The Truth About Cancer
Take One Step: A PBS Health Campaign
The Truth About Cancer + Take One Step: A Conversation About Cancer with Linda Ellerbee  

Annotated Bibliography
< Resources for Living with and through Cancer

Adult Nonfiction

Adler, Elizabeth
Living with Lymphoma: A Patient's Guide
Johns Hopkins University Press, 2005
Written by a neurobiologist who was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin's lymphoma, this patient-centered guide won the 2006 American Medical Writers Association Medical Book Award. Frequently mentioned as the guide to have when first diagnosed, Adler's empathetic and fact-filled book explains the disease, its symptoms, and treatment options.

American Cancer Society's Complete Guide to Complementary and Alternative Cancer Methods
American Cancer Society, 2007
Reviewing many of the options available in integrative medicine, this guide explores a mix of nontraditional treatments in concert with established methods and approaches. Patients interested in considering this type of care can use this comprehensive guide to investigate the pros and cons of many alternative treatment methods.

Bellenir, Karen, ed.
Cancer Sourcebook
Omnigraphics, 2007
Acting as an overview for cancer in all its types and manifestations, this sourcebook offers consumer health information at an introductory level.

Coleman, C. N.
Understanding Cancer: A Patient's Guide to Diagnosis, Prognosis, and Treatment
Johns Hopkins University Press, 2006
Coleman's book empowers patients to become fully informed and active participants in their health-care choices by walking them step by step through diagnosis, tests, cancer type and stages, treatment options, risks, benefits, and case studies.

Feuerstein, Michael
The Cancer Survivor's Guide: The Essential Handbook to Life After Cancer
Marlowe and Co., 2006
With a seven-step approach, Feuerstein, a cancer survivor himself, offers others a way to navigate the path of living post-cancer.

Healy, Bernadine
Living Time: Faith and Facts to Transform Your Cancer Journey
Bantam Dell Pub Group, 2007
Healy, a well-known columnist and a past director of the National Institutes of Health, was herself diagnosed with a malignant brain tumor. Now, seven years later, she is one of millions of cancer survivors. Intertwining her own story with a superb explanation of cancer and how it works and is treated, Healy offers readers an informed perspective on living with and overcoming cancer as well as an accessible inside view of cancer research and treatment.

Houts, Peter
Caregiving: A Step-by-Step Resource for Caring for the Person with Cancer at Home
American Cancer Society, 2006
With shorter hospital stays, outpatient surgery, longer times between treatments, and lag times while further options are explored, many people are caring for family or friends with cancer in a home setting. This guide helps those caregivers by providing outlines of cancer treatments, recovery information, common side effects of treatments, examples of care, advice on when to call the professionals, and information on community resources. Helpful and reassuring, this guide will support those who are busy supporting others.

Keene, Nancy, Wendy Hobbie and Kathy Ruccione
Childhood Cancer Survivors: A Practical Guide to Your Future
2nd edition. O'Reilly, 2007
The authors of this book are experts in the field of childhood cancer. They have written, spoken, and advocated about all aspects of survivorship. They have also talked to hundreds of survivors, with a wide range of issues and triumphs, and have included many of their stories.

Kelvin, Joanne Frankel, and Leslie B. Tyson
100 Questions & Answers about Cancer Symptoms & Cancer Treatment Side Effects
Jones & Bartlett, 2005
Offering the unique dual perspectives of both patients and doctors, this consumer-based guide reviews symptoms, treatments, and side effects and empowers the newly diagnosed with authoritative and practical answers to a spectrum of questions.

Link, John
Breast Cancer Survival Manual, Fourth Edition: A Step-by-Step Guide for the Woman With Newly Diagnosed Breast Cancer
Holt, 2007
Link reviews almost everything a patient needs to know when faced with breast cancer. Though focused on a specific range of cancers, the manual is nonetheless useful for anyone facing a cancer diagnosis, as it presents how to get a second opinion, how to read a pathology report, how to keep a medical journal, and how to keep a mind/body balance when planning treatment options.

Love, Susan M.
Dr. Susan Love's Breast Book
Da Capo Press, 2005
Long considered the bible on breast cancer and breast care, Love's authoritative view of the issues surrounding breast cancer is often the first book offered to the newly diagnosed. This most recent edition includes updated information on biopsy and screening methods, hormone therapy, and newly discovered treatment choices.

