By Richard Pretorius, Washington Post
If you said a book about breast cancer was a love story, you might attract eyebrows and an undesired kind of attention.
But Rick Baker in “The Guys Guide to Everything to Know About Breast Cancer” has indeed written an easy-to-read, hard-to-put-down story of the heart.
First, this is a powerful tale about Baker’s love for his wife Becky, who died of the disease following a nearly 40-month battle after she had been rather curtly told she had only three months to live.
Second, the book is about the love Baker has for his fellow humans, even the guys who talk about women’s breasts with a teenage boy’s fascination, no matter their age. As Doug Howe, director of the Insignia Foundation, writes in the book’s forward: “When men are talking about breasts it is usually in the contact of sexual objects and not ticking time bombs.”
Baker, an author and former senior pastor, admits he was once one of those guys, too.
The unflinching honesty shown throughout “The Guy’s Guide” will no doubt help Baker get the reading eye of more than a few of the machos out there.
Baker says he tells Becky’s “story for one reason and one reason alone: I don’t want our story to ever become your story.”
He skillfully chronicles Becky’s fear of not wanting to tell him about the lump the size of BB she found in her left breast nine months before the cancer diagnoses because of misguided sense that he would not desire her anymore or she would become a burden. Baker details the medical treatments and the search for alternatives to the standard procedures. The reader learns not in biology class or a medical textbook, things about the female breast that really do fascinate.
Coming from Baker, the telling resembles a guy spouting off the scientific facts over a few beers. Uncomfortable male readers will be comfortable.
“The milk-producing part of the breast is organized into 15 to 20 sections called lobes,” Baker tells us.
Not exactly the kind of details a man thinks about when considering a woman’s breasts. But Baker’s effort at anatomy education is grounded in men helping their female partners in every way possible.
“What we do need is to know, and know well, is our wife’s breasts. You can do the self-check for her. If something looks slightly different on one of her breasts, tell her. Don’t wait! Bring this to her attention immediately,” Baker advises.
He talks about his own sense of guilt about not noticing the lump in Becky’s left breast and not having paid more attention as a man to a disease that affects one in every eight women.
Baker’s book is also about a different kind of love, the passion that comes when we find a cause much bigger than ourselves. What if we had the money to truly make a difference in a major way?
Do we use the financial windfall for a bigger home, a trip around the world, the Ferrari we always wanted?
Baker used the funds from a million-dollar life insurance policy “to launch the Becky Baker Foundation, providing mammograms and thermograms to assist women in the most important step of cancer prevention, which is early detection and identification.”
When a reader learns that in the introduction, he is compelled to want to know more about the author and the foundation. Baker does not disappoint.
This is a good read, bringing smiles amid the tears, medical and life lessons and a lot of what-would-I-have-done pondering.
Finally, the book shows a writer’s passion for challenging conventional wisdom and the powers that be in the breast cancer fight.
Baker rails at drug companies profiting from medicines that are often too expensive and ineffective, at doctors who prescribe them and say one thing and do another when it comes to always putting their patients first. He also takes on the ultimate sacred cows ¬– the pink ribbon-flying corporations and public interest groups that put their own agendas, funding and political futures ahead of the women they are supposedly fighting for.
An interesting and important chapter in the book is written by a male survivor of breast cancer ¬– yes, men can get it too.
Khevin Barnes tells his story of being such a man. “I began writing for several cancer magazines, wrote and composed a stage musical about male breast cancer, and spoke to audiences of both women and men who had breast cancer too. Not surprisingly, there were not too many men in attendance.”
As for finding a cure for breast cancer, Baker has some disheartening news:
“Will there ever be one anytime soon?
“Nope. That’s according to the honest scientists, who say that we should not count on a cure in the near or far future. Instead, they say we should find a way to live with it.”
Living on! Despite!
