Core Book Project

     Since 1998, Breast CAncer Action Saskatchewan (BCAS) has donated a series of books related to breast cancer to the Provincial Library System. Click on the relevant category below to see the titles that are available. Then ask at your local libarary for more information about how you can borrow one of these titles.

The diagnostic and treatment process
Emotional and Psychological needs
Alternative / Complementary approaches
Special Topics
Special Reader Groups
Nutrition and Exercise
Personal Stories
Books Written from the Feminist Perspective
The Political Side of Breast Cancer

The Diagnostic and Treatment Process

Stacie Berg & Richard Theriault. The unofficial guide to surviving breast cancer. IDG Books Worldwide, 1999. This book is designed to give readers a review of the options they face when being diagnosed with breast cancer. Sidebars in the margins provide quick tips to help readers by highlighting important points.

Robert Buckman. What you really need to know about cancer: A comprehensive guide for patients and their families. Trans-Alt, 1997. Two experts and a survivor offer compassionate, straightforward advice on what to expect when breast cancer is diagnosed. This step-by-step guide takes the reader through the treatment process, from diagnosis to recovery.

Daniel Cukier & Virginia McCullough. Coping with radiation therapy (updated edition). Lowell House, 1996. This book presents an overview of radiation therapy in laypersons' terms. The purpose and process of radiation therapy, cancer treatments and radiation therapy and other issues are covered.

June Engel. The complete breast book: Overcoming the crisis of cancer. Key Porter, 1996. This really is a complete breast book, taking the reader on a tour of the breast from one in its normal condition to one with cancer. Although most of the book is devoted to a discussion of breast cancer, a fair amount of attention is also paid to benign breast conditions. A list of Canadian resources is included.

Vincent E. Friedewald. Ask the Doctor. Andrews & McMeel, 1997. Part of a series that presents accessible medical information. The author demystifies breast cancer and helps readers sort through confusing and conflicting reports, covering diagnosis, treatments, risk factors, etc.

Jerome Groopmen. Second opinions. Viking, 2000. One of the greatest challenges that patients and their families face is how to evaluate and act on medical advice. This author, a physician, uses a series of real-life stories to provide insight into the medical decision-making process.

Yashar Hirshaut and Peter Pressman. Breast Cancer: The complete guide. Bantam, 1996. An oncologist (Hirshaut) and a surgeon (Pressman) form a specialized team of renowned authority on the treatment of breast cancer. Their award-winning book serves as "an additional expert by your side" for women diagnosed with breast cancer. The authors clarify terminology and treatment jargon and provide an insider's knowledge of what to expect.

Barbara Joseph. My healing from breast cancer. Keats, 1996. The author is an obstetrician and gynecologist who was diagnosed with breast cancer when she was a young woman. The text alternates between providing information on various aspects of treatment and living with breast cancer and the author's reflections on various points of her journey towards healing.

Judy Kneece. Your breast cancer treatment handbook. EduCare, 1995. Kneece offers specific information on why doctors present particular treatment options and the advantage/disadvantages to each one. Details such as packing for the hospital, the surgical experience , selecting a prosthesis, etc., are excellent. Questions for physicians, a personal treatment record and recovery plans are included.

Kathy LaTour. The breast cancer companion: From diagnosis through treatment to recovery. Avon, 1994. The author draws upon her own experience and that of some 120 other people to amass extensive information on the medical and emotional issues involved in surviving breast cancer. Readers hear about choosing the right doctor, getting second opinions, the variety of available treatment and reconstruction options and the varied outcome of those choices.

John Link. The breast cancer survival manual: A step-by-step guide for the woman with newly diagnosed breast cancer. Owl Books, 1998. The author, a practicing internist and oncologist, provides the newly diagnosed woman with all the information needed to make informed decisions about her care. He argues that a second opinion is mandatory and discusses types of cancer, surgeries, reconstruction and adjuvant therapies. He includes checklists in the form of questions to be asked.

Susan Love. Dr. Susan Love's breast book (2nd. ed.). Addison-Wesley, 1995. Love's invaluable book describes the breast as an integral part of every woman in terms of anatomy and common problems. Breast cancer causes, prevention, diagnosis, treatment and reconstruction, emotional stress, recurrence and metastasis are discussed in detail.

Musa Mayer. Holding tight, letting go: Living with metastatic breast cancer. O'Reilly, 1997. Frank and moving descriptions from 40 women and men as they struggle to come to terms with metastatic breast cancer. All aspects of the disease are dealt with from coping with the shock of recurrence, seeking information, making treatment decisions, communicating effectively with medical personnel, to working on family and personal relationships.

Rosie O'Donnell & Deborah Axelrod. Bosom buddies: Lessons and laughter on breast health and cancer. Warner, 1999. This is an easy-to-digest book of general facts about breast cancer. It is easily understood by the lay person with no prior knowledge of this disease and is made palpable by Rosie's outrageous sense of humor.

Ivor Olivotto, Karen Gelmon and Urve Kuusk. Breast cancer: Intelligent patient guide (2nd edition). Intelligent Patient Guide, 1999. The authors explain the basics of breast cancer and available surgical options in simple language. They include chapters on the side effects of chemotherapy and hormone therapy while emphasizing physical therapy after surgery. Lifestyle issues during and after therapy (e.g., diet, stress and exercise) are also examined, as is alternative medicine.

J. Prucha (Ed.). Cancer Sourcebook. (Third Ed.). Omnigraphics, 2000. This book represents part of a Health Reference series. It offers descriptions of the major forms and stages of cancers affecting a variety of organs. Though breast cancer is not specifically addressed, this book is a useful reference for the layperson as to treatments, side effects, alternative therapies, clinical trials and coping strategies.

Becky Zuckweiler. Living in the postmastectomy body. Hartley & Marks, 1998. A compassionate guide to every aspect of physical, social and psychological recovery after a mastectomy, by a psychotherapist and nurse who is herself a breast cancer survivor and who has had a double mastectomy.

Emotional and Psychological Needs

Kristine L. Falco. Reclaiming our lives after breast and gynecological cancer. Jason Aronson, 1998. A clinician who is herself a survivor offers help and advice for restoring a sense of self, femininity and womanhood after cancer treatment. Her book is aimed at cancer patients and the people who care for them, both personally and professionally.

Ronnie Kaye. Spinning straw into gold: Your emotional recovery from breast cancer. Simon & Schuster, 1991. This is a compassionate and comprehensive guide by psychotherapist Kaye, herself a breast cancer survivor. She shares her own expertise and offers encouraging stories from her many clients, thus providing women with an uplifting guide for transforming a devastating crisis into an opportunity for personal growth and victory.

Susan Kuner, Carol Orsborn, Linda Quigley & Karen Stroup. Speak the language of healing. Conari, 1996. Together these four women represent four different spiritual traditions and four different states of breast cancer. In this book they show how instead of declaring war on an enemy inside you, you can develop a new way of thinking about living with life-threatening illness.

Margit E. Porter (Ed.). Hope is contagious: The breast cancer treatment survival handbook. Simon & Schuster, 1997. Porter has surveyed breast cancer survivors for their pithy advice