Friday, January 22, 2010

Reading is Believing

When I was diagnosed the first thing I had to have -- after a wise friend placed a blank journal in my hands -- was something to read.   My first purchase was my now well worn copy of Dr. Susan Love's Breast Book/Fourth Edition.  The selection of other memoirs about cancer were slim (or so it seemed to me) and most felt two traumatic First, You Cry by Betty Rollins, or too deep for my gnat-like attention span -- Illness as Metaphor, by Susan Sontag.

After watching the cancer landscape for awhile now I'm convinced that there are two kinds of books that we want.  First we need solidly researched, well written information about cancer.  How technical the information becomes depends on your preference.  You can download excellent information from the American Cancer Society, for example, or plow through articles from medical journals.   What's also critically important is someone whose story we can identify with, even if the writer's cancer, sex or age is different.  

So with this post I'm starting the Women With Cancer Resource Center, with links, from references you send me and those I fhave found and will continue to add to myself.  

From here on out, this will all be new reading for me as well starting with:

1) The Anti-Cancer Diet, A New Way of Life.  David Servan-Schrieber.   If you heard my interview on "Doctor Radio (Sirius 114 & FM19) on Jan. 13 and 20th, I hope you made a note when host Dr. Abe Chachoua mentioned this book.  I made a mental note on my first appearance January 13, then jotted in in bold letters when Dr. Chachoua mentioned it again January 20.  I pay attention to the books respected physicians mention, especially when it concerns cancer.  The author is a survivor and physician himself and reviews speak to a good compilation of prevention strategies.

2)  Crazy, Sexy Cancer. Kris Carr.  I watched the documentary when it was broadcast on network TV and thought it was terrific.  What is it like to be young, single and have an unusual cancer? Kris followed her treatment on film the result was outstanding.               There are also two additional books of tips and anecdotes available (with forewards from Sheryl Crowe and Marianne Williamson)  Tweet @bethanymwinsor, a young survivor in Texas who is currently awaiting news on participation in a clinical trial recommended this one to me.

3) Another recommendation came from Tweet @glenbrooknv:  Surviving the Cancer Sytem, a terrific sounding guide book also written by a physician, Mark Fesen, M.D.  This looks like something most of us would have loved to have at the beginning.  I'm going to pick up a copy of Surviving the Cancer System and review it for you.

Still another title was offered by @snwman, You Can Conquer Cancer, by Ian Gawler, described as a practical and inspiring guide.  2007.    
And if your schedule makes reading difficult most the country's large cancer centers have hundreds of titles for download.  For MD Anderson  Cancer Center, downloads approximately 20,000 podcasts per month from

What's on your cancer reading list? What books do you recommend for newly diagnosed? Please share what you know. Have a fabulous weekend!!




Debbie said...

Thanks for the compilation of books. I will also investigate them further and see what hits me the right way! I too bought Dr Susan Love's book almost immediately and perused it often at the beginning but at times found it to be overwhelming and have too much information, in fact at times it scared me.
I often felt that any 'cancer' book was going to be hard for me to read and in some ways they still are, but I am still searching:)So this list is a great place to start!
Thanks and Love to you!

Gaelen said...

I have a couple at home and I'll make sure to come back and put in the correct titles tonight - but the first thing that struck me, that I *wish* I'd had to read while I was on treatment, is Rebecca Katz's cookbook, 'One Bite At a Time' with recipes especially developed to intrigue a cancer patient's fickle tastebuds.
I'm a foodie, and a cookbook collector/reader (I read 'em like novels.) Katz's cookbook read like the wonderful cookbooks I treasure, and the recipes are terrific. So it's what I'd put on any cancer patient's reading list.