Life, with Cancer: The Lauren Terrazzano Story

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Newsday columnist and Pulitzer Prize-winning social journalist Lauren Terrazzano championed the causes of abused children, the elderly, and the homeless, truly becoming a voice for the voiceless through her writing by taking global issues and personalizing them to dramatize how they affected individual families and people. Not infrequently, her stories would force change in people’s thinking and in governmental policies. Lauren infused every journalistic story she crafted with passion. That included her own story: at the age of thirty-six, Lauren–a non-smoker–was diagnosed with lung cancer. Until her death three years later, Lauren turned her incredible drive and her passion for communication into putting a human face on her disease and raising public awareness of lung cancer.

Her boss at Newsday gave her a weekly column called "Life, with Cancer," and it was through this column that Lauren candidly shared her day-to-day experiences and shed light on lung cancer―a disease that kills more women each year than breast, ovarian, and uterine cancers combined.

With the help of coauthor Paul Lonardo, (Caught in the Act), devoted father Frank Terrazzano tells his daughter’s compelling life story through the eyes of the many people whose hearts and lives Lauren touched. Lauren’s friends, colleagues, coworkers, doctors, and even her college professors, collectively paint an accurate and touching portrait of Lauren the person and the journalist. Reflecting on his daughter, Frank writes of Lauren as "A beautiful young lady who believed that ‘The Pen Is Mightier than the Sword’ [and chose] to use her pen as a light―a light to shine in dark places exposing society’s many shortcomings." Including a foreword by best-selling author Anna Quindlen, Life, with Cancer begins with Lauren’s early years as a journalist, and with the intensity of the journalist herself, covers her larger-than-life experiences. A tapestry of Lauren’s life is woven together throughout the course of the book, taking into perspective her childhood, her accomplishments as a young journalist, and the final three years of her "Life, with Cancer." These three major components are combined in each chapter to tell Lauren’s complete story.

Through interviews with Lauren’s doctors, along with those of other physicians, researchers, and clinicians who specialize in lung cancer, readers will have a better understanding of the disease. Life, with Cancer includes excerpts from her moving (and sometimes humorous) Newsday columns in which Lauren wrote about such various subjects as the inappropriate things people say to cancer patients and the myth that people with cancer are heroes. She also criticized tobacco marketers, discussed the cancer battle of Elizabeth Edwards, and wrote about the stress that cancer imposes on the patient’s loved ones. Lauren revealed many misunderstood issues about lung cancer with compelling honesty, in particular its increasing incidence rate among women, and she attracted readers from around the world who were eager to follow her medical progress.

With the same passion and honesty Lauren exhibited throughout her brief career, Life, with Cancer chronicles her story and the legacy of her writing that continues to live on to enlighten and inspire.


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