That perhaps gets to what Baker’s enlightening, quick-read book is all about: Becky, in a chapter she wrote about 18 months before her death, says: “I appreciate even the little things more now than I ever have. I enjoy my time with family and friends. I appreciate the antics of our four furry kids. I plant and nurture beautiful flowers just because I can. It doesn’t matter if anyone else sees them. The bees, the butterflies, and I enjoy them to their fullest.”
Rick tells readers: “Because love is all that really matters on this planet. Not money, not fame, not power. Just love.”
The Guy’s Guide: Good medicine for us all.
(Richard Pretorius, a copy editor on the Washington Post foreign desk, has also been an editor for newspapers based in Abu Dhabi, Hong Kong and Tunis. His mother survived breast cancer but died at 86 of probable stomach cancer.)
By Dr. Tommy Wong
The Guy's Guide to Everything Breast Cancer: Do You Know Enough? by Rick Baker is a book with a mission, which is to help those who might have breast cancer and those who care for them.
In 2013, when Rick Baker's wife Becky was first diagnosed with breast cancer, Rick did not know much about the disease. He has since found out, particularly through caring for Becky, and written this book to fill the knowledge gap. Breast cancer is well covered in the two sections of this book: understanding this evil disease, and preventing breast cancer in your loved one.
The book is further enhanced by the contributions of two guest writers: Dr. Carla Garcia, and Kevin Barnes.
Breast cancer is considered an epidemic as one in seven women in the U.S. gets this dreaded disease in their lifetime. Fortunately, it is preventable, and this is one of the main focuses of The Guy's Guide to Everything Breast Cancer by Rick Baker.
I really liked the presentation of this book, as it is filled with facts and real-life emotional stories. It is also well written, clear, and rational, which makes it easy for men (and women) to understand the disease and how to prevent it.
One of the main messages in the book is that oncologists are not God, and patients can live longer than the survival period predicted by oncologists - powerful stuff.
I was really moved by the chapter written by Becky Baker herself, in which she shared her LAFF2LIVE Program. LAFF stands for Lifestyle, Attitude, Food, and Faith, and the program can extend the lives of cancer patients.
I highly recommend this book to all men and to those who are interested in breast cancer.
By Lisa McCombs for Gannett News Service
I began reading The Guy's Guide to Everything Breast Cancer by Rick Baker out of curiosity, to be swiftly overwhelmed with a variety of emotions: anger, pity, anger, fear, anger, injustice.
As the author discusses his wife's courageous journey with breast cancer, he uncovers numerous upsetting facts related to the disease, the cause, and medical treatments.
Becky Baker was diagnosed with stage IV metastatic ER Positive Breast Cancer in 2013. Unbeknownst to her husband, Becky kept the discovery of a lump in her breast secret. Rick goes on a rampage and fights the system to earn Becky an additional thirty-four months to the oncologist diagnosis of an otherwise projected three-month life span. Within these pages, Rick Baker is brutally transparent in his description of the ravages of a disease of which one in seven women in the United States is directly affected.
In this moving, honest expose, Rick Baker gets real about Big Pharma, fundraising realities, and the horrors of his first-hand experiences. Upon Becky's death, the Becky Baker Foundation was born. At the time of this book's publication, the foundation had provided over 2,400 free screenings for those who are uninsured or underinsured. Rick Baker's pledge to his wife rings true: "I promise you, Becky Baker, that no one will ever forget your name."
With a Foreword by the Reverend Douglas Howe and with chapter contributors, Dr. Carla Garcia and Mr. Khevin Barnes, The Guy's Guide to Everything Breast Cancer is a must-read for patients and caregivers of breast cancer victims.
Reviewed By K.C. Finn for Readers’ Favorite
The Guy's Guide to Everything Breast Cancer: Do You Know Enough? is a work of non-fiction in the health, medical, self-help, and guidance sub-genres, and was penned by author Rick Baker. As the title suggests, the work is intended for the male reading audience who may have little or no experience with the difficulties and details around breast cancer and contains vital and heartfelt information that they may require in a time of need. Based on his own personal experiences of losing his wife to this terrible disease, the author has crafted an inspiring work that offers medical and procedural advice, as well as an honest and emotional account of living with a story that he doesn’t want to see other people repeat.
