Recommended Books

We have assembled a list of recommended books on the subject of cancer, caregiving and other topics related to women and cancer. Breast Friends does not mean to imply the endorsement of any of these books. If you would like to make a recommendation, please e-mail us.

Breast Friends Co-Founders’ Stories:

The Hat That Saved My Life: A Story of Surviving Breast Cancer Olson, Becky Portland, OR, Classic Day/Peanut Butter Publishing: Copyright 2004, 2007

Explore this journey of a 3 time breast cancer survivor and co-founder of Breast Friends, a national network dedicated to helping women through their battle with breast cancer. Filled with humor and life stories, you will be sure to find inspiration. Now available on Amazon for Kindle.

How We Became Breast Cancer Thrivers – Free E-book by Beverly Vote, Publisher of the Breast Cancer Wellness Magazine.

Beverly and 44 of her breast cancer thriving friends now living with conviction, clarity, passion, and purpose share their stories. With stories from Co-Founders: Sharon Henifin, Thriving Beyond Cancer, Chapter 24, Pg. 123 and Becky Olson, Don’t Spare the China, Chapter 36, Pg 171.

GPS for Success, (Goals and Proven Strategies) from Industry Experts Covey,Dr Stephen., et al.

Co-founder of Breast Friends Sharon Henifin is a contributing author with her chapter about Transitions.

Other Recommended Books:

A Caregiver’s Challenge: Living Loving Letting Go Schacht, Maryann. Santa Rosa, CA: Feterson Press, 2005. ISBN: 0976414007

The author of this book is a cancer survivor herself. She delves into the realm of coping with cancer from a caregiver’s perspective. Topics are highlighted with important ideas and concepts to consider when dealing with a person who is living with cancer. She helps to remove the taboo of exploring emotions and the secrecy of medical conditions, and sheds light on basic approaches for alleviating pain and nausea. The author provides an easy format for laying out financial assets, expenses, and income; as well as providing a format for legal documents, such as medical power of attorney, living wills, and last will and testaments.

A Healing Journey: Writing Together Through Breast Cancer Bray, Sharon. Amherst, Mass.: Amherst Writers & Artists Press, 2004. ISBN: 0941895297.

This book is a moving account of a program designed to help women with breast cancer express their humanity by writing about their experiences as a group. The author describes her profound experiences with an amazing group of women dealing with the diagnosis and treatment of breast cancer. As a breast cancer survivor, the author has intimate and detailed first-hand knowledge of what a woman goes through after that dreadful diagnosis is made.

A Spiritual Journey through Breast Cancer Asti, Judy. Northfield Publishing, 2002. ISBN: 1881273350.

This book is a personal account of the author’s experience with breast cancer and how her faith helped her through difficult times and in defeating the disease.

Anatomy of the Spirit: Seven Stages of Power and Healing Myss, Carolyne; PhD.

Based on fifteen years of research into energy medicine, Dr. Myss’s work shows how every illness corresponds to a pattern of emotional and psychological stresses, beliefs, and attitudes that have influenced corresponding areas of the human body.

Anticancer: A New Way of Life Servan-Schrieber, David.

David Servan-Schreiber’s story of his journey from cancer patient to health combines memoir with a clear scientific explanation of what makes cancer cells thrive and what inhibits them. Anticancer is filled with easy to understand charts and diagrams and a sixteen-page color “Anticancer Action” insert that enables readers to make small but essential changes in lifestyle and diet. Your body knows how to fight cancer, says Servan-Schreiber, and you have to help it with nutrition, physical exercise, stress management, and avoiding environmental toxins. Anticancer enables people living with cancer to adopt a proactive attitude to living, even thriving, with cancer and helps healthy people prevent it.

Assess Your True Risk of Breast Cancer Kelly, Patricia T. New York: Henry Holt and Company, 2000. ISBN: 0805064680.