Nathan, David G.
The Cancer Treatment Revolution: How Smart Drugs and Other New Therapies Are Renewing Our Hope and Changing the Face of Medicine
Wiley, 2007.
A narrative history of the fight to cure cancer, this account of the doctors, researchers, and patients on the frontlines of the cancer war is fascinating. Nathan explores the research and explains how cancers work in a clear and compelling manner. As a result, this book is a great choice for those diagnosed with cancer, for their loved ones, and for anyone interested in the science behind the disease.

National Coalition for Cancer Survivorship
A Cancer Survivor's Almanac: Charting Your Journey
Hoffman, Barbara, ed. 2nd edition. John Wiley & Sons, 2004
This collection of personal experiences, professional insights, and facts about cancer will help readers negotiate the challenges of survivorship with dignity and humor.

Patt, Richard B., and Susan S. Lang
The Complete Guide to Relieving Cancer Pain and Suffering
Oxford University Press, 2006
Designed as a consumer text for those suffering with or concerned about the pain that can accompany cancer, this guide outlines the ranges of pain-relieving options available. Lang is a Cornell University science writer and Patt is the deputy chief of the Pain Service at Houston's M.D. Anderson Cancer Center. Both write with a supportive and authoritative voice that will offer patients great reassurance.

Rosenbaum, Ernest, Malin Dollinger, and Greg Cable
Everyone's Guide to Cancer Therapy: How Cancer is Diagnosed, Treated, and Managed Day to Day
Revised 5th edition. Andrews McMeel Publishing, 2008
Designed to aid the patient by answering questions and suggesting additional resources, this guide seeks to help patients become as informed as possible about their health-care choices.

Sarg, Michael J., and Ann D. Gross
The Cancer Dictionary
Facts on File, 2007
Michael Sarg is the associate chief of the Oncology Section at New York City's St. Vincent's Hospital. Along with Gross, he has identified the terms most cancer patients will encounter and defined them with clarity and lay terminology. The dictionary defines nearly 2,500 terms covering types of cancers, drugs, tests, treatments, and much more. For those struggling to cope with the swirl of information accompanying a cancer diagnosis, Sarg and Gross's text is a supportive companion.

Silver, J. K.
After Cancer Treatment: Heal Faster, Better, Stronger
Johns Hopkins University Press, 2006
Silver, a breast cancer survivor herself, reviews all the after- treatment issues that are important to survivorship, including diet, exercise, fatigue, mental health, mind-body connections, and spirituality. As a doctor trained in rehabilitation medicine, Silver's guide to coping with cancer is both insightful and supportive.

Sompayrac, Lauren
How Cancer Works
Jones & Bartlett Publishers, Inc., 2004
This short guide to the most common types of cancers explains how tumors develop and grow, presents the different ways of treating various types of cancers, and provides a scientific but accessible view of the internal world of tumor growth.

Teeley, Peter
The Complete Revised and Updated Cancer Survival Guide: Everything You Must Know and Where To Go for State-of-the-Art Treatment of the 25 Most Common Forms of Cancer
Broadway Books, 2005
In an exhaustive and clear guide to the early detection and prevention of cancer, Teeley gathers the best advice from a huge range of experts and presents it in an eminently readable and useful manner. He also addresses cancer diagnosis and survivorship, making this an omnibus volume on the complexity of cancer subjects.

Thiboldeaux, Kim, and Mitch Golant
The Total Cancer Wellness Guide: Reclaiming Your Life After Diagnosis
BenBella Books, 2007
This resource helps patients feel less intimidated by medical jargon and procedures and empowers them to make informed decisions.

Van Dernoot, Peter, and Madelyn Case
Helping Your Children Cope with Your Cancer: A Guide for Parents and Families
Random House, 2006
This guide on how cancer affects the whole family encourages appropriate open discussion and dialogue with children and suggests ways for them to cope, ask questions, share feelings, and understand what is happening to their parent.

Foley, Kathleen, ed.
When The Focus Is On Care: Palliative Care And Cancer
American Cancer Society, 2006
The American Cancer Society's book on palliative care guides patients who are facing terminal illness through the process of living well even in face of nonresponsive cancers. With a focus on end-of-life issues and on controlling or alleviating pain, symptoms, and suffering, this handbook offers the support and tools necessary when the worst diagnosis possible must be faced.

