictional patient in each story.

“Not all of the stories have happy endings, unfortunately, just like in real life,” Maguire said.

Even though the book has been available for only three months, the response has been overwhelmingly positive. The book has even received praise from professional golfer and prostate cancer survivor Arnold Palmer.

“Everything that Dr. Maguire has written in the chapters on prostate cancer and PSA examinations rings true to me,” wrote Palmer.

The book is available on Amazon.com and as an e-book for Kindle.

Maguire will talk about cancer prevention at 7 p.m. March 30 at Pomegranate Books in Wilmington. Books will be available, and Maguire will be on hand to sign them.

Maguire works at the Supply satellite clinic of Coastal Carolina Radiation Oncology several days a week.

A portion of all proceeds from the book will be given to charity