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Coping with cancer reading list

Coping with cancer

This page tells you about books, leaflets and other resources that can help you to cope with the symptoms of cancer. They are available from cancer organisations, bookshops, your local library or your GP's surgery. There is information about


Books from libraries, bookshops or online booksellers

You can find a list of books about cancer, treatments, and living with cancer on our general reading list.

Everyone's Guide to Cancer Therapy (5th edition)
Andrew H Ko, Malin Dollinger and Ernest H Rosenbaum
Publishers: Andrews McMeel Publishing, 2008
ISBN: 978-0740768576
This book covers how cancer is diagnosed, treated, and managed day to day.

100 Questions and Answers about Cancer Symptoms and Cancer Treatment Side Effects (2nd edition)
Joanne Frankel Kelvin and Leslie B Tyson
Publishers: Jones and Bartlett Publishing, 2010
ISBN: 978-0763777609
An American book which gives both doctor’s and patient’s views on coping with the symptoms of cancer and the side effects of treatment. It has information about treatment for pain, nausea, tiredness, and other symptoms.

100 Questions and Answers about Caring for family or friends with Cancer (2nd edition)
Susannah Rose and Richard Hara
Publishers: Jones and Bartlett Publishing, 2009
ISBN: 978-0763762575
An American book which gives information about caring for someone with cancer, including how to support them when they have symptoms or side effects.

How to eat well when you have cancer
Jane Freeman
Sheldon Press, 2012
ISBN: 978-1-84709-141-3

Written by a cancer dietician, this is a practical nutritional handbook for people with cancer. Filled with helpful tips and recipes.

Complete Guide to Nutrition for Cancer Patients: Eating Well, Staying Well During and After Cancer (2nd edition)
Abby Bloch, Barbara Grant, Kathryn Hamilton and Cynthia Thomson
Publisher: American Cancer Society, 2009
ISBN: 978-0944235782
An American book, but most of the information is relevant to the UK. It covers issues such as preventing weight loss and coping with dehydration, fatigue, and infection. It also discusses eating problems and digestion issues, such as swallowing problems, feeling sick and dealing with mouth sores. Focuses on survivorship and how to eat well after treatment.

The Mindful Way through Depression
Mark Williams, John Teasdale, Zindel Segal, and Jon Kabat-Zinn
Publisher: The Guilford Press, 2007
ISBN: 978-1-59385-128-6
An American book, but 2 of the authors are British researchers who are helping to promote mindfulness based cognitive therapy courses for people experiencing stress and depression in the UK. A CD of guided meditations is included with the book.

Lymphoedema: Advice on Self-management and Treatment
Peter Mortimer and Jacqueline Todd
Beaconsfield Publishers Ltd (2007)
ISBN-10: 0906584590


Booklets and factsheets from other organisations

Booklets and CDs available from Macmillan Cancer Support

Examples include

  • Managing breathlessness
  • Relax and breathe CD
  • Controlling cancer pain 
  • Controlling the symptoms of cancer
  • Coping with hair loss
  • Coping with fatigue
  • Healthy eating and cancer
  • How are you feeling? The emotional effects of cancer
  • Understanding cancer research trials (clinical trials)
  • Understanding lymphoedema

From the British Pain Society

  • Managing Cancer Pain – information for patients
  • Help the Aged – Pain in Older People: Reflections and Experiences from an older person's perspective
  • Intrathecal drug delivery systems for treating pain and spasticity – information for patients
  • Managing pain effectively using over the counter (OTC) medicines
  • Pain management programmes for adults – information for patients
  • Pain and problem drug use – information for patients
  • Spinal Cord Stimulation for pain – information for patients
  • Use of medicines outside of their UK marketing authorisation in pain management and palliative medicine – information for patients
  • Opioid medicines for persistent pain – information for patients
  • Understanding and Managing Pain

From the Rarer Cancers Forum

  • Turning it Around – Cancer and Nutrition (DVD)

From My name is NOT cancer

  • My name is NOT cancer – a leaflet which aims to help people understand a little of what it is like to have cancer and to attempt to not be defined by it

From the Lymphoedema Support Network

Information leaflets:

  • Teenage lymphoedema
  • Early childhood lymphoedema
  • Lipoedema
  • Head, face and neck lymphoedema
  • Genital lymphoedema
  • Management of oedema in advancing disease
  • Multi layer lymphoedema bandaging (MLLB)
  • Emotional and social aspects of lymphoedema
  • The use of KinesioTape in lymphoedema management
  • Management of cellulitis in lymphoedema
  • Skin care
  • Healthy eating
  • Recreational exercise with lymphoedema
  • Holidays and travel
  • Reducing the risk of lower limb lymphoedema
  • Swollen feet and legs
  • The use of compression garments in lymphoedema management
  • Manual drainage for people with lymphoedema
  • What is cellulitis
  • General information about lymphoedema
  • Reducing the risk of upper limb lymphoedema
  • Breast and truncal oedema
  • Coping with lymphoedema following a mastectomy or lumpectomy
  • Lymphoedema associated with chronic venous insufficiences
  • Diuretics and lymphoedema

And DVDs

  • Self management techniques for arm lymphoedema
  • Self management techniques for leg lymphoedema

From Breast Cancer Care

  • Living with lymphoedema after breast cancer (BCC5)



Books about sex and cancer

Sexual Health – The Practical Guide to Sexual Health and Enjoyment 
Dr Ian Banks
J H Haynes & Co Ltd, 2009
ISBN 1 844 258  084
Written by a doctor, this book includes information on health problems that may affect your sex life. Written with humour and compassion.

Relationships, sex and fertility for young people affected by cancer
Macmillan Cancer Support
This booklet offers information to young people about all aspects of sex and relationships and discusses the effects of cancer treatment on fertility. It also has coping strategies and options for fertility treatment in people whose fertility is affected.
Available free to people affected by cancer from Macmillan Cancer Support by calling 0808 500 800.

Sexuality and intimacy for cancer patients and their partners

Sexual Advice Association
This booklet aims to help cancer patients and their partners understand sexual difficulties that may happen after cancer and ways of overcoming them. Available on the Sexual Advice Association website.

Intimacy After Cancer – A woman’s guide
Dr Sally Kydd and Dana Rowett
Big Think Media, 2006
ISBN 0 9788108 0 5
This American book has information about sexuality after a diagnosis of cancer and its treatment. It includes information about how you may feel and offers some helpful solutions in maintaining or regaining intimate relationships. As an American book it is only available from online book suppliers.


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Updated: 5 May 2016