14 Books Written By Cancer Fighters, Survivors, and Supporters
This list has been updated on July 11, 2017.
Books have the special quality of transporting the reader into another world. We've come up with a quick list of reads, most of which have been written by IHC members, that we recommend you check out.
If you're a lover of words and have found cancer in your life somehow, you were probably immediately referred to The Fault in Our Stars. Before its publication, the title on everyone's tongue was Jodi Picoult's My Sister's Keeper. Although these books have done wonders to open a door in literature to talk about cancer, there's a whole lot more than just those two--and rightly so. We are a rich and diverse community with complex, plentiful stories and deserve access to a wealth of literature that represents us.
Here is some reading material that you may not have seen before. Most of the books on this list are home-grown right from our own community and available for purchase on Amazon. Check out the usernames of the authors to connect with them and send direct feedback about their books. You can purchase all of the following on Amazon.
1. Kicking Cancer in the Kitchen
by Kendall Scott, Survivor, Hodgkin's Lymphoma, and Annette Ramke, Angel.
Kicking Cancer in the Kitchen is the bible for the woman who has been handed the cancer card-and for the one who never wants to get it. Authors Annette Ramke and Kendall Scott both used their firsthand experience with cancer to write this cookbook. Unfortunately Annette recently passed away, but the energy and love she put into the book will always live on. Here they share girlfriend-style, real-life knowledge and experience about the healing power of food, along with their stories of cancer ups and downs-with more than 100 recipes for fighting cancer and soothing symptoms of treatment. Whether someone is in the thick of "Cancer World" and wants to know what to expect, or for anyone who wants to do all they can to boost their health, Kicking Cancer in the Kitchen offers guidance on not only surviving, but thriving-before, during, and after cancer.
2. Too Young For This
by Alice K. Crisci, Survivor, Breast Cancer
Hailed as a must-read for newly diagnosed cancer patients and their loved ones, this authentic memoir details the wit, faith and inspiration a 31-year-old woman used to confront her untimely cancer diagnosis. Author Alice Crisci writes with the same raw emotions she felt while dealing with questions about her sexuality, finances, losing her breasts and possibly her fertility from cancer treatment. Husbands, mothers, friends, boyfriends and caregivers repeatedly tell Crisci her words helped them understand what their loved one is going through.
3. Both Sides of the Bedside: From Oncology Nurse to Patient, an RN's Journey with Cancer.
by Christine Magnus Moore, Survivor, Non Hodgkin Lymphoma
Oncological nurse Christine Magnus Moore stood by the bedside of cancer patients for many years, caring for them as they endured major surgeries, chemotherapy and even the aftermath of grueling bone marrow transplants. They fought a battle with an enemy in their bodies: cancer. Some triumphed and some did not. Fighting for her patients' health, she thought of herself as a soldier on the battlefield and was amazed at how they dealt with their difficult road and that they often thanked her with a smile. As connected as she felt to her patients, she didn't fully comprehend the courage it took to confront cancer every day until she became one of them.
4. Help Me Live: 20 Things People with Cancer Want You to Know
by Lori Hope, Survivor, Lung Cancer
When we hear that someone close to us has been diagnosed with cancer, we want nothing more than to comfort them with words of hope, support, and love. But sometimes we don't know what to say or do and don't feel comfortable asking. With sensitive insights and thoughtful anecdotes, Help Me Live provides a personal yet thoroughly researched account of words and actions that are most helpful.
5. Cooking For Chemo...And After!
by Ryan Callahan, Supporter, Breast Cancer
This is a how-to cookbook that teaches you how to adjust your cooking for someone going through chemotherapy. It focuses on teaching how to adjust the flavor of your favorite foods so you can enjoy eating again! Anybody who has ever gone through chemotherapy, acted as a caregiver, or knows someone who has gone through chemo will admit that combating and living with the metallic tastes in your mouth is one of the hardest parts of going through chemotherapy. This book specifically addresses this problem head on and gives you easy, real life solutions to tackle this issue. This is not a "new fad-diet" cookbook or a "what to eat, what not to eat" nutritional guide-- it's a book that will change the way you see and taste food.