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Adult Nonfiction Memoirs

Balwanz, Patti, K. Carlos, J. Johnson, and J. Peters
Nordie's at Noon: The Personal Stories of Four Women "Too Young" for Breast Cancer
Da Capo, 2007
This warm, hip memoir tells the stories of four women who developed the disease very early: Patti was 24, Jana and Jennifer were 27, and Kim was 30. Meeting at Nordstrom's for lunch, they bravely support each other and share their lessons of survival, struggles with treatment, and most of all, find strength in friendship.

Fies, Brian
Mom's Cancer
Abrams Image, 2006
When Eisner Award-winning Fies found out that his mother had both lung cancer and a brain tumor, he turned to his work to express his sorrow. His story, told in comic form, is a loving testament to how cancer affects families. His honest account of what his family went through is told via the clean lines of his drawings and is both heartfelt and insightful.

Carr. Kris
Crazy Sexy Cancer Tips
skirt!, 2007
Actress and photographer Carr, upon discovering she had cancer, took the disease by storm. She wore cowboy boots to her MRI sessions and took off on a journey to connect with other cancer patients and survivors. Her group ultimately included a who's who of the creative class—models, actresses, and writers. This fresh approach to memoirs/scrapbooks offers readers a positive and upbeat way to deal with the scariest of news.

Marchetto, Marisa Acocella
Cancer Vixen: A True Story
Knopf, 2006
Marchetto was living a fashionable and exciting life in NYC. Just before her wedding, she found a lump in her breast and suddenly faced chemo, no health insurance, and the scary realization that her life had just been upended. In her trademark cartoonist style of bold color and fun images, she recounts the days she wore high heels to chemo treatments and was supported by her circle of fashion insiders. The images are great, the Sex and the City ethos is fun, and her story—of courage, heart, and deep friendships—is greatly moving.

Queller, Jessica
Pretty Is What Changes: Impossible Choices, The Breast Cancer Gene, and How I Defied My Destiny
Spiegel & Grau, 2008
Queller lost her mother to cancer and then faced even more tragedy when she tested positive for the BRCA "breast cancer" gene mutation—meaning that her odds of developing breast cancer and ovarian cancer were extremely high. At 35, and hoping for a family of her own, Queller had to make an agonizing choice: wait to see if she would develop cancer or have surgery to remove both her breasts. Her memoir tracing that decision is witty and insightful—and also illuminating—as she takes readers deep into the heart of cutting-edge research and shares her experience with cancer and biotechnology.

Radner, Gilda
It's Always Something
Harper Paperbacks, 2000
This memoir chronicles Radner's struggle with ovarian cancer and her inspiring attempt to keep an upbeat attitude during her illness. Her discussion of a Santa Monica patient-support group called The Wellness Community may be of interest to cancer patients and their families.

Sweeney, Julia
God Said, Ha!: A Memoir
Bantam, 1998
In a stunning mix of circumstances, Julia Sweeney finds out that her brother has cancer. He moves in with her, only for them both to learn that she herself has a rare form of cancer. The story of her family and how they cope with this dual tragedy is both moving and uplifting, as Sweeney, of Saturday Night Live fame, has a way of mixing good humor and insight into her poignant memoir.

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Picture Books for Young Children

Borden, Louise. Illustrated by Adam Gustavson
Good Luck, Mrs. K!
Aladdin, 2002
Louise Borden has captured the magic of experiencing third grade with a creative and fun-loving teacher. Mrs. K does things "the third grade way," which includes rollerblades, Worm Day, and imaginary trips to faraway places. When a substitute teacher arrives—and stays—the children are filled with concern for their beloved teacher. Mr. Rivers, the principal, gives explanations about Mrs. K's cancer and subsequent operations. On the day after final dismissal, the class experiences a wonderful surprise and gains a reassuring reason for hope. Beautiful full-color paintings and first-person narrative provide charming glimpses of school life and a realistic portrayal of a compassionate school community.

Kohlenberg, Sherry
Sammy's Mommy Has Cancer
Magination Press, 1993
Sammy enjoys his little white house, activities with his family, playing with his dinosaurs, and preschool. When Sammy's mother is diagnosed with cancer, he receives simple yet accurate information and assurances from his parents during each phase of treatment. Sammy understands the reasons for his mom's hair loss and, along with his dad, lends comfort and support during her surgery and recovery. The family rejoices when Mom is able to play outside and when the day arrives for her to remove her scarf. Sherry Kohlenberg, a cancer survivor, wrote this story for her 18-month-old son soon after her diagnosis. Colorful illustrations capture the fear, struggle, and joys they experienced on their journey. The author also suggests resources and includes a glossary of terms and guidelines for parenting before, during, and after treatment.

