Breast cancer survivors often share their experiences through the written word. Here, we discuss some of the top books by these authors.
Women don’t have it easy. In addition to all the usual pressures of life, the threat of breast cancer looms over many. No matter where a woman is from, the challenges of health, family and love act as a unifying link that bonds them. Although the selections below aren’t just about the disease, breast cancer is the lens through which readers feel the broad scope of human emotion — life, love and triumph — as told by those who have been there and back.
1. Uplift: Secrets from the Sisterhood of Breast Cancer Survivors by Barbara Delinsky
Uplift is a collection of stories from a wide spectrum of people impacted by this disease. Readers will find anecdotes that directly relate to them and their personal experiences and, hopefully, a little solace in the knowledge that they’re not alone in their struggles. The stories cover issues such as the emotional impact of losing a breast and the healing power of friends and support groups. Barbara Delinsky, who lost her mother to breast cancer, is herself a survivor the disease.
2. The Middle Place by Kelly Corrigan
The Middle Place is a memoir concerning the author’s own encounter with breast cancer. Soon after Kelly Corrigan learned she had breast cancer, her father was diagnosed with prostate cancer. The memoir details the author’s treatment and the impact it had on her family’s life. More than that, The Middle Place is an exploration of how the knowledge of her father’s mortality influenced Corrigan’s relationship with her family. In reading her memoir, readers learn of the healing power that familial love can have in even the darkest moments.
3. Let Me Get This Off My Chest: A Breast Cancer Survivor Over-Shares by Margaret Lesh
Some people aren’t comfortable knowing the “behind the scenes” of cancer treatment. In this tell-all memoir, Margaret Lesh holds little back when talking about her experiences with breast cancer. Amid all the humorous anecdotes about the nitty-gritty of cancer treatment, the author manages to find a level of intimacy with the reader that few others can. Many readers will laugh, some might cry, but everyone can benefit from reading this woman’s honest recollections of one of the hardest times of her life.
4. Cancer: What I Wish I Had Known When I Was First Diagnosed by Michele Ryan
A breast cancer diagnosis can be an immensely stressful and confusing time. Although the support of friends and family certainly goes a long way, it can also be helpful to learn a little of what to expect from someone who’s already been there. Michele Ryan beat cancer as her husband succumbed to it. In her memoir, Ryan succinctly points out some of the hurdles a person with cancer may encounter and recommends coping mechanisms based on her own personal experiences.
5. Don’t Bet Against Me! Beating the Odds Against Breast Cancer and in Life by Deanna Favre
Since her own 2004 diagnosis, Deanna Favre has become one of the most recognizable breast cancer activists in the country. Favre’s memoir recalls her experiences with breast cancer as both a woman and as the wife of Brett Favre, a former quarterback of the Green Bay Packers. In the intimate details about her marital struggles before and during her treatment, Don’t Bet Against Me! delivers a remarkably candid account that resonates with readers from all backgrounds.
Through these books, both those women suffering from breast cancer as well those who are simply seeking to learn more about it can find empathy, understanding and appreciation for the brave individuals battling this disease.
What books have helped you learn and cope with breast cancer? Let us know in the comments below.