Advanced cancer reading list | Cancer Research UK
Cancer Research UK on Google+ Cancer Research UK on Facebook Cancer Research UK on Twitter

Advanced cancer reading list

Coping with cancer

This page gives details of books and leaflets about advanced cancer and dying. You may also find details of helpful books on our general cancer reading list. On this page there is information about books and leaflets


For people who have advanced cancer

The complete guide to relieving cancer pain and suffering
Richard B Patt
Oxford University Press, 2004
ISBN 0-195135-01-6

Written to help people with cancer and their close friends and family make decisions about living with cancer and managing symptoms. Some sections are specific to the US. But it is still helpful for people in the UK.

We need to talk about the funeral: 101 practical ways to commemorate and celebrate a life
J Morrell, S Smith
Accent Press 2007
ISBN-10 1906125015  

This practical guide talks about the choices available when arranging a funeral. It covers all aspects of planning a service and creating a ceremony that both commemorates and celebrates a life, and provides comfort, inspiration, and good memories.

Dying well: a holistic guide for the dying and their carers
Richard Reoch
Gaia books, London
ISBN: 1-85675-019-1

This guide shows how openness, advance planning and the use of complementary therapies can benefit dying people. It covers therapies, exercises and perspectives on death, emotions, attitudes and intimate needs. An extensive resources section tells readers where to find more help and support.

Booklets available from Macmillan Cancer Support

  • Practical help in advanced cancer (available in audio tape and Braille)
  • When someone with cancer is dying
  • Emotional support in advanced cancer
  • Coping with advanced cancer

If you are caring for someone with advanced cancer

Caring for someone at a distance
Julie Spencer-Cignoz
Age Concern books, 2nd revised edition 2003
ISBN-10  0862423678

Has information and practical advice for people caring for someone who lives some distance away. Has information on keeping in touch, financial support, and caring for physical and emotional needs.

Booklets available from Macmillan Cancer Support

  • Help with the cost of cancer: a guide to benefits and financial help for people affected by cancer
  • Caring for someone with advanced cancer

About dying with cancer

End of life: the facts
Macmillan Cancer Support and Marie Curie Cancer Care
Helps patients and carers to know what to expect when someone nears the end of life. Covers being looked after at home, the last few weeks and days, nearing death, and care after death. Covers practical and emotional issues. Available from Marie Curie Cancer Care. 2011

The Natural Death Handbook (4th and 5th editions)
These books have comprehensive information about arranging funerals, and working with funeral directors to get the best care. They cover preparing for dying and caring for a dying person, drawing up a will, living wills and memory boxes.The 5th edition contains more detailed information and includes essays on dying by various well-known authors. Available from the Natural Death Centre.

Meetings at the edge: dialogues with the grieving and dying, the healing and the healed
Stephen Levine
Gateway, 2002
ISBN 0-717133-41-9

Sensitively explores all aspects and issues of death. Especially the feelings and emotions people may have and how to deal with them.

Mind of clear light: advice on dying and living well
His Holiness the Dalai Lama
Pocket Books, 2004
ISBN 0-743244-699-9

Discusses how to approach death as a natural part of life. It is written in a warm, humorous and sensitive style.

Beyond fear
Dorothy Rowe
Harper Perennial, 2007
ISBN 0-007246-59-5

This book discusses fear of loss, bereavement, old age and death, and has guidance on how to work with fear. Written by a psychologist.

Available from Macmillan Cancer Support

  • End of life care: a guide



About caring for someone dying of cancer

Caring for someone who is dying (Carer's handbook)
Penny Mares
Age Concern Books, revised 3rd edition 2003
ISBN-10 0862423708

Combines practical information about money and legal matters with coping with the illness and issues of grief and bereavement. Talks about the role of hospitals, hospices and community cancer care teams. Has some carer’s stories.

I don’t know what to say: how to help and support someone who is dying
Robert Buckman
Britnell Books, 2nd edition 2000
ISBN-10 1550130927

Helps family, carers and friends support and care for a dying person. Discusses how to talk and listen and outlines the dying process.

Caring for dying people of different faiths
Julia Neuberger
Radcliffe Publishing Ltd, 2004
ISBN 1-857759-45-1

A helpful, practical book that discusses the issues that arise when looking after people from different faiths and cultures. Looks at Jewish, Islamic, Hindu and Buddhist faiths.


About coping after someone has died

What to do after a death in England and Wales
Department of work and pensions, January 2013
Ref: DWP1027
Can be ordered from the Department of work and pensions website.

What to do when someone dies (2012 edition)
Paul Harris
Which? Essential guides
ISBN 9818844901272

Covers the law and describes issues you need to be aware of. Has a list of useful addresses. Can be ordered directly from the Which website or from 0800 252100

Death and bereavement across cultures
Colin Murray-Parkes
Routledge, 1996
ISBN 0-415131-37-5

Discusses beliefs about death and mourning and how people use ritual to cope with death.

Wills and probate (2012 edition)
Paul Elmhurst (editor)
Which? Consumer guides
ISBN 9781844901333

Covers the law and issues you need to be aware of when dealing with wills and probate. Also discusses what happens if there is no will. Can be ordered directly from the Which website or from 0800 252100.

Facing grief: bereavement and the young adult
Susan Wallbank
Lutterworth Press, 1991
ISBN 0-718828-07-0

A book to support any young person dealing with bereavement.

Healing grief: a guide to loss and recovery
Barbara Ward
Vermilion, 1993
ISBN 0-091778-39-2

Discusses how people deal with bereavement in different ways and how to cope. Has a section on the effects of loss on children and how to support them.

Royal Society of Psychiatrists
This sensitively written booklet discusses adult bereavement in a light-hearted way. Available from the Royal Society of psychiatrists.

The empty bed: bereavement and the loss of love
Susan Wallbank
Darton, Longman and Todd, 2010
ISBN 10: 0232526397

Covers the death of a partner and the effects this has. Looks from the point of view of various groups of people.

What on earth do you do when someone dies?
Trevor Romain
Free Spirit publishing, 2003
ISBN 1-575420-55-4

Describes the emotions people have after the death of a close friend or relative and advises how to cope.

The bereaved parent
Harriet Sarnoff Schiff
Souvenir Press, 1979
ISBN 0-285648-91-8

A sensitively written book that discusses all the issues that affect parents who have lost a child. Contains many personal accounts.

Straight talk about death from teenagers: how to cope with losing someone you love
E Grollman
Beacon Press, 1993
ISBN 0-807025-01-1

Discusses how to talk about and cope with grief after the death of a close friend or relative.


If you want to recommend a book

Please contact us on our feedback form if you would like to recommend a book that you have found helpful. It helps us if you include the title, author, publisher's name and year, and ISBN number.

Rate this page:
Submit rating


Rated 5 out of 5 based on 2 votes
Rate this page
Rate this page for no comments box
Please enter feedback to continue submitting
Send feedback
Question about cancer? Contact our information nurse team

No Error

Updated: 14 March 2014