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cancer blog

Great Cancer Books

Sunday, December 19, 2010

©Brenda Coffee. All Rights Reserved.

There are three terrific cancer books I’d like to share with you.
The first book is Anticancer, A New Way of Life by David Servan-Schreiber, MD, PhD. Not only is Dr. Servan-Schreiber a dedicated scientist and researcher, who candidly discusses his 15-year battle with brain cancer, he’s studied what makes cancer cells thrive, what inhibits them from growing and explains it in a way laypeople can understand. <PREVIEWEND>

Dr Servan-Schreiber, clinical professor of psychiatry at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, and cofounder of Doctors Without Borders, discusses why the traditional Western diet of sugar and white flour, along with a more stress proned lifestyle, creates the perfect environment for cancer. As a result of his own personal cancer quest, he advocates a science-based anticancer diet and a more positive, life-affirming way of living that boosts the body’s natural defenses. Dr. Servan-Schreiber is the first to say his advice should be an adjunct to, not a replacement for, conventional treatments like surgery, chemotherapy and radiation. As a side note: I meet numerous oncologists and have found it interesting that Anticancer, A New Way of Life is on most of their desks; several have said they agree with his thoughts on diet, exercise and the mind/body connection.

From Incurable to Incredible, Cancer Survivors Who Beat the Odds, by Tami Boehmer, is a powerful compilation of true stories from people who’ve found their way in the face of insurmountable odds. After celebrating her five-year, cancer-free anniversary, Tami was diagnosed with a recurrence of her breast cancer. In an effort to explain why some people, who are diagnosed with only a short time to live, survive, and others don’t, Tami began interviewing true survivors and found they shared numerous common traits. When I sat down with Tami’s book, I couldn't put it down. At first, I just opened it at random, but because every story resonated so deeply, I went back and read them all. I am overwhelmed by the strength and courage of every cancer survivor who shared their story.

The will to live is a powerful and amazing life force. In a world where most every story on the news is depressing, making us think the whole world’s gone mad, it’s uplifting to find so many people who are facing serious challenges with grace, determination and who are beating the odds. From Incurable to Incredible, Cancer Survivors Who Beat the Odds is a book for anyone who wants to be inspired to live a more authentic, courageous life. Even if you don’t have cancer, buy a copy, read it and pass it on.

The third book is Your Brain After Chemo, by Dan Silverman, MD, PhD and Idelle Davidson. As someone who still suffers from “chemo brain,” this empowering book gave me practical tips for improving my memory, dietary suggestions for maximizing brain health and inspiring stories from people just like me. The authors combine cutting-edge science and true stories along with a nine-step program to re-energize the brain. Anyone who’s received chemotherapy has joked about having “chemo brain,” but in reality, there’s nothing funny about it. Trust me, sometimes I think my 89-year-old mother, who has dementia, and I are not too far apart in the memory department.

In addition to being a scientific review of available evidence that chemotherapy has significant cognitive effects on patients, Your Brain After Chemo is also a helpful guide for family members and caregivers. In addition to giving them insights into the cognitive changes, and hopefully, steps they can take to help their loved ones recover, the book is strangely comforting for patients and caregivers alike.

In case you’re interested, all three of these books can be found on the RETAIL THERAPY link of, which is an affiliate of

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Previous Comments
Anonymous commented on 20-Dec-2010 02:37 PM
Helpful info, Brenda! And, of course, I must add 2 excellent books for those dealing with breast cancer are your very own that can be found on this website. Easy-to-read and providing much hope -- must-reads for anyone directly or indirectly dealing with breast cancers.
Anonymous commented on 20-Dec-2010 08:11 PM
Lisa, Thank you for the kind words about my books. It sounds like you have copies of them and they've been helpful. I'm so glad. Brenda
Anonymous commented on 20-Dec-2010 08:36 PM
I hope you have a good week and thank you for your blog you are in our prayers Sally
Anonymous commented on 21-Dec-2010 08:28 AM
Brenda, These sound like good books to add to my "want to read" list. I'm especially interested right now in "Your Brain After Chemo" because sometimes my forgetfulness is alarming. I also intend to get my hands on your books early next year. Thanks for sharing this info. Also, I hope you and your loved ones have a wonderful holiday. I'm so happy to have connected with you the past months. You have an amazing resource for women here, but more than that, you genuinely care, reach out to and support so many others. Thank you.
Anonymous commented on 21-Dec-2010 12:43 PM
HI, Brenda!
I just want to affirm as a psychologist working with patients who have had chemotherapy that Your Brain After Chemo has been a real help to myself as well as the patients and their families. It has helped to "normalize" the abnormal and help them not feel as lonely.
Thanks for the recommendation--having given my copy away I'll order another one, and check on your other recommendations!
Nancy Canubida, Psy.D. LCSW
Anonymous commented on 21-Dec-2010 01:04 PM
Hope you find the books helpful. I did, until I forgot what they said! LOL:)

