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Dealing with a cancer diagnosis, treatment or long-term survival issues can sometimes be overwhelming or confusing. If you're an adult patient or the caregiver of an adult patient, there are books that can help you find ways to better manage your new responsibilities. Browse the list below for books that can help you cope.

Suggested Reading - The Big Ordeal

The Big Ordeal: Understanding and Managing the Psychological Turmoil of Cancer by Cynthia Hayes
River Grove Books, February 2021, 264 pages
ISBN 978-1-63299-335-9 Print
ISBN 978-1-63299-336-6 eBook


Nothing can truly prepare you for the emotional rollercoaster of a cancer diagnosis, but The Big Ordeal will help you anticipate and respond to the psychological turmoil ahead. Written by a cancer survivor with the help of a psychotherapist and two oncologists, The Big Ordeal presents the typical emotional experience, illustrated by patient and caregiver stories. The book explains the science behind those emotions, helping you understand why you feel the way you do, and offers advice on how to cope. The book is based on interviews with over 100 patients, caregivers, oncologists, neuroscientists, and other experts.

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Suggested Reading - CAR T-Cell Therapy: What to Expect

CAR T-Cell Therapy: What to Expect Before, During and After by Susan K. Stewart
Published by Blood & Marrow Transplant Information Network, 2020, 26 Pages
ISBN 978-1-7337268-4-9

CAR T-cell therapy is an exciting new treatment currently approved by the U. S. Food and Drug Administration for patients with certain types of lymphoma or acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL). Researchers are studying whether it can help other cancer patients as well.  If you are considering CAR T-cell therapy, this easy-to-read colorful booklet will help you understand what to expect when going through treatment.

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Suggested Reading - When Blood Breaks Down

When Blood Breaks Down - Life Lessons from Leukemia by Mikkael A. Sekeres, MD
MIT Press, April 2020, Hardcover, 328 Pages
ISBN: 9780262043724

In When Blood Breaks Down, Dr. Mikkael Sekeres, a leading cancer specialist, takes readers on a journey that patient and doctor travel together.  Sekeres tells the compelling stories of three people who receive diagnoses of adult leukemia within hours of each other: Joan, a 48-year-old surgical nurse, a caregiver who becomes a patient; David, a 68-year-old former factory worker who bows to his family's wishes and pursues the most aggressive treatment; and Sarah, a 36-year-old pregnant woman who must decide whether to undergo chemotherapy and put her fetus at risk. We join the intimacy of the conversations Sekeres has with his patients, and watch as he teaches trainees. Along the way, Sekeres also explores leukemia in its different forms and the development of drugs to treat it—describing, among many other fascinating details, the invention of the bone marrow transplant and a treatment that targets the genetics of leukemia. The lessons to be learned from leukemia, Sekeres shows, are not merely medical; they teach us about courage and grace and defying the odds.

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Suggested Reading - Braving Chemo

Braving Chemo: What to Expect, How to Prepare, and How to Get Through It by Beverly A. Zavaleta, MD
Sugar Plum Press LLC, November 2019, Paperback, 240 pages
ISBN: 978-1-7334565-0-0

In Braving Chemo, Harvard-educated physician and cancer survivor Beverly A. Zavaleta MD combines her medical expertise with a survivor’s insight to provide practical advice for both chemotherapy patients and cancer caregivers. This book will give you clear answers to your most urgent questions, such as: what to eat; how prevent nausea; and how to face tough feelings like fear of dying.  Braving Chemo is a valuable resource about what to expect during chemo, how to minimize the side effects, and how to live life as normally as possible when life itself is on the line.

Author’s website:

Suggested Reading - Hundred Percent Chance

Hundred Percent Chance: A Memoir by Robert K. Brown
3/3 Press 2019, 273 Pages, Paperback or Kindle
ISBN: 9781733159005

Hundred Percent Chance: A Memoir is a raw and realistic memoir about a young college student who was diagnosed with Acute Myeloid Leukemia in 1990 while he was studying abroad in Lancaster, England – halfway across the world from his home in Seattle.  From battling life-threatening symptoms during a rushed, emergency departure from England, through multiple rounds of chemotherapy and complications over the next eight months, this moving, page-turning story will remind you to make the most of every day.

