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Medical Physician & Patient

Cancer Confidential

Backstage Dramas in the Radiation Clinic

by (author) Charles Hayter

University of Toronto Press
Initial publish date
Jun 2022
Physician & Patient, Death, Grief, Bereavement, Oncology, Radiology & Nuclear Medicine
  • eBook

    Publish Date
    Jun 2022
    List Price
  • Hardback

    Publish Date
    Oct 2022
    List Price

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Where to buy it


Each year, almost twenty million people worldwide receive the grim diagnosis of cancer, yet few are prepared for the difficult emotional journey ahead.


Shortly after Dr. Charles Hayter graduated as a cancer specialist, his father was diagnosed with terminal cancer. As with many doctors, he found that his medical training did not prepare him for the anguish and turmoil he witnessed in himself, his patients, and their loved ones – anguish often worsened by the stigma and shame surrounding cancer and radiation. In Cancer Confidential, Dr. Hayter shares behind-the-scenes stories of people dealing with cancer and death – often through avoidance, denial, and conflict, but also as shining examples of quiet courage, resilience, and humour.


The backdrop for the stories is the specialty of radiation oncology. One in three cancer patients will receive radiation therapy, yet it remains a mysterious and often maligned area of medicine.


Told in a vivid, dramatic style, Cancer Confidential sheds light on this poorly understood field and reveals intimate stories of individuals and their families in difficult circumstances. It will lend insight, compassion, and support to anyone facing the diagnosis of cancer.

About the author

Charles Hayter is a physician and award-winning writer based in Toronto. He is a Fellow of the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada and a former associate professor of radiation oncology at both Queen’s University and the University of Toronto.

Charles Hayter's profile page

Editorial Reviews

“Hayter takes us on deeply moving cancer journey… a fascinating literary journey, told with great skill, compassion, and empathy.”

<em>Thunder Bay Chronicle Journal</em>

"The book is beautifully written, insightful, and inspiring. It is a memoir in which Hayter interweaves his personal story as a son dealing with his father’s advanced prostate cancer and his own professional journey as a radiation oncologist… Dr. Hayter helps us to rethink our roles and scripts so that we can interact with patients and their loved-ones in more authentic, compassionate, and empowering ways."

<em>Journal of Psychosocial Oncology</em>