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About the book
  • Published: 15 August 2008
  • ISBN: 9780091917166
  • Imprint: Vermilion
  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 336
  • RRP: $32.99

Singing the Life

The story of a family living in the shadow of Cancer




An inspirational and beautifully written account of a family's battle with a genetic predisposition to cancer

As a result of a genetically-transmitted gene, all three Bryan sisters, Felicity, Elizabeth and Bunny have had cancer. And, unusually, each of them suffered a different cancer; ovarian, breast and pancreatic. As the gene also has a dominant inheritance, half of their family members can be expected to carry it. Now, in a personal and deeply affecting memoir, Elizabeth writes of her family’s extraordinary experience of this dreadful disease.

Writing not only as a daughter, sister and aunt of those afflicted and bereaved by cancer, but as a sufferer herself, she will tell of the shocks, sadnesses, dilemmas and uncertainties that come with diagnosis and then treatment. Giving a personal view from both the perspective of a patient and that of a relative, as well as comparing the impacts of remission and terminal prognoses on herself and those around her, Singing the Life gives a uniquely wide-ranging account of dealing with life-threatening illness and the threat it still poses in her family. Eloquently setting Elizabeth’s personal story against the universal fears, problems and worries that face those affected by cancer, this is an inspirational and encouraging read unlike any other on the subject.

  • Pub date: 15 August 2008
  • ISBN: 9780091917166
  • Imprint: Vermilion
  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 336
  • RRP: $32.99

About the Author

Elizabeth Bryan

Elizabeth Bryan was a cancer sufferer but also a doctor. She nursed her father and one sister through the terminal stages of cancer and supported another sister and her husband in their experiences of cancer. She was a paediatrician specialising in twins and as president of the International Society of Twin Studies worked closely with geneticists. She also worked as an inspector for the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority and was the author of several books on twins and multiples. Elizabeth died of cancer early in 2008.


Praise for Singing the Life

“A unique insight into the disease told from the perspective of a doctor, patient and carer with remarkable optimism.”

Yorkshire Post

“I felt humbled by [her] courage, openness and perceptions in recounting [her] own and [her] family's experiences. [Her] book will be so important for those who live with inherited risk and experience of serious conditions, as well as all those who work with these families.”

Professor Martin Richards, Director of the Centre of Family Research, Cambridge

“Elizabeth Bryan's indomitable spirit and expansive humanity make this an uplifting and optimistic account; I was left in no doubt that I had just spent time with a truly remarkable woman.”

Baroness Helena Kennedy QC, Chair of The Human Genetics Commission

“Her optimism and stoicism will offer solace to fellow sufferers.”

FT Magazine

“a lyrical celebration of life and what is to follow”

The Independent

“A candid, moving account”

The Times


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