We asked people affected by breast cancer what books they read during and after treatment.
From motivating tips to heartfelt cancer diaries, or even a novel for a bit of escapism, sometimes a small book can make a big difference. Here are your top 10 book recommendations for going through breast cancer.
1. B is for Breast Cancer, Christine Hamill
All I could come up with was waterproof mascara.’
Hamill explores the emotional and physical impact of her cancer diagnosis, written while going through treatment.
2. The No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency series, Alexander McCall
Sally, one of our Facebook supporters, said:
‘They are delightful, easy to read, but totally optimistic and life-affirming books which are ideal when you are not feeling up to coping with life.’
3. Mummy’s Lump, Gillian Forrest
‘Even though I am an experienced child psychiatrist, I was very unsure how to talk to my children about my diagnosis. Nobody asked if I had any problems with explaining what was happening to my children, everything was focused on my condition.’
After going through breast cancer with two children, aged five and seven, Gillian Forrest decided to write a book with Breast Cancer Care to help other parents in a similar situation.
Mummy’s Lump follows Elly and Jack as they learn of their mother’s diagnosis and treatment for breast cancer, written and illustrated as a children’s book that you can download from Breast Cancer Care.
4. The C Word, Lisa Lynch
After being diagnosed with breast cancer aged 28, Lisa turned her ‘frustrating, life-altering, sheer pain-in-the-arse inconvenience’ of getting breast cancer into writing.
5. Swing Time, Zadie Smith
The story follows a friendship between two girls, and the pressures and strains between them, as they explore race, music and culture in London and West Africa.
Smith explores how our friendship, passions and past history shape us, and the importance they play in our lives.
6. I Felt a Right One, Karen Tighe
‘Whilst in the bath I lay back and take a look at my ‘bigger than I would really like’ body and focus on my chest… I put my glasses on and have a really good look, then start to gently feel my whole right breast. I feel the left one for good measure and can definitely detect a lump on the right side.’
Karen wrote her amusing and heartfelt telling of her experience to try and make cancer seem a little less frightening to others going through breast cancer, while also raising money for St Luke’s Hospice and Breast Cancer Care.
7. It's all just rock and roll, Alex Jagger
Jagger was diagnosed with breast cancer when her daughter was four, her job full-on, and life running at full-speed.
She tells the story of trying to keep her head (and hair) 'when the rest of the world is going mad' - and finally finding 'your very own sunshine.'
8. Outlander series, Diana Gabaldon
The novels begin with Claire as she’s transported back to the 18th century where she bumps into a far-off relative.
Victoria, one of our supporters who recommended the series, said:
'Reading for me has always been about pure escapism and this has become really important during my treatment. It really helps me to forget for a while, and keeps my mind occupied. It stops me from over-analysing every twinge or new sensation. It's just a little bit of quiet in my day (or night, when I'm the only one in the house awake!)'
9. Tea & Chemo, Jackie Buxton
With all proceeds going to three cancer charities, Buxton’s book aims to support others like her through an honest, emotional and amusing account of her own breast cancer experience.
10. Emotional Support Through Breast Cancer, Dr. Cordelia Galgut
From both a personal and professional perspective - as a psychologist - she shares practical ideas and tips for diagnosis, treatment and beyond.
If you'd like to write about your own breast cancer experience, try using our writing guide.