There are a number of excellent books written about breast cancer diagnosis, treatment and recovery. Many of these books can be found at the local library. Your division of the Cancer Society has a comprehensive reference library too and can provide lists of recommended reading. Some private breast clinics also have books their patients can borrow.
Many of the books available are from the USA, UK and Australia so you may want to take note of books by New Zealand women who have written about their experiences. Reading their stories may resonate better with your own journey and we have listed these first in a special section.
Every woman will find her own unique path to recovery. BCAC does not endorse the content of any of these books or websites but offers these lists as a menu from which to make your own choices.
Below you'll find books listed under the following topics:
- New Zealand breast cancer stories
- Practical Information
- Personal stories
- Humourous stories
- Complementary therapies and general wellbeing
New Zealand Breast Cancer Stories
Beating Our Breasts- Compiled by Margaret Clark (Cape Catley, Auckland 2000). One of the first collections of stories by NZ women experiencing breast cancer, Beating our Breasts is a book full of wisdom, courage, humour, information and honesty. Inspirational stories from women who have ‘been there’. This book is available free of charge from the Breast Cancer Foundation NZ. For a copy go to www.breastcancerfoundation.org.nz/resources
Welcome to the Amazon Club- Jane Bissell (Longacre Press, Dunedin, 2004).Jane Bissell writes a daily journal about her first year with breast cancer. An honest, open, humorous and informative account, this book offers hope, courage, guidance, information and strength to women experiencing breast cancer (available from www.janebissellwriting.com).
The Pink Party – Jane Bissell (Klarer Lasserre, Auckland 2007). The writer of ‘Welcome to the Amazon Club’ tells of the joys, fears, achievements and celebrations in her own life after breast cancer and in the lives of two other women. Colleen is living with secondary breast cancer and Manon has faced inflammatory breast cancer. Honest, inspirational, joyous (available from www.janebissell.co.nz).
She's Got Breast Cancer - compiled by Peter Calder (New Zealand Breast Cancer Foundation 2013). A New Zealand book for men, compiled by Peter Calder and featuring interviews with 18 Kiwi men whose wives, partners, and in one case mother, have been diagnosed with breast cancer. For your free copy go to www.breastcancerfoundation.org.nz/resources or email them on email@example.com.
Dr Susan Love’s Breast Book- Susan Love, MD with Karen Lindsey (De Capo Press, 6th Edition, 2015). Excellent, approachable, understandable information about breast cancer – highly recommended.
Tools and Tips from the Trenches– Mary Olsen Kelly (Books Beyond Borders LLC, South Lake Tahoe, 2006). This little book delivers personal and practical advice for breast cancer survivors, family and friends.
The Breast Cancer Book- Val Sampson and Debbie Fenlon (Vermilion, Random House, London, 2002. A helpful and supportive look at the breast cancer journey covering conventional treatments and how complementary therapies can play a part in treatment and recovery.
Breast Care: Information and advice on all aspects of breast care – Trevor Smith (The Breast Centre Ltd, Auckland, 2008). A book written by New Zealand breast surgeon, Trevor Smith, which covers all aspects of breast care, including a detailed section on breast cancer diagnosis, treatment and recovery.
The Breast Reconstruction Guidebook: Issues and Answers from Research to Recovery – Kathy Steligo (Carlo Press, 4th Edition 2017). This American book provides a comprehensive look at mastectomy and the many different reconstruction options available. It's a valuable resource for anyone considering reconstruction surgery to help work through the many choices to be made.
Dear Boobs - One hundred letters to breasts from women affected by breast cancer (The Dear Boobs Project Ltd, 2018). This book, compiled in New Zealand, is a collection of intimate, courageous, and often hilarious letters from women of all walks of life who have undergone surgery due to breast cancer or BRCA. Copies available to buy online here.
Chemo And Back Again - Andrea Fairbairn (thejoyagency.org). Information and inspiration for the chemo journey. This book follows Andrea through treatment, convalescence, recovery and moving on from cancer. For your free copy, go to Breast Cancer Foundation NZ’s website: www.breastcancerfoundation.org.nz/resources
Bald in the Land of Big Hair- Joni Rodgers (Headline Book Publishing, New York, 2001). At thirty-two, Joni Rodgers was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. Joni tells her deeply moving story of ‘industrial-strength drugs, healing herbs, love, sex, prayer, kids, career, and the search for a wig that won't make her look like Betty Rubble.’
A bit of humour
Cancer Vixen– Marissa Acocella Marchetto (Alfred A. Knopf, Paperback 2009). "In vivid color and with a taboo-breaking sense of humor, Marisa tells the story of her eleven-month, ultimately triumphant bout with breast cancer — from diagnosis to cure, and every challenging step in between.”
Strong Women, Strong Bones– Miriam E Nelson Ph.D. with Sarah Wernick Ph.D. (Lothian, Melbourne, Paperback 2006). Everything you need to know to prevent, treat and beat osteoporosis.
Dr. Susan Love’s Menopause and Hormone Book- Dr Susan Love with Karen Lindsay (Three Rivers Press, USA. 2003). More detailed look at menopause and hormonal changes.
Complementary Therapies, General Well-Being
Complementary Therapies for Cancer - What works, what doesn't and how to tell the difference - Professor Shaun Holt (Craig Potton Publishing, Nelson, 2010). An evidence-based review of a range of complementary therapies with objective information about what works, what doesn't and what's dangerous to try. Recommended.
Enhancing Cancer Care edited by Dr Jennifer Barraclough and produced by Oxford University Press (2008). Practical, evidence based technical guide to complementary cancer therapies.
Well-Being– Lynda Wharton (Harper Collins, Auckland, 2007). An holistic self-help guide for women who want to live a balanced lifestyle with an emphasis on preventative health. The book includes comprehensive sections on breast cancer and menopause.
You Can Conquer Cancer– Ian Gawler (Hill of Content, Australia, 3rd Edition 2012). Cancer survivor Ian Gawler used his personal experience to write this practical and inspiring guide for recovery and healing.
Chicken Soup for the Breast Cancer Survivor's Soul - Jack Canfield, Mark Victor Hansen and Mary Olsen Kelly (Health Communications Series, Florida, 2006). From the "Chicken Soup series", with stories, poems, quotes and cartoons "to inspire, support and heal."