6. Now It's Funny: How I Survived Cancer, Divorce, and Other Looming Disasters
by Michael Solomon, Survivor, Non-hodgkin's Lymphoma
On one hand a page-turning medical thriller, and on the other a hilarious romp through the mind of a man bedazzled by fatherhood and midlife, what makes it so different from other illness memoirs is that it reads like a movie in its frenetic pace, its intensity, and its improbable and relentless humor. This memoir transcends its medical milieu and introduces a fresh new voice into the realm of nonfiction to tell a heartfelt story about a father's search for meaning and his undying devotion to his sons.
7. I Kicked Cancer's Ass! Nicole's Leukemia Story
by Nicole Sundermeir Magretto, Survivor, Acute Myeloid Leukemia
Nicole was only 28 years old when she was suddenly diagnosed with a rare, high-risk form of Acute Myeloid Leukemia. After undergoing four toxic rounds of chemotherapy and an unrelated bone marrow transplant, she finally achieved what all fighters dream of--being cancer-free. Throughout her cancer journey, she journalized her experiences to help inspire others who are also fighting for their lives for the goal of helping any and all people struggling along the same path.
8. Welcome to the Club! Surviving Cancer, One Laugh at a Time
by Myles Beskind, an angel who sadly passed away on February 5, 2014. The humor and insight he shared with us has made a lasting impact on our community.
Lucky you! Somebody you know has cancer, and you get to care for them. Think of all the glory you'll get from doing the driving, household chores, calls to insurance companies, runs to the pharmacy, extra laundry loads. Maybe you're the one with cancer. No worries " (other than the whole cancer thing)," you can read this book too. All kidding aside - and don't worry, there's plenty of kidding in this book - cancer sucks. Are you ready to laugh at cancer?
9. Fearless, Fabulous You! Lessons on Living Life on Your Terms
by Melanie Young, Survivor, Breast Cancer
Motivational muse, wellness advocate and breast cancer survivor Melanie Young shares her tips on how to recharge your mental batteries and revalue your self worth, release negative energy and embrace positive change, reconnect with your amazing talents and turn road blocks into building blocks, reframe the vision of who you want to be and how you want to project yourself, reclaim the person you are destined to be and the life you want to live.
10. Being Single, with Cancer
by Tracy Maxwell, Survivor, Ovarian Cancer
Diagnosed with a rare form of ovarian cancer seven years ago, Tracy Maxwell understands the unique swirl of hopes and fears, insecurities and triumphs of a single person with cancer. In Being Single, with Cancer, she combines her experience, other survivors' personal stories, results of a survey of over 100 survivors, and advice from experts to help you navigate through each stage of your journey from diagnosis through treatment and beyond.
11. Not In the Pink
by Tina Martel, Survivor, Breast Cancer
When visual artist Tina Martel was diagnosed with Stage Two breast cancer she decided to document everything. Throughout her treatment she created a stream of sketchbooks, photographs, paintings and video, in response to and frequently in spite of what was happening to her. Not in the Pink is a "graphic narrative" of the pain, frustration and frequent hilarity of her day-to-day dealing with the eccentricities and bureaucracy of the medical system. It is also a candid and moving exploration of the expectations often placed on you once you are diagnosed with cancer: by the people around you, by society and ultimately by yourself.
Stay up-to-date with Tina's work at her site, NotInThePink.ca.
12. When Breath Becomes Air
by Paul Kalanithi, Angel, Lung Cancer
What makes life worth living in the face of death? What do you do when the future, no longer a ladder toward your goals in life, flattens out into a perpetual present? What does it mean to have a child, to nurture a new life as another fades away? These are some of the questions Kalanithi wrestles with in this profoundly moving, exquisitely observed memoir.
13. Intimately Brave
by Kelly Lund, Survivor, Appendix Cancer
Being brave isn’t just standing on the front lines in a battlefield. It’s about stepping up in our lives stronger than we were the moment before. It’s about recognizing our weakness, being vulnerable, and showing up anyways. It’s about forgiveness, and integrity, and love, and giving a voice to the voiceless. Bravery is alive when we are facing the toughest challenges, and choosing to handle them with grace. It’s about creating a life, not merely reacting to our situation. We all possess this strength.
14. The House of the Moon and Stars
by Blake David Lynch, Survivor, Testicular Cancer
A collection of the first two books of poetry by Blake Lynch, written as he attended law school and faced late-stage testicular cancer. These poems stare down darkness while documenting imagery and narrative in a way that only a poet of Lynch's magnitude can do.
Have any book recommendations? Share your favorites in the comments below!