Noteworthy cancer-related books

285 PrescribedReadPrescribed Reading

By Diana Price

 

Confronting Hereditary Breast and Ovarian Cancer: Identify Your Risk, Understand Your Options, Change Your Destiny

By Sue Friedman, DVM; Rebecca Sutphen, MD; and Kathy Steligo

(Johns Hopkins University Press, 2012)

Media discussions related to genetic testing and related treatment raise many questions for women about these complex topics. Confronting Hereditary Breast and Ovarian Cancer serves as a valuable resource for anyone with questions about hereditary risk.

The authors provide in-depth background about breast and ovarian cancer and a thorough and insightful presentation of risk assessment, screening, risk management strategies, reconstruction, and long-term considerations for those at increased risk. The combination of clinical information and personal stories from women who have experienced various aspects of hereditary cancer risk provides an accessible and informative read of real value to women considering these issues.

 

 

Snowman on the Pitcher’s Mound

By Jamie Reno

(pitchersmound.org)

Tyler Paulson, age 10, is facing some really tough news: his mom has cancer. This, he tells us, just as he is beginning to come to terms with his grandfather’s passing two years earlier: “I was just finally accepting the fact that my grampa was really gone, and now I had to face the fact that my mom might leave me too.”

Jamie Reno’s novel Snowman on the Pitcher’s Mound tells the story of Tyler’s journey as he learns to navigate the tough terrain of uncertainty, fear, and sadness that he encounters in the wake of his mother’s illness and as he continues to mourn the loss of his grandfather. As he interacts with family, friends, teachers, and coaches—and returns time and again to his sacred space, the baseball field—we see Tyler process his feelings and grow to more fully understand himself and the world around him.

Snowman on the Pitcher’s Mound is a unique and honest portrayal of a young boy’s experience with illness and loss that provides valuable insight for kids and families facing a cancer diagnosis. Though the book is a work of fiction, by creating a storyline that shows Tyler accessing valuable resources and sharing his emotions with people he trusts, Reno provides young readers (and their parents) with a welcome road map for navigating through this challenging time.

 

 

 

The Tiffany Box: A Memoir

By Kathleen Buckstaff

(Two Dolphin Productions, 2013)

 

Kathleen Buckstaff’s memoir, The Tiffany Box, offers a glimpse into the common and bittersweet experience of balancing motherhood with the passing of one’s own parent—that time when new life and young life converge with the end of life, accompanied by all the intensity, heartbreak, and joy those events entail.

Buckstaff, a journalist, playwright, and performance artist, presents her story through a collection of e-mails and newspaper columns she authored during a seven-year period wherein she realized professional success through the publication of a regular column in the Los Angeles Times, gave birth to her third child, and saw her mother, Francie, diagnosed with cancer that ultimately claimed her life. The mix of published columns and personal e-mails show us both the big picture of this period in the author’s life and the meaningful details that engage the reader and produce an intimate portrait of family life saturated in love and loss.

 

 

 

How to Be a Friend to a Friend Who’s Sick

By Letty Cottin Pogrebin

(Public Affairs, 2013)

What do you say to a friend who has been diagnosed with cancer? How can you best comfort someone whose spouse has died? What is the most meaningful way to help a friend who is a caregiver? Chances are, if you haven’t already been in the position to ask these questions, you will someday find yourself in need of the answers.

After her own diagnosis of and treatment for breast cancer, journalist, author, and political activist Letty Cottin Pogrebin embarked on creating a guide to help people provide comfort and respond in the most effective way to friends undergoing health challenges and loss. The result, How to Be a Friend to a Friend Who’s Sick, benefits from Pogrebin’s extensive interviews with patients and their families, as well as her own experiences, and offers readers practical, thoughtful insight to ensure meaningful communication throughout a journey with illness and grief.

 

 

 

Pale Girl Speaks: A Year Uncovered

By Hillary Fogelson

(Seal Press, 2012)

Hillary Fogelson’s memoir, Pale Girl Speaks, takes the reader along through the intense year that followed the author’s initial diagnosis with malignant melanoma at age 25 (she has since been diagnosed twice more). A former actress, Fogelson initially considered creating a play about her experiences but ultimately decided to write a memoir. Not surprising, the resulting book is constructed in a format that is part play script and part internal monologue, bringing the reader into an engaging, intimate relationship with the author as she confronts the challenges that accompany the diagnosis.

The tone of the book is authentic and funny, conveying Fogelson’s broad range of experiences and interactions in a way that truly makes you feel you’re in the room or in her head as she moves through the year. From a record of the phone call when she first hears of the diagnosis; to conversations with her husband, parents, friends, and doctors; to her thoughts about the necessity of postponing her pregnancy plans, her anxiety over test results, and the ongoing uncertainty she faces, she shares a very personal story in an accessible and entertaining way.

 

 

How to Be a Friend to a Friend Who’s Sick

By Letty Cottin Pogrebin

(Public Affairs, 2013)

What do you say to a friend who has been diagnosed with cancer? How can you best comfort someone whose spouse has died? What is the most meaningful way to help a friend who is a caregiver? Chances are, if you haven’t already been in the position to ask these questions, you will someday find yourself in need of the answers.

After her own diagnosis of and treatment for breast cancer, journalist, author, and political activist Letty Cottin Pogrebin embarked on creating a guide to help people provide comfort and respond in the most effective way to friends undergoing health challenges and loss. The result, How to Be a Friend to a Friend Who’s Sick, benefits from Pogrebin’s extensive interviews with patients and their families, as well as her own experiences, and offers readers practical, thoughtful insight to ensure meaningful communication throughout a journey with illness and grief.

 

 

And in Health: A Guide for Couples Facing Cancer Together

By Dan Shapiro, PhD

(Trumpeter Books, 2013)

 

Psychologist Dan Shapiro’s And in Health reflects the author’s unique perspective as a cancer survivor, a caregiver, and a health psychologist with 25 years of clinical experience working with cancer patients and their partners. Dr. Shapiro’s ability to discuss the issues that couples face when a cancer diagnosis enters the picture from so many different angles and with such a depth of experience results in a guide that is rich in clinical expertise and patients’ personal experiences.

With each chapter and topic, the author speaks to the couple as a team while acknowledging their individual needs and perspectives, providing readers with insight into how to cope with the issue together and offering a glimpse into the partner’s experience. The result is a guide that provides a valuable mix of practical advice and meaningful insight into the emotional journey that a couple embarks on following a cancer diagnosis.