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Suggested Reading - Sending

Sending - An Athlete Confronting Cancer by Jennifer Erin Pinkus and Dorrance Publishing, 2018
ISBN: 978-0-36-803943-0 Softcover, 178 Pages
ISBN: 978-1-6470-2653-0 Ebook

SENDING is a generic term for successfully completing a vertical rock or ice climb. Jennifer Erin Pinkus approached her struggle against cancer with the determination and emotional strength she used when tackling the most challenging mountain.  When Jen received a diagnosis of lymphoma, she decided to start a daily journal describing her experience with hair loss, “chemo brain,” metallic tastes and insurance coverage. Her talent for using the written word in prose and poetry to describe coping with this horrific illness is raw and honest. It shows Jen’s courage as she faces her fears, the unknown and finally death.

Suggested Reading - Graft-versus-Host Disease: What to Know, What to Do

Graft-versus-Host Disease: What to Know, What to Do
Published by Blood & Marrow Transplant Information Network (2018)
42 Pages - Available in English and Spanish​

Graft-versus-host disease (GVHD) is a complication that often occurs after a transplant using cells from a donor (an allogeneic transplant).  This booklet will help you understand the symptoms of GVHD, the organs it can affect, treatment options and steps you can take to minimize the impact of GVHD on your daily life.

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Suggested Reading - My Journey with Leukemia: The Power of Family, Faith, and Humor

My Journey with Leukemia: The Power of Family, Faith, and Humor By Jennifer Venegas
​Published by Outskirts Press, 2018, 175 pages
ISBN: 978-1-4787-7904-9

This book outlines the personal journey of 45 year old Jennifer Venegas who was diagnosed with Ph-positive Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia.  Jennifer chronicles her daily experience as she undergoes chemotherapy and an allogeneic transplant, then deals with Graft vs Host Disease (GVHD).  From a faith-based perspective, she describes the realities of managing her treatment, her changing roles, and the financial impact of her cancer diagnosis.

Suggested Reading - Living with Cancer - A Step-by-Step Guide for Coping Medically and Emotionally with a Serious Diagnosis

Living with Cancer - A Step-by-Step Guide for Coping Medically and Emotionally with a Serious Diagnosis by Vicki A. Jackson, MD, MPH, David P. Ryan, MD and Michelle D. Seaton.
Johns Hopkins University Press, 2017, 351 pages
ISBN 1421422328 Hardcover (also available in paperback and e-book)

Doctors Vicki A. Jackson and David P. Ryan have crafted a step-by-step guide aimed at helping people with cancer grasp what’s happening to them while coping physically and emotionally with treatment.  It is a practical, easy to read and comprehensive reference covering everything from understanding one’s diagnosis to managing symptoms and side effects and dealing with end of life concerns.

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Suggested Reading - Your Brain After Chemo: A Practical Guide to Lifting the Fog and Getting Back Your Focus

Your Brain After Chemo: A Practical Guide to Lifting the Fog and Getting Back Your Focus by Dan Silverman, MD, PhD and Idelle Davidson
Da Capo Press, 2010, 284 pages
ISBN-13: 978-0-7382-1391-0

Chemotherapy saves lives, but new studies-including research led by coauthor Dr. Dan Silverman-reveal that the agents used to kill cancer cells may also impair normal brain function. If you've undergone chemotherapy, perhaps you feel like you?ve lost your edge or that you?re no longer the person you once were. Until recently, oncologists often discounted or trivialized "chemo brain." But the authors present plenty of evidence to the contrary; thankfully, you can rest assured that you?re not alone in feeling this way-and that you can do something about it. Calling on cutting-edge scientific research and the inspiring stories of survivors (including Davidson's own experiences with chemotherapy and its effects), this easy-to-read book will forever change how you think about your brain after chemo. Perhaps most important, it offers much-needed strategies to improve memory and focus, and an invaluable nine-step program to help keep your brain sharp. Your Brain after Chemo gives you the coping skills to move on with your life.