This book is a guide to assessing your risk for breast cancer. It conveys complicated breast cancer statistics in an understandable form and provides options for genetic testing. It also gives you the tools you need to make an informed decision about your rights and options as a woman confronting the issue of breast cancer.

Be a Survivor: Your Guide to Breast Cancer Treatment Lange, Vladimire; MD. LosAngeles, CA: Lange Productions, Ninth printing 2014. ISBN: 978-0-9819489-0-4.

The book is organized in the sequence that mirrors your path through treatment and recovery. First there are suggestions on how to cope, then an overview of breast cancer treatment. The majority of the book consists of detailed description of the various procedures and treatments you may encounter. The book will also help you make a smooth transition from treatment to recovery, both emotionally and physically.

Beauty & Cancer: Looking and Feeling Your Best Noyes, Diane Doan, and  Mellody, Peggy. Taylor Publishing, 1992. ISBN: 0878338098.

A handbook designed to help women improve their appearance and levels of comfort both during and after cancer therapies.

Before I Say Goodbye: Recollections and Observations from One Woman’s Final Year Picardie, Ruth. New York: Henry Holt and Company, 2000. ISBN: 0805066128.

Being a journalist, it was a natural thing for Ruth Picardie to write about her rapid spread of breast cancer. Her emails and columns describe her diagnosis of Stage III breast cancer. Letters from readers shared their sorrow over her situation and words of encouragement from their own battles with cancer or the loss of a loved one. There are funny parts to this book, too, such as her new interest in body maintenance, makeup and clothes.

Beyond Breast Cancer: Our Stories of Hope and Courage Ellis, Alda. Eugene, Ore.: Harvest House Publishers, 2002. ISBN: 0736908595.

This book is about how breast cancer survivors deal with their breast cancer. Each story is different in how each one lived their life and how breast cancer became the center of attention.

Breast Cancer: A Family Survival Guide Penderson, Lucille M., and Janet M. Trigg. Bergin and Garvey, 1995. ISBN: 0897894383.

This book is a helpful guide to detecting breast cancer, dealing with it physically and emotionally, and surviving it. Issues such as insurance, physical changes, family stress, recovery and death are discussed in language for the general reader.

Breast Cancer Answers: Practical Tips and Personal Advice From a Survivor King, Judith. Franklin Lakes, NJ: The Career Press, Inc., 2004. ISBN: 1564147576.

This book tells you how to deal with work concerns, insurance and relational issues, special nutritional and emotional needs, and side effects of treatments. Topics are addressed that some patients may be embarrassed to discuss with their doctor or even with a best friend, such as depression and changes in sexuality. The author has written the book she wishes had been available to her—one that will help breast cancer patients understand the ins and outs of a wide variety of procedures and stages of the journey, as well as where to look for help within and outside traditional medicine.

Breast Cancer: Daughters Tell Their Stories Oktay, Julianne S. Binghamton, NY: The Haworth Press, Inc., 2005. ISBN-13: 9780789014511.

This book presents the results of a qualitative, grounded theory study of breast cancer survivors, providing in-depth information about an aspect of breast cancer that has been previously overlooked. The author presents eight years of extensive research on the effects that young mothers with breast cancer can have on their daughters. This book is an overview of how the study was conducted, as well as personal accounts of 41 adult women who shared their experiences during their mothers’ illnesses.

Breast Cancer? Let Me Check My Schedule! Cederberg, D, and D. Davidson, J. Edwards, et al. Innovative Medical Education Consortium, Inc., 1997. ISBN: 0813333938.

A compilation of ten professional women meeting the challenges of fitting breast cancer into their very busy lives.

Breast Cancer Survivors’ Club, A Nurse’s Experience Schockney, Lillie. Loveland, Colo.: Real Health Books, 2000: ISBN: 0970460104.

The author has unselfishly given us a very intimate insight into her fight and victory against breast cancer. The reader learns how to cope successfully with a cancer diagnosis. The author documents how a positive outlook, lots of laughter, proper medical care, prayer and faith in God brought her safely through treatment.

