General reading list - cancer and treatments | Cancer Research UK
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General reading list - cancer and treatments

Men and woman talking about cancer

This page has information about books, booklets and other resources that may be useful to you when you have cancer. We have divided them into the following sections


General books about cancer

The Cancer Manual - Haynes Owner's Workshop Manual 
Dr Ian Banks
J H Haynes & Co Ltd, May 2004
ISBN-13: 978-1844251582

Written by a doctor, the Haynes Cancer manual is an optimistic book, featuring hints and tips for a healthy lifestyle as well as easy to understand information on all cancers affecting men.

Living with Cancer
Jeffrey Tobias, Kay Eaton and Gary Lineker OBE
Bloomsbury, 2001
ISBN-13: 978-0747554103

Follows the BBC TV series of the same name. Covers treatment, side effects and different types of cancer.

The Cancer Survivor's handbook
Dr Terry Priestman
Sheldon Press, 2009
ISBN-13: 978-1847090485

This handbook deals frankly and sensitively with the issues of cure, follow up, treatment side effects and recurrence. It looks at the support available to people who have finished their treatment.

Diagnosing Your Health Symptoms for Dummies
Dr Knut Schroeder
John Wiley & Sons Ltd, 2010
ISBN-13: 978-0470660966

This useful book offers practical and reassuring advice from an experienced GP. It covers everything from basic physical assessments and first aid procedures to advice on spotting both mental and physical health problems (including the symptoms of cancer).


Cancer treatments

Everyone's Guide to Cancer Therapy (revised 5th edition)
Malin Dollinger, Ernest H Rosenbaum and Andrew H Ko
Publishers: Andrews McMeel Publishing, 2008
ISBN-13: 978-0740768576

Covers how cancer is diagnosed, treated and managed day to day.

Coping with Chemotherapy
Dr Terry Priestman
Sheldon Press, 2009
ISBN-13: 978-1847090805

Gives information about chemotherapy, its side effects, and how to cope with them. Also discusses the effect of chemotherapy on everyday life, including tiredness, sex life and fertility, social life, work, holidays, exercise and diet.

Coping with Radiotherapy
Dr Terry Priestman
Sheldon Press, 2007
ISBN-13: 978-0859699990

Gives information about radiotherapy, its side effects, and how to cope with them. Also discusses the effect of radiotherapy on everyday life, including social life, work, travel, exercise and diet.

Booklets and audio CDs available from Macmillan Cancer Support

  • Understanding chemotherapy
  • Understanding radiotherapy
  • Coping with hair loss
  • Coping with fatigue
  • Eating problems and cancer
  • Healthy eating and cancer
  • Physical activity and cancer treatment

These, and a wide range of other booklets and CDs, can be ordered via the Macmillan Cancer Support website. They can also be ordered by phone on 0800 500 800


Living with cancer

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 handbook for people with cancer. Filled with helpful tips and recipes.

Healthier eating and living with cancer
Karen Jung
Granville Island publishing, 2008
ISBN-13: 978-1894694575

The writer's husband had cancer and this book is a compilation of recipes that they created together. The book aims to help people with cancer to incorporate healthy and appetising dishes into their diet. It has tips for meals and snacks to help people maintain their weight whilst on treatment. The book and the measures used are Canadian.

Living Well with Pain and Illness
Vidyamala Burch
Sounds True, 2010
ISBN-13: 978-1591797470

Vidyamala has suffered chronic back pain for more than 30 years. She is the co-founder of Breathworks, an organisation which helps people experiencing chronic pain, illness and stress to manage their condition through meditation, body awareness and creative approaches to living.

The Cancer Survivors Club
Chris Geiger
CKG Ventures Ltd, 2012
ISBN - 13: 9780957412200 

A collection of inspirational and uplifting stories about living with cancer. Each story is written from a personal perspective, giving a very warm, friendly style of writing that is relaxed and sometimes humorous. It can help patients and their relatives feel less alone and isolated as they cope with the cancer and its treatment.


Family, friends and carers reading list

What can I do to help? 75 Practical Ideas for Family and Friends from Cancer's Frontline
Deborah Hutton
Short Books Ltd, 2010 (2nd edition)
ISBN-13: 978-1906021566

Deborah Hutton wrote this from her own experience of cancer. She gives example of ways in which family and friends can help including practical advice and ideas of what to say. It includes contributions from celebrities.

