General reading list

You and your family might find these books, booklets and websites useful. They include information about cancer, treatment and coping.

General books about cancer

Dr Ian Banks
J H Haynes & Co Ltd, 2004
ISBN 978-1844251582

Written by a doctor, the Haynes Cancer manual is an optimistic book, featuring hints and tips for a healthy lifestyle as well as easy to understand information on all cancers affecting men.

Jeffrey Tobias
Bloomsbury Publishing PLC, 2001
ISBN 978-0747554103

This book covers treatment, side effects and many different types of cancer.

Dr Terry Priestman
Sheldon Press, 2009
ISBN 9781847090485

This handbook deals frankly and sensitively with the issues of cure, follow up, treatment side effects and recurrence. It looks at the support available to people who have finished their treatment.

Dr Knut Schroeder
John Wiley & Sons Ltd, 2010
ISBN 978-0470660966

This useful book offers practical and reassuring advice from an experienced GP. It covers everything from basic physical assessments and first aid procedures to advice on spotting both mental and physical health problems (including the symptoms of cancer).

Cancer treatments

A Ko, E Rosenbaum and M Dollinger
Andrews McMeel Publishing, 2009
ISBN 9780740786310

The author and contributors of this book are all American cancer specialists. The book covers how cancer is diagnosed, treated and managed day to day.

Dr Terry Priestman
Sheldon Press, 2009
ISBN 978-1847090805

Gives information about chemotherapy, its side effects, and how to cope with them. Also discusses the effect of chemotherapy on everyday life, including tiredness, sex life and fertility, social life, work, holidays, exercise and diet.

Dr Terry Priestman
Sheldon Press, 2007
ISBN 9780859699990

Gives information about radiotherapy, its side effects, and how to cope with them. Also discusses the effect of radiotherapy on everyday life, including social life, work, travel, exercise and diet.

  • Understanding chemotherapy
  • Understanding radiotherapy
  • Coping with hair loss
  • Coping with fatigue
  • Eating problems and cancer
  • Healthy eating and cancer
  • Physical activity and cancer treatment

You can order these and many other booklets and CDs on the Macmillan Cancer Support website. You can also order by phone on 0800 500 800.

Living with cancer

Jane Freeman
Sheldon Press, 2012
ISBN 9781847091413

Written by a cancer dietitian, this is a practical handbook for people with cancer. Filled with helpful tips and recipes.

Karen Jung
Granville Island publishing, 2008
ISBN 9781894694575

The writer's husband had cancer and this book is a compilation of recipes that they created together. The book aims to help people with cancer to incorporate healthy and appetising dishes into their diet. It has tips for meals and snacks to help people maintain their weight whilst on treatment. The book and the measures used are Canadian.

Vidyamala Burch
Sounds True, 2010
ISBN 9781591797470

Vidyamala has suffered chronic back pain for more than 30 years. She is the co-founder of Breathworks, an organisation which helps people experiencing chronic pain, illness and stress to manage their condition through meditation, body awareness and creative approaches to living.

Chris Geiger
CKG Ventures Ltd, 2012
ISBN 9780957412200 

A collection of inspirational and uplifting stories about living with cancer. Each story is written from a personal perspective, giving a very warm, friendly style of writing that is relaxed and sometimes humorous. It can help patients and their relatives feel less alone and isolated as they cope with the cancer and its treatment.

Marie Curie have a range of publications for people living with a terminal illness. They have booklets with advice on finances and booklets on common problems faced by people with a terminal illness.

The following are some examples of their booklets:

  • Being cared for at home
  • Boosting your energy
  • Breathing easier
  • Keeping active
  • Controlling pain

A project on metaphors for cancer at Lancaster University has produced a ‘Metaphor Menu for People Living with Cancer’ as a resource for talking and thinking about the experience of having cancer. The Metaphor Menu is based on the finding that different metaphors suit different people, or the same person at different times, and that it is therefore important to have many different metaphors to choose from.

It is available for anyone to read, share, use and add to.

Mind works throughout England and Wales to help people with experience of mental distress. It offers information on all aspects of mental health to affected people and their families.

Phone: 020 8519 2122

The website provides information about cancer, with a focus on empowering patients and their families to help themselves through food, exercise and mental health. You can view a series of videos that explain what cancer is and ways to cope following a diagnosis. 

The information has been developed by a team from different fields, including patients, relatives, oncologists, a nutritionist and an exercise rehabilitation specialist.

Family, friends and carers reading list

Wesley C Finegan
CRC Press, 2005
ISBN 9781857756388

A good basic guide for anyone caring for somebody with cancer.