Broken Open: Difficult Times Can Help Us Grow Lesser, Elizabeth.

In the more than twenty-five years since she co-founded Omega Institute – now the world’s largest center for spiritual retreat and personal growth -Elizabeth Lesser has been an intimate witness to the ways in which people weather change and transition. In a beautifully crafted blend of moving stories, humorous insights, practical guidance, and personal memoir, she offers tools to help us make the choice we all face in times of challenge: Will we be broken down and defeated, or broken open and transformed? Lesser shares tales of ordinary people who have risen from the ashes of illness, divorce, loss of a job or a loved one – stronger, wiser, and more in touch with their purpose and passion.

Cancer Fitness: Exercise Programs for Patients and Survivors Schwartz, Anna L. New York: Simon & Schuster, 2004. ISBN: 074323801X.

This book is a guide to recovery and fitness for all cancer patients, offering the option of tailoring a program for specific needs. Through exercise, patients will regain some control over their bodies, manage side effects more successfully, and increase the body’s ability to heal. The illustrations provide good examples of the movements, and the author explains how important it is to be proactive in one’s recovery.

Cancer Has Its Privileges: Stories of Hope and Laughter Clifford, Christine. New York: The Berkley Publishing Group, 2002. ISBN: 0399527761.

This book offers hope and inspiration by using humor as a tool to deal with the many challenges of cancer. The author encourages you to find and enjoy the humor in your own life. This book has a gift for blending powerful insights with heartwarming stories and practical advice. Funny, profound, reassuring and inspiring for anyone coping with cancer.

Carlisle Medical Journal Carlisle, Darlene. 2005. ISBN: 0976262819.

The Carlisle Medical Journal is an excellent way to keep track of one’s personal medical history. There are components for each aspect of medical journaling. There is a section on family history, medications, appointments, medical tests, and surgeries/medical procedures. Anyone who wants to keep track of this type of information can benefit from its use. Many times it is hard to keep up with every detail of treatment, scheduling appointments, previous surgeries and procedures, etc. The Carlisle Medical Journal provides a clever way to do that by placing everything at your fingertips. To learn more, visit

Celebrating Life: African American Women Speak Out about Breast Cancer Dunnavant, Sylvia, and Wilson, Nancy . USFI, Inc, 1995. ISBN: 0964321149.

This book captures the personal stories and triumphs of African American women in regards to breast cancer.

Chemo This! Finding Your Balance & Creating a Pathway Through Cancer McBain-Roberts, Patricia. Burnstown, Ontario, Canada: General Store, 2001. ISBN: 18924263375.

The author takes us through her personal battle with breast cancer and discusses what she did that helped her get through the ordeal. She uses her skills as a Certified Human Resources Professional to better understand the different ways people deal with cancer depending on the type of personality they have. A resource section is included in the back of the book. It contains a list of videos, CDs, tapes, products, books, and information about Myers-Briggs Type Indicator.

Chicken Soup for the Soul Healthy Living Series: Breast Cancer Canfield, Jack, et al. Deerfield Beach, Fla.: Health Communications, Inc., 2005. ISBN: 0757302742.

The book is divided into short, easy-to-read sections containing questions to ask the doctor, short stories, and pages reserved to record the reader’s thoughts, feelings and facts. The topics discussed are pertinent to any cancer survivor and include information regarding the discussion of a cancer diagnosis with children, loved ones and physicians. The book focuses on the importance of humor, mind/body focus, coping with change, clinical depression, support groups, healthy eating and fearing the return of cancer.

Confronting the Cow—A Young Family’s Struggle with Breast Cancer, Loss and Rebuilding Donner, C.B. Moonlight Publishing, LLC, 2000. ISBN: 0967963796.

The book focuses on how the children and husband rebuild their lives after the loss of their mom and wife. The children comfort and teach the dad about grieving. After their loss, the father continues to incorporate their mom’s memory into heir daily lives.

