5 Books To Inspire Hope And Confidence For Cancer Patients

Whether you’ve been recently diagnosed or have been battling against cancer for some time now, we have 5 books for readers seeking help in their trying times.

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Many authors have taken it upon themselves over the years to produce written stories and recollections of their own battles and struggle for survival against this cancer. For those coming to terms with their diagnosis for the first time, it can be a nightmare when faced with the prospect of what should be the next step in your journey.

Patients who struggle with cancer are often looking to both internal and external sources for support. Bookstr would like to recommend the following five books with the intention that they serve as a guidebook for getting through these difficult times as well as beacon of hope for those who find the stories comforting and emboldening.

Cancer Made Me a Shallower Person: A Memoir in Comics

Cancer Made Me a Shallower Person: A Memoir in Comics-- a drawing of a person with thought bubble with the book title

Miriam Engelberg was diagnosed with breast cancer at the age of forty-three. Faced with an imminent danger to her life, she turned to writing a memoir in the form of comic strips detailing her journey in its entirety. From the initial wait for an official diagnosis to chemotherapy treatments and surgery to losing certain passions, and eventually making new friends and joining support groups. Miriam’s work offers readers a more simplistic and comedic yet tragic glimpse into the life of a cancer patient; a life that many undergoing the same path will certainly relate to. Sometimes, all someone needs is to be reminded that they are not alone.

Finding the Can in Cancer

Finding the Can in Cancer-- yellow cover

Finding the Can in Cancer is the shows the efforts of four long-term cancer patients with over seventy-years of collective experience. The four bring their stories of treatment and survival together in this handbook. First published in 2005, the book provides the reader with practical advice and coping methods to handle the initial shock and uphill battle. Those seeking encouragement will find plentiful spiritual and emotional support within its pages as the authors combine their wisdom to produce this resourceful guide.

When Breath Becomes Air

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What happens when a highly-qualified neurosurgeon comes face to face with the shocking revelation that he has stage IV lung cancer? In Paul Kalanithi’s When Breath Becomes Air, we are shown the somber transition from a passionate young doctor treating the ill to becoming a patient himself while attempting to come to terms with this sudden change in the trajectory of his life. As a father of a young daughter and husband, Paul’s story serves as source of inspiration for both fathers and those pursuing their career who now are faced with the grim diagnosis and must figure out how to plan their next steps with the time they are afforded.

I’m Sorry You Have to Be Here


Much like Paul Kalanithi’s story as a doctor and young father, I’m Sorry You Have to Be Here, is another personal narrative written by Lois Cappetta Bhatt, a breast cancer survivor. The author touches upon the most commonly experienced emotions of fear, anger, grief, and hope during a cancer diagnosis and combines it with humor to tell a heartfelt story of a mother fighting for her life whilst trying to be the best wife and mother to her family. When faced with this life-threatening disease, many women can relate to Lois Bhatt’s recollections and find comfort in their shared experience.

Anticancer: A New Way of Life

Anticancer: A New Way of Life-- book cover

Breaking away from the common theme of narratives on this list, we have Anticancer: A New Way of Life. Dr. David Servan-Schreiber was a neuroscientist who discovered a tumor in his brain and used his experiences with cancer to produce a book with detailed blueprints on wellness and the pursuit of a healthier lifestyle in the wake of a cancer diagnosis.

Using his knowledge about the body’s inner workings and natural immunity system, Servan-Schreiber helps readers understand how cancer cells function and how to adjust your lifestyle after the diagnosis in order to live healthier and fight off the feeling of helplessness. Anticancer: A New Way of Life is a practical guide for those who wish to exercise autonomy in their lives as they strive to recover.

To learn more about what Bookstr has in store for readers interested in works by cancer survivors or more book recommendations, be sure to check out our content here!