October is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month, an annual campaign to raise awareness about the disease. A breast cancer diagnosis is a scary time for the patient and their family. Alongside data from health care professionals, books offer information, comfort, and hope in navigating the difficult path to healing.
Here are seven books to help with a breast cancer diagnosis:
1. The New Generation Breast Cancer Book: How to Navigate Your Diagnosis and Treatment Options – and Remain Optimistic – in an Age of Information Overload by Dr. Elisa Port
Written by the chief of breast cancer surgery at The Mount Sinai Hospital, this book offers guidance for managing breast cancer in the information age. Dr. Port’s book also helps to combat the misinformation and myths encountered on the web. This is an all-inclusive guide for the newly diagnosed to understand an array of topics including: questions to ask your doctor, why to find a specialist, interpreting medical reports, understanding breast cancer genes, and much more. This may be the best resource to start with after diagnosis.
2. A Woman’s Decision: Breast Care, Treatment & Reconstruction by Karen Berger and John Bostwick
A Woman’s Decision is another book written to help women specifically understand their options after diagnosis. The fourth edition is updated with the newest advances in treatment and reconstruction. This may be the best book for evaluating breast reconstruction decisions because it discusses reconstruction options in detail including photos for reference. It also includes reassuring interviews with women who have undergone breast cancer treatment.
3. Breast Cancer Husband: How to Help Your Wife (and Yourself) Through Diagnosis, Treatment, and Beyond by Marc Silver
Breast Cancer Husband was written by award-winning journalist Marc Silver after failing to find a book to help him with his wife’s breast cancer diagnosis. His book provides advice on how to manage the emotional and practical side of the issue. Sensitive but important topics like sex and intimacy following breast cancer surgery and how and when to talk to young children about the diagnosis are discussed. This is the go-to guide for husbands on the topic of breast cancer.
4. Mom and the Polka-Dot Boo-Boo by Eileen Sutherland and Maggie Sutherland
Mom and the Polka-Dot Boo-Boo is a children’s book written by a breast cancer survivor and illustrated by her daughter. This book is intended to help young children understand their parent’s breast cancer diagnosis. One positive point of the book is it does not talk about breast cancer as a scary thing, but instead reassures and informs children. Children are introduced to topics like chemotherapy and hair loss in a story format. This award-winning book is a wonderful resource for parents.
5. The Best News About Radiation Therapy: Everything You Need to Know About Your Treatment by Dr. Carol Kornmehl
Dr. Kornmehl’s book focuses specifically on radiation treatment. This book offers a compassionate and easy to understand explanation of each step of the therapy and what patients can expect from the treatment. This is a great resource for patients who have no prior experience with radiation treatment.
6. Anticancer: A New Way of Life by Dr. David Servan-Schreiber
Anticancer is not specific to breast cancer but offers insight and advice on how to fight cancer through nutrition and lifestyle modification. Written by a cancer survivor who is a doctor and scientist, the information provided is based on sound scientific evidence. Topics include: stress reduction, anticancer foods, sugar, vitamin D, and much more. This book will help provide real world tools to change diet and lifestyle to help during and after cancer treatment.
7. Let Me Get This Off My Chest: A Breast Cancer Survivor Over-Shares by Margaret Lesh
Lesh, a breast cancer survivor, helps patients with a breast cancer diagnosis find the humor in the experience with her book of essays. This light-hearted approach to a heavy subject provides information, reflection, and hope. When patients tire of books on coping, treatments, and procedures this is the perfect book to pick up for understanding and a relatable laugh in the face of this terrible disease.
What books have helped you or your loved one navigate a breast cancer diagnosis?
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Featured image via National Breast Cancer Foundation