Being a Cancer Patient's Carer: A Guide
Wesley C Finegan
Radcliffe Publishing Ltd, 2005
ISBN-13: 978-1857756388

A good basic guide for anyone caring for somebody with cancer.

Their Cancer, Your Journey: A Traveller's Guide for Carers, Family and Friends
Anne Orchard
Rainbow Heart Publishing, 2008
ISBN-13: 978-0955979705

Anne Orchard has written this following her own experience of supporting a loved one with cancer. With some practical advice, as well as guidance on how to take your own inner journey, she suggests how to deal with this challenge in your life.


Supporting children and young adults

Talking with your children about breast cancer
Mummy's lump
(aimed at younger children)
Breast cancer and your child's school
Breast Cancer Care
These booklets are available free from

What's up with Bridget's mum? Medikidz explain breast cancer
Medical information written by doctors in comic book form at aimed young people between the ages of 8 and 15.
This booklet can be purchased from
Other cancers included in the series are brain tumour, leukaemia, melanoma and osteosarcoma.

My brother or sister has cancer
Family life and cancer
Helping your child to eat
Sport and exercise for children and young people with cancer: A parent's guide
These are just a selection of the  booklets which are free to download from the Children's Cancer and Leukaemia Group website:

Talking to children and teenagers when an adult has cancer
Macmillan Cancer Support (revised 2013)

This free booklet has advice on talking to children, including why, when and how to tell them about cancer. There is also a CD version. This and other booklets for children and young people are available on line at and by freephone 0800 500 800.

There is also a website for teens and young adults:

When someone has a very serious illness: children can learn to cope with loss and change
Marge Heegaard
Woodland Press, 1991
ISBN-13: 978-0962050244

This is an activity book for children aged 6 to 12. It aims to help them to say what they understand about the illness so that adults can give them further relevant information and help them cope

My parent has cancer and it really sucks
Maya Silva and Marc Silva 
Sourcebooks, Inc (29 Mar 2013)
ISBN-13: 978-1402273070

Maya was 16 when her mother was diagnosed with breast cancer. She has written this book with her father in order to help other teengers in a similar position.

Living with Cancer: (Teen's Guides)
ZoAnn Dreyer
Checkmark Books, 2008
ISBN-13: 978-0816075614

A complete guide for teens coping with cancer. It gives real life examples of living with cancer day to day.

Talking to children about terminal illness
How are you feeling? Coping with grief as a teenager 
Questions children may ask about death
Finding the words - how to support children when someone close dies

These booklets may be downloaded from the Marie Curie Cancer Care website or ordered on 0800 716 146. There is also a children and young people's support service.

As big as it gets - supporting a child when someone in their family is seriously il
Julie Stokes
Winston's Wish, 2007
ISBN-13: 978-0953912391

The secret C - straight talking about cancer
Julie Stokes
Winston's Wish, 2009 (2nd revised edition)
ISBN-13: 978-0955953927

Winston's Wish was set up to help bereaved children and young people. These booklets (and others) are available from the online shop at, from £5.95 each. Or you can phone 01242 515157.


Sexuality, fertility and cancer reading list

Haynes Owner’s Workshop Manual Sexual Health: The Practical Guide to Sexual Health and Enjoyment
Dr Ian Banks
J H Haynes & Co Ltd, 2009
ISBN-13: 978-1844258086

Written by a doctor, the Haynes sex manual 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 0800 500 800.

Intimacy After Cancer A woman’s guide
Dr Sally Kydd and Dana Rowett
Big Think Media, 2006
ISBN-13: 978-0978810801

This American book has information about sexuality after a diagnosis of cancer and treatment for it. It includes information about how you may feel and offers some helpful solutions in maintaining or regaining intimate relationships. Available from online book suppliers.


Books for people with learning disabilities

FAIR Multimedia publishes a range of health leaflets, CDs, DVDs and E-booklets specifically designed for people with learning disabilities. These include a series on cancer. You can view on the FAIR website, and order them by downloading FAIR's order form

Getting on with cancer
Veronica Donaghey, Jane Bernal, Irene Tuffney-Wijne and Sheila Hollins.
RCPsych Publications, 2002
ISBN-13: 978-1901242843

A picture book which follows the story of a woman who is diagnosed with cancer and has chemotherapy and radiotherapy treatment. There is a section advising carers about how to use this booklet to explain cancer and treatments to people with learning disability. The book gives a positive impression of cancer.

There are more books on cancer for people with learning disabilities in our question and answer section.


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Updated: 1 August 2014