Krisher, Trudy. Illustrated by Nadine Bernard Westcott
Kathy's Hats: A Story of Hope
Albert Whitman Publishing, 1992
Colorful hats are important to Kathy. She can recall Easter hats and large ones for dress-up. When she was younger she donned baseball caps, bathing caps, and hats to shade her eyes. When Kathy gets sick and learns that something very serious is happening, she feels frightened and angry. As she begins to shed her hair, her mother purchases a variety of hats and Kathy realizes that cancer has altered her feeling about hats. Thankfully, Kathy's mom provides a new slant on things and her friends pitch in with unique gifts that not only raise Kathy's spirits but also enhance her dreams.

Negron, Ray. Illustrated by Laura Seeley
The Boy of Steel: A Baseball Dream Come True
HarperCollins, 2006
Michael Steel, a young boy hospitalized with brain cancer, gains courage and inner strength while experiencing the excitement of a New York Yankees game. After Yankee second baseman Robinson Cano makes a surprise visit to his hospital room, Michael can't believe his luck when he gets the chance to be a guest batboy for Cano at a real Yankees game. Michael, a strong character who earns the nickname "the boy of steel," exhibits all the joy, fear, and wonder of life and will be a boy with whom young readers will identify. With the story and illustrations, Negron and Seeley provide opportunities for readers and their parents to discuss the realities of cancer. For example, Michael Steel is pictured with a bald head and IV tubes in his arms while in the hospital, and his weakness from the illness is apparent as he struggles at the Yankees game. In addition to its use as a discussion starter with children, this picture book also provides a touching, uplifting story about never giving up and persevering against all odds.

Polacco, Patricia
The Lemonade Club
Philomel, 2007
Traci and Marilyn are fortunate to be in Miss Wichelman's fifth grade class. Her classroom is inviting, with fun-filled activities occurring each day. Miss Wichelman has taught the students to believe in their dreams and to make lemonade when life brings them "lemons". When Marilyn begins to lose weight and energy, the class is shocked to learn that leukemia is the cause. Many bad days follow but, with surprising empathy from students and teacher, Marilyn's exciting return generates the formation of the Lemonade Club. Patricia Polacco, who often gathers her inspiration from real-life events, based this story on her daughter's fifth grade experience. Her dramatic illustrations emphasize the varied emotions of such a crisis. Photographs of the "players" in this drama add a realistic element and lend hope for the future to those involved in a battle with cancer.

Vigna, Judith
When Eric's Mom Fought Cancer
Concept Books, 1993
Life changes for Eric when his mom is diagnosed with breast cancer. His mother is tired, sick, and, at times, irritable and frustrated. The bleak winter snowstorm is a fitting backdrop to the chill Eric feels as he worries about his mother and the possibility that he is somehow the cause of her illness. His new skis sit idly by as his family battles the cancer and its effects. When Grandma comes to help and Eric and his dad take a mini skiing trip, Eric begins to feel hope and discovers the perfect gift to assist his mother with her recovery. Judith Vigna presents a realistic portrayal of a family in crisis, with all the highs and lows that accompany this daunting diagnosis.

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Children's Fiction

Hannigan, Katherine
Ida B:...and Her Plans to Maximize Fun, Avoid Disaster, and (Possibly) Save the World
HarperTrophy, 2006
Ida B. thinks that her solitary life couldn't be more perfect. Homeschooled in an idyllic rural setting, she has time for creative pursuits that include charming conversations with a cast of imaginary characters, portrayed by the apples trees in her magnificent orchard. When Ida's mom develops cancer, radical changes occur. Part of the farm is sold to pay medical bills, and she is forced to attend public school. With feelings of anger and trepidation, Ida is unprepared for the empathy and wisdom of her teacher, Ms. Washington. In first-person narration, the author's character, Ida, captures the emotion and tension of a family facing serious illness and couples this struggle with humor and optimism. The combination of Ida's inner strength and the unfailing love of her supporting characters results in a deeply moving and memorable novel.