 Crazy Sexy Cancer Diet Carr, Kris

A low-fat, vegetarian – or better yet, vegan – program that emphasizes balancing your body’s pH by eating more lush whole foods, low-glycemic fruits, raw veggies, alkalizing green drinks, and super-powered green smoothies.

Crazy Sexy Cancer Survivor Carr, Kris

The companion book to the bestselling Crazy Sexy Cancer Tips (featured on Oprah) pairs even more of cancer cowgirl Kris Carr’s smart, soulful, real advice with space for the reader to “chat back” and record her own experiences and reflections.

Crazy Sexy Cancer Tips Carr, Kris

Lessons learned and advice offered from Carr’s own journey, as well as the experiences of her cancer posse. Full-color photos accompany personal stories and candid revelations in this scrapbook of advice, warnings, and resources for the cancer patient. Chapters cover your changing social life, dating, sex, and appearance; essential health tips on how to boost your immune system; recipes; medical and holistic resources; and information on young survivor support groups

Hopping Roller Coasters Pappas, Rachel

It’s actually about two subjects, one being cancer. But the two subjects tie together. It’s about my daughter and me; we were both diagnosed with bipolar disorder. We had a long, rocky ride. As we were starting to heal I was diagnosed with an aggressive breast cancer with limited treatment options. That’s when the story becomes even more about loving, forgiving, moving forward. Realizing you always have second chances, for as long as you live.

Take Cancer off your Menu Hilda Glickman, BSc (Hons), MA, BPhil, DipION, Cert. Health Prom.

This upbeat book will empower you to take control of your health and enjoy doing it! New medical research has confirmed the existence of protector foods with amazing chemical properties that can change the body into a hostile environment for cancer. This exciting new book introduces you to the ‘protector foods’ you need and explains how to prepare and enjoy them in you every day meals. You’ll discover how to sleep, exercise and avoid pollutants to help prevent breast cancer and make your body healthier and more resistant to this disease.


Books for Children

Angel Kisses. Kelley, Ginny. 2000. ISBN: 0964043425.

A very sweet book that can comfort children who are faced with losing their mother to cancer. Using lambs as the fictional characters, the author writes for very young children about the cancer experience, including getting sick, having treatment (and the loss of hair), not getting better and later dying. Written specifically for young children about dealing with the loss of their mother.

Breast Cancer: Questions & Answers for Young Women. Vogel, Carole. Twenty-First Century Books, 2001. ISBN: 0761318550.

Written for adolescent girls, this book answers questions on breast health and breast cancer. It also offers practical guidance and comfort to teenagers whose mothers are undergoing breast cancer treatment.

Dear Mom, I am Sorry That You Had To Get Brest Cancer. Jackson, Mikayla A. 2003. ISBN: 1553067045.

This book is a personal story and testimony of a young mother, as seen and told through the eyes of her 7-year-old daughter. The book shares with readers young and old the journey of a young mother, her daughter and their family as they experience what it means to live with, and survive breast cancer. The words are spelled as they sound (inventive spelling) and the text is simple and enjoyable for young readers.

Less Than Perfect. Albert, Louise. New York, Holiday House, Inc., 2003. ISBN: 0823416887.

This story of a mother’s breast cancer diagnosis and treatment is told through the eyes of a teenage daughter (15-16). Because she is struggling with her own self-conscious feelings about her changing body, she is unable to support her mother as she knows she should. This book is based on some of the author’s own experience, and she believes that love is the best medicine for health.

Mama’s Going to Heaven Soon. Copeland, Kathe Martin. 2005. ISBN: 0806651229.

This book is a compassionate story written to assist children in talking about the anticipated death of a parent. Readers will begin to process their own feelings as they listen to the children in the story talk about the confusion they feel because their mom is sick, the sadness they feel when they learn that their mom will die, and their questions about what will happen when she dies.

Mom and the Polka-Dot Boo-Boo. Sutherland, Eileen. 2005. ISBN: 1933002131.

