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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 and Susan S Lang
Oxford University Press, 2006
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.

The good funeral guide: Everything you need to know
Charles Cowling
Bloomsbury Publishing, 2010
ISBN 1441133224

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, 1997
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

For carers

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 (5th edition)
Natural Death Centre Staff, 2012
ISBN 1907222057

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
Knopf Doubleday Publishign Group, 2010
ISBN 030777368X

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 and Jeffery Hopkins
Atria 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 (20th anniversary edition)
Dorothy Rowe
Harper Perennial, 2011
ISBN 000736914X

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
Key Porter Books, 20005
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 (3rd edition)
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, March 2016
Department of work and pensions website

What to do when someone dies
Paul Harris
Which? Essential guides, 2009
ISBN 1844900711

Covers the law and describes issues you need to be aware of. Has a list of useful addresses.

Death and bereavement across cultures: Second edition
Colin Murray-Parkes, Pittu Laungani and William Young
Taylor and Francis Book TD, 2015
ISBN 1317520920

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

Succession, Wills and probate (3rd edition)
Caroline Sawyer and Miriam Spero
Routledge, 2015
ISBN 1317479696

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.

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, 2005
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, 2009
ISBN 144297334X

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
Crown/Archetype, 2012
ISBN 0307817377

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 for teenagers: how to cope with losing someone you love
E Grollman
Beacon Press, 2014
ISBN 0807095702

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


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Updated: 13 May 2016