Author Rick Baker has crafted an engaging and heart-breaking work of essential reading with plenty of frank advice, clear guidance, and a confident but sensitive narrative voice to offer its readers. This is the kind of work that will stay with you for a long time as a result of not only its practical advice but the author’s personal connection to the topics at hand. In terms of organization, the work was well-formatted to convey information in a logical manner and allow easy reference to find essential topics again. Overall, I would highly recommend The Guy's Guide to Everything Breast Cancer: Do You Know Enough? to those who favor realistic accounts, well-balanced, non-clinical writing styles, and for men everywhere seeking to be better informed on the condition.
Reviewed By Asher Syed for USA NEWS
The Guy's Guide to Everything Breast Cancer: Do You Know Enough? by Rick Baker is a practical non-fiction manual that covers the disease that women fear most. The book begins with Baker's own story of finding out abruptly that his wife Becky had stage-four breast cancer that had become terminal. From here Baker breaks the guide down into two distinct sections: Part one, Understanding this Evil Disease and, Part two, Preventing Breast Cancer in Your Loved One. Part one covers a multitude of information throughout its eight chapters, from the anatomy of the breast and where cell abnormalities that lead to cancer usually come from to men, mammograms, and that little pink ribbon, among other things. Part two focuses on preventative aspects, stages, and in a lovely twist that I did not see coming, Baker's late wife contributes with her own words among other topics.
I picked up The Guy's Guide to Everything Breast Cancer because I'm a guy with a wife that has a 100% breast cancer affliction rate on her maternal side, going back three generations of women that they know of. Rick Baker's description of Becky's fight sounds verbatim like what my wife experienced with her mother's final year before passing at the age of 43. Little did I know that our lives would be consumed by this for years to come as my wife did five years of preventative chemotherapy drugs and, ultimately, a bilateral mastectomy to make sure she would not become another statistic of breast cancer deaths in her family. I share this not because I feel like some kind of expert, but because I still feel like I know absolutely nothing. This is the book I needed years ago to understand what we were at war with. Baker fills in all of the blanks in a deeply personal way, sharing intimate and painful stories and then shedding light on what he is doing to change the course of other women's lives. Because we have two daughters, this book will still help me navigate their own journeys until the day comes when the Beckys and Micheles of this world are no longer statistics. Very highly recommended.
Reviewed By Grace Masso for THE JOURNAL NATION
The Guy’s Guide to Everything Breast Cancer by Rick Baker (with Chapter Contributions from Dr. Carla Garcia & Mr. Khevin Barnes) is a book about an illness that has become a dreaded nightmare for women and an enigma to men: breast cancer. In this book, the author and founder of the Becky Baker Foundation shares his experience with breast cancer. He begins the book by sharing the event that led to his wife’s diagnosis with stage IV metastatic ER Positive Breast Cancer. In this book, the author shares the pain of losing his wife, offers insights into the disease, and tips to help men handle and be supportive of their loved ones suffering from breast cancer.
This is a comprehensive guide to understanding and living with women with breast cancer and the author discusses a wide range of topics, including an understanding of the way the breast functions, how cancer starts and what causes it, questions surrounding the possibility of a cure, how to prevent breast cancer, how to design a proactive plan to keep it at bay, the proper support for those with breast cancer, and a lot more. Rick Baker writes with compassion and in a manner that allows his message to get right to the reader. The prose is excellent and the whole book is enriched by personal experiences that are in themselves loaded with inspiring messages. While The Guy’s Guide to Everything Breast Cancer is a book written to provide men with comprehensive knowledge and understanding of breast cancer, it provides tools to proactively plan and keep the disease at bay and tips to properly provide support to those living with breast cancer. It is inspiring, informative, and an interesting read.
Order yours HERE from Amazon.com.