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Children's Nonfiction

Numeroff, Laura, and Wendy S. Harpham. Illustrations by David McPhail
The Hope Tree: Kids Talk about Breast Cancer
Simon & Schuster Children's Publishing, 2001
Eleven endearing animal characters have banded together to create a club called KIDS TALK. Their mothers are in different stages of breast cancer and, at weekly meetings, members reflect on resulting life changes. Realistic narratives based on accounts of children aged six to twelve deal with the many emotions involved and the adjustments required within the affected family. Charming illustrations of the animal families experiencing the struggles and triumphs provide a comforting touch. Adorable mice sisters, Kim and Kisa, share a list of things kids can do to help. Others explain about treatments and soothe fears about "catching it." Jessie the kitten, aged 9, shares her hope tree made from colorful leaves and explains how wishes can be altered as necessary.This beautifully illustrated book was created to benefit the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation. It handles difficult issues effectively and will be a valuable resource to families dealing with breast cancer.

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Teen Fiction

Koss, Amy Goldman
Side Effects
Roaring Brook Press, 2006
Teenager Izzy learns that she has stage 4 Hodgkin's lymphoma. She undergoes standard treatments, leans on her best friend, and grows in her understanding of her mother. The book has realistically typical teenage characters and solid research into various Children's Hospital patients and their treatments.

Pennebaker, Ruth
Both Sides Now
Laurel Leaf, 2002
High school sophomore Liza, organized and hard working, believes that advanced planning is the key to success. She is attractive and popular, serving as a member of the school newspaper with a regular advice column. Stanford is her college of choice and she admires and respects the success of her father. In contrast, Liza sees her mother as despondent and filled with self- doubt after the rejection of her book. After she receives a cancer diagnosis and endures a mastectomy, her mother's personality seems even more morose. When her mother refuses aggressive treatments, Liza finds her life spinning out of control with slipping grades and poor decisions. Ruth Pennebaker, a cancer survivor, projects a strong voice for both mother and daughter with realistic first-person narratives. When Liza's meltdown finally occurs, a fascinating alteration of character ensues as she begins to better understand herself and appreciate her mother's special qualities.

Turner, Ann
Hard Hit
Scholastic Press, 2006
In lyrical and poignant free verse, Ann Turner relates the story of sixteen-year-old Mark and his family when his dad is diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. Prior to this event, Mark's life had seemed charmed, with a fun-loving family and friends, accolades for his ability as a baseball pitcher, and a breathtaking girlfriend named Diane. After his father's initial successful treatment, a celebratory spirit emerges, only to be dashed by a sudden and continuous decline. Mark attempts to bargain with God, improve his relationship with his sister, and focus his remaining energy on a hopeful outcome. The novel is especially intense as Mark struggles to regroup after the loss—realistically tracing the steps through grief and recovery. Turner also includes information on organizations dedicated to grieving children and families.

Zinnen, Linda
Holding at Third
Puffin, 2006
Matt Bainter is a thirteen-year-old baseball star, a supportive friend, and a loyal brother. When his younger sibling Tom requires a bone marrow transplant for his aggressive cancer, Matt gives up his place on a winning baseball team and relocates with his brother and mom to be near the treatment center. With difficulty, he attempts to reestablish himself in a new community and gain an identity other than that of savior for a losing team. In this struggle, missing his friends and his mother's attention, he begins to hear voices in the outfield and to experience a batting slump. As his fears for Tom accelerate, Matt finds himself unable to provide promised support. Linda Zinnan has created a strong and inspiring character and uses the metaphor of baseball to navigate a journey through self-doubt, suffering, and loss. Humorous episodes balance the gravity of a family dealing with the upheaval caused by a critical illness.

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Teen Nonfiction

Panno, Joseph
Cancer: The Role of Genes, Lifestyle, and Environment
Facts on File, 2005
A part of the Facts on File Science Library, this reference presents an overview of cancer in a clear and well-illustrated format. Seven major types of cancer are covered separately, with sections on anatomy, risk factors, symptoms, diagnosis, and staging. Detailed explanations of cancer cells, causative genes, and related progression are emphasized, as scientists believe that understanding these relational factors is the key to halting the disease's development. Concluding sections are dedicated to information on various therapies and clinical trials, with the successes and failures of each. A well- illustrated resource, Cancer also includes a comprehensive glossary, an index, and a bibliography of related sources, including Internet resources.

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