10 Books That Shine a Light on Cancer

Written by Anna Schaefer on September 21, 2017
cancer books

According to the American Cancer Society, there’ll be an estimated 1.69 million new cases of cancer diagnosed in 2017. For all of these warriors and the support systems around them, the support found in books about cancer can be invaluable.

We’ve found the best books about cancer for the year — those that educate, empower, and comfort.

What Helped Get Me Through: Cancer Survivors Share Wisdom and Hope

cancer book

In “What Helped Get Me Through,” you can find the words of people who’ve battled cancer and survived. Knowing that people like Lance Armstrong, Carly Simon, and Scott Hamilton struggled with some of the same emotions you are is a comfort indeed. This book also won the 2009 National Health Information Award.

Crazy Sexy Cancer Survivor: More Rebellion and Fire for Your Healing Journey

cancer book

Kris Carr battled cancer, and in “Crazy Sexy Cancer Survivor” she shares her tips and tricks for living with the disease. With her crew of “Cancer Cowgirls,” she proposes it’s possible to live a fun, happy, and sexy life, even with a cancer diagnosis. Fun, funny, and heartwarming, this is a must have for your collection.

Anticancer: A New Way of Life

cancer book

Dr. David Servan-Schreiber was the co-founder of the Center for Integrative Medicine. He was also the author of “Anticancer: A New Way of Life.” This book is a guide for anyone living with cancer who wants to create the healthiest environment possible within their body to fight the disease. You’ll find information on the best foods for fighting cancer, food to steer clear of, and the latest research on nutrition and cancer.

The Cancer-Fighting Kitchen: Nourishing, Big-Flavor Recipes for Cancer Treatment and Recovery

cancer book

If you love cooking, cancer shouldn’t steal that joy. But if you love cooking and you have cancer, you may want to switch up exactly what you’re creating in the kitchen. “The Cancer-Fighting Kitchen” by Rebecca Katz and Mat Edelson includes 150 nutritionally dense recipes to help make readers simply feel better. The recipes include ingredients found to address the symptoms associated with cancer and cancer treatments. The book’s publisher says these ingredients can help reduce fatigue, nausea, loss of appetite, weight loss, dehydration, and soreness of the mouth and throat.

The Emperor of All Maladies: A Biography of Cancer

cancer book

Cancer has been an enemy of humans for centuries, and in “The Emperor of Maladies,” you can learn all about the history and “life” of this adversary. Author Dr. Siddhartha Mukherjee traces cancer as far back as possible, to ancient Persia and beyond. Now a PBS documentary and winner of the Pulitzer Prize, this is a different kind of cancer book. It’s part history, part thriller, and all inspirational.

Mindfulness-Based Cancer Recovery: A Step-by-Step MBSR Approach to Help You Cope with Treatment and Reclaim Your Life

cancer book

Cancer treatment is typically the most difficult aspect of living with cancer. In “Mindfulness-Based Cancer Recovery,” you’ll learn how to manage cancer treatment through mind-body approaches. Psychologists Linda Carlson, PhD, and Michael Speca, PsyD, lead readers through lessons on mindfulness. They explain how to tackle anxiety and manage symptoms with the power of the mind. It’s designed as an eight-week program, but can be used over and over, even after you’ve successfully beaten the disease.

It’s Not About the Bike: My Journey Back to Life

cancer book

Everyone knows Tour de France winning cyclist Lance Armstrong. As a public persona, his athleticism is well-known and his name widely recognized. But in 1996, Armstrong’s life became more than a series of bicycle races. It became a battle. In “It’s Not About the Bike,” Armstrong opens up about his journey with testicular cancer. He talks about the emotional, physical, spiritual, and even nutritional aspects of his battle, and how he triumphed.

The Last Lecture

cancer book

In 2007, computer science professor Randy Pausch gave an unforgettable lecture at Carnegie Mellon. In it, he discussed achieving your dreams, overcoming life’s obstacles, and seizing every moment to truly live. Maybe the impact of his lecture was due to the content, but the fact that he’d recently received a cancer diagnosis surely colored his delivery. In “The Last Lecture,” Pausch expands on this legendary lecture. He passes along life lessons he wanted his children and grandchildren to know long after he was gone.

When Breath Becomes Air

cancer book

One day, 36-year-old Dr. Paul Kalanithi was a neurosurgeon in training. The next day, he was a cancer patient. In “When Breath Becomes Air,” Kalanithi details his journey with the disease, up until the day of his death. It’s a memoir and a raw look at the self-reflection and life questions one wrestles with when confronted with a stage 4 diagnosis. The book was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize and has received many accolades since Kalanithi’s passing.

Life Over Cancer: The Block Center Program for Integrative Cancer Treatment

cancer book

Integrative medicine combines the latest approaches to disease management with mind-body work and nutritional support. In “Life Over Cancer,” you’ll learn all about the latest in integrative cancer treatment from Dr. Keith Block, the medical director of the Block Center for Integrative Cancer Treatment. He offers readers insight into the best dietary choices and lifestyle behaviors for cancer recovery. You’ll learn how to manage stress and other emotional symptoms. Block also offers ways to reduce treatment side effects and disease symptoms.

We pick these items based on the quality of the products, and list the pros and cons of each to help you determine which will work best for you. We partner with some of the companies that sell these products, which means Healthline may receive a portion of the revenues when you buy something using the links above.

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