Hope you have a Merry Christmas & a Healthy New Year, Brenda
Anonymous commented on 21-Dec-2010 01:05 PM
Hi Nancy,
I'm glad to know you work with cancer patients and their families, an area in which I wish more psychologists were skilled. A cancer diagnosis is so traumatic. Many survivors and their families aren't aware of the after effects such as chemo brain. I agree a book like "Your Brain After Chemo" is helpful on so many levels, especially helping us reconcile and deal with our new normal and that we're not the only ones.

Thanks for letting me know!

Mele Kalikimaka & Happy Holidays,
Anonymous commented on 21-Dec-2010 01:10 PM
Merry Christmas Brenda and Healthy New Year! I will get the three books on my return thank you. I want to share Monica Knolls story. Monica is a very special friend I met at ASCO conference in Chicago. She is twice breast cancer survivor and now has stage 4 ovarian and in a clinical trial. If you saw her you would not know she has any such challenges. She is the founder of Monica went to Kigali on my behalf when I couldn't. She stayed with my sisters while there and fell in love with my sister's 20 little orphans she has adopted. A few days ago she Sent a box full of Xmas presents for me to take plus money to pay for extra charges. On Friday when I called to tell her I got the Box she told me she was in ICU because she was very sick! I was devastated but whe I told her I got the box she was so happy and said: I'm in heaven, the babies will get their toys! She had surgery yesterday and I will call today to check on her as I leave tomorrow at 6am. Monica is the most positive person I have ever met. By the way she was in San Antonio last week please check out her website. I'm leaving with a very heavy heart she tells me she will be out of hospital in a few days and we can skype? People in USA, Canadaa, Rwanda are praying for Monica. Please add her on your list. Blessings Philippa
Anonymous commented on 21-Dec-2010 01:10 PM
Dearest Philippa,
I will certainly add Monica, and you, to my prayers. I had no idea your sister had 20 adopted orphans! Your family has much love and compassion for those around you. Have a terrific trip!

Anonymous commented on 21-Dec-2010 02:18 PM
Thanks so much for your kind words about my book, From Incurable to Incredible. I feel humbled to placed with Anti Cancer; I love that book and abide by its principles. I recommend it to everyone. I'll have to buy Your Brain After Chemo, even if only to prove to my husband and daughter it's not just an excuse I'm using!

I want to echo my recommendation to read Breast Cancer Sisterhood. It provides a great overview of helpful topics for someone who is newly diagnosed. I also found the stories in the back very inspirational, especially the poignant piece by Elizabeth Edwards.

Happy Holidays to you, my friend. I look forward to meeting you when I come to Texas.
Anonymous commented on 22-Dec-2010 03:36 PM
This post came to me at just the right time. A family friend was just diagnosed with very aggressive cancer. I wanted to pass along some resources. Taking into account what I have learned through the Breast Cancer Registry I printed out some material on managing side effects and emotions as well as how to communicate with the healthcare team. That second book you mentioned sounds like a great addition to my care package. I had heard about it before but haven't personally read it so thank you for the review! I think it will bring her some hope.

Lauren (
Anonymous commented on 23-Dec-2010 01:05 PM
Lauren, I'm glad you're going to pass them along to her. Don't forget both of my books as well, especially if she's newly diagnosed. Brenda
Anonymous commented on 23-Dec-2010 07:04 PM
Who or what corporation gave the Susan G. Komen For The Cure Foundation a $43 million dollar donation in 2008?

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