Anne Orchard
Rainbow Heart Publishing, 2008
ISBN 978-0955979705

Anne Orchard has written this following her own experience of supporting a loved one with cancer. With some practical advice, as well as guidance on how to take your own inner journey, she suggests how to deal with this challenge in your life.

Deborah Hutton
Short Books Ltd, 2010
ISBN 1906021566

Deborah Hutton wrote this from her own experience of cancer. She gives examples of ways in which family and friends can help including practical advice and ideas of what to say. It includes contributions from celebrities. 

Supporting children and young adults

Breast Cancer Care

These booklets are available from Breast Cancer Care:

  • Talking with your children about breast cancer
  • Mummy's lump (aimed at younger children)
  • Breast cancer and your child's school

What's Up With Bridget's Mum? Medikidz explain breast cancer

This booklet has medical information by doctors in comic book form at aimed young people between the ages of 8 and 15. It is available through Amazon or from the Jumohealth (formerly Medikidz) website.

The following are some examples of the booklets available from the Children's Cancer and Leukaemia Group (CCLG).

  • I have a friend who has cancer
  • My brother or sister has cancer
  • Managing family life and cancer
  • Helping your child to eat

These booklets and many others are free to download from the Children's Cancer and Leukaemia Group website.

Macmillan Cancer Support (revised 2016)  

This free booklet has advice on talking to children, including why, when and how to tell them about cancer. There is also a CD version. This and other booklets for children and young people are available from the Be.Macmillan website

Marge Heegaard
Woodland Press, 1992
ISBN 9780962050244

This is an activity book for children aged 6 to 12. It aims to help them to say what they understand about the illness so that adults can give them further relevant information and help them cope.

Maya Silva and Marc Silva 
Sourcebooks Fire, 2013
ISBN 9781402273070

Maya was 16 when her mother was diagnosed with breast cancer. She has written this book with her father in order to help other teenagers in a similar position.

ZoAnn Dreyer
Checkmark Books, 2008
ISBN 978-0816075614

A complete guide for teens coping with cancer. It gives real life examples of living with cancer day to day.

Winston's Wish was set up to help bereaved children and young people. You can buy books from the online shop. Or you can phone 01242 515157.

Titles of books available include:

  • A Child's Grief
  • As Big As It Gets
  • The Secret C
  • You Just Don't Understand

Sexuality, fertility and menopause reading list

Ian Banks
J H Haynes & Co Ltd, 2009
ISBN 1844258084

A practical guide to sexual health and enjoyment. 

This booklet from Macmillan Cancer Support offers information to young people about all aspects of sex and relationships and discusses the effects of cancer treatment on fertility. It also has coping strategies and options for fertility treatment in people whose fertility is affected. 

Available free to people affected by cancer. 

S Kydd and D Rowett
Big Think Media, 2006
ISBN 0978810805

A responsible guide featuring personal stories and expert voices. Intimacy after Cancer takes an in-depth look at how women respond to, deal with, and overcome barriers to intimacy after a life-changing cancer diagnosis. 

This booklet is written by Dr Louise Newson and Ellie Waters. Ellie was 15 when she had the menopause after cancer treatment. Dr Newson is a GP and menopause expert. She founded The Menopause Charity and created the Menopause Doctor website, now called Balance, which provides a wealth of information about the menopause.

This booklet provides information about what the menopause is, what the possible symptoms are and what you can do to help, and about how menopause might affect future health.

This booklet is written by Dr Louise Newson and Ovarian Cancer Action. Dr Newson is a GP, menopause specialist and founder of the Menopause Charity. Ovarian Cancer Action is a UK charity that raises awareness of ovarian cancer and funds research into the prevention, early diagnosis and treatment of ovarian cancer.

This booklet is for women who have an increased risk of gynaecological cancer, usually due to their family history or because they carry a change in a gene that increases the risk, such as BRCA 1 or 2, or Lynch syndrome. These women may have surgery to remove their ovaries and fallopian tubes, and so have an early menopause.

Books for people with learning disabilities

FAIR Multimedia publishes a range of health leaflets, CDs, DVDs and E-booklets specifically designed for people with learning disabilities. These include a series on cancer. You can view on the FAIR website or order them by downloading FAIR's order form. 

V Donaghey and others
Beyond words, 2002
ISBN 1901242846

This is a true story about a woman with Down’s syndrome whose doctor tells her she has cancer. It describes how scared this makes her feel. She is reassured that the cancer can be cured but will need to have surgery, radiotherapy and chemotherapy. The book is designed for use by anyone working with people who have a learning disability and have been diagnosed with cancer.

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