This book is an informative and reassuring story that helps families talk about breast cancer. Lovingly written by a mother of two and illustrated by her young daughter, it gently prepares children for what lies ahead in the weeks and months following their mother’s diagnosis.

Mommy Found a Lump Johnson, Nathalie MD

This color illustrated children’s book was designed to help parents explain what a family experiences as a mother goes through the treatment of breast cancer. It presents the process in a non threatening way.

Moms Don’t Get Sick. Brack, Pat. Melius Publishing, Inc., 1990. ISBN: 093760374.

Written by a mother and son, this book describes the feelings they experienced during the mother’s treatment for breast cancer.

Mrs. Biddlebox. Smith, Linda. Harper Collins Publishers, 2002. ISBN: 006-0286903.

This illustrated storybook is about having a bad day during which nothing is going right, and the magical way Mrs. Biddlebox makes it better.

Once Upon A Hopeful Night. Yaffe, Risa. Oncology Nursing Press, 1998. ISBN: 1890504106.

This book does a wonderful job of helping parents who are diagnosed with cancer discuss their illness with their children. A very good guide for establishing open communication about this sensitive subject.

One’s Own Self. Jalazo, Dori. 2003. ISBN: 0971519501.

This book is a story about finding joy and fulfillment in the brief friendships and experiences that touch our lives. The story could be read to a child who may be losing a loved one to breast cancer and needs to hear that it is OK to let that person go.

Our Family Has Cancer, Too! Clifford, Christine. Pfeifer-Hamilton: 1997. ISBN: 1570251444.

Clifford shares her personal childhood experiences about her mother’s breast cancer as well as her own experiences as a mother with breast cancer.

The Paper ChainBlake, C., and E. Blanchard and K. Parkinson. Health Press, 1998. ISBN: 0929173287.

This illustrated storybook for children provides a general understanding of breast cancer for younger children. The book uncovers the feelings of fear and separation children face as their mother undergoes surgery, chemotherapy and radiation.

The Year My Mother Was Bald. Speltz, Ann. Washington, DC: Magination Press, 2003. ISBN: 1557988889.

A month-by-month account of a young girl’s life while her mother battles breast cancer, with emphasis on her feelings during that time.

Tickles Tabitha’s Cancer-Tankerous Mommy. Frahm, Amelia. Nutcracker Publishing Company, 2001. ISBN: 0970575203.

This book covers many serious issues like cancer treatment and its affect on the body and how even the delicate infrastructure of day-to-day family issues between husband, wife and children are changed by cancer.

When Eric’s Mom Fought Cancer
Vigna, Judith. Albert Whitman & Co., 1993. ISBN: 0807588830.

This is a storybook for younger children about a mother who undergoes treatment for breast cancer.

When Mommy Had a Mastectomy. Greenfield, Nancy R. Silver Spring, Md., Bartleby Press, 2005. ISBN: 0910155607.

This book is an insightful story from a child’s perspective about her mother’s breast cancer and how it affects the special hug they share. The book gently introduces a child to breast cancer and states options after mastectomy while being candid about treatment and recovery issues. This book will help encourage discussion between mothers and their children, and thus alleviate some of the fear associated with breast surgery. It also reaches out to women and their families during an emotional and uncertain time in their lives and addresses a critical issue for women faced with breast surgery following cancer.

When Mommy is Sick. Sherkin-Langer, Ferne. Morton Grove, Ill.: Albert Whitman & Company, 1995. ISBN: 0807588946.

This book can help a child express the feelings he may have while his mother is away due to illness. The story portrays a little girl’s experience while her mother is ill and hospitalized.

Where Did Mommy Go? Smith, Brenda Joyce. 2004.

This book is a spiritual tool to help children grow from grief to peace. The story in this book deals with a little girl whose mother has died. Where Did Mommy Go? was written to help children deal with the pain of losing any loved one to death. The main purpose of this book is to comfort children with God’s promise of eternal life. For more information, email: