Facing Cancer and the Fear of Death by Norman Straker

Dropped on:March 6, 2013
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Meet the Author and Editor Norman Straker MD of`Facing Cancer and the Fear of Death: A Psychoanalytic Perspective on Treatments

Have you ever contemplated the possibility of facing cancer and death? Probably everyone over thirty has occasionally, and as we age, these thoughts are more common. Despite these routine occurrences, death is rarely a subject of public or private discourse. Psychoanalysts, psychiatrists and therapists, rarely explore  “death anxiety” in their therapies. Doctors, also need help facing death, so they can more routinely inform each person of the best options at the end of life rather than avoid the topic and continue to prescribe futile treatments.

Case reports in this book by both hospital -based and office-based psychoanalysts illustrate how a psychoanalytically trained therapist can lessen the sufferings of patients facing death. Facing death is viewed as a unique life crisis that requires flexibility and an existential focus in the “here and now. ”Death anxiety” cannot be denied indefinitely, nor can it be analyzed away. It is not the same as analyzing neurotic conflicts or transferences. The book offers detailed accounts of what the psychoanalysts are feeling and thinking as they treat their dying patients. In addition the personal experiences of two senior psychoanalysts and one candidate who have had their own experiences facing cancer and death are described

Finally, the book asks that politicians and policy makers show more courage and not hide from end of life issues despite the potential for demagoguery.


Norman Straker MD edits this book and offers an approach for facing death and the treatment of cancer patients, based on 35 years of clinical experience. He is one of the original faculty members of the first psycho oncology services under the leadership of Dr Jimmie Holland at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center. He is also a clinical professor of psychiatry at Weill Cornell College of Medicine and teaches residents in psychiatry, oncology and palliative care at the Mt. Sinai Medical Center. He is a member of the faculty of the New York Psychoanalytic Institute where he also teaches courses on psychoanalytic psychotherapy of cancer patients. He has chaired a Discussion Group,  “ Psychoanalysis and Psychoanalytic Psychotherapy of Cancer Patients.” at the American Psychoanalytic Association for more than 25 years. He is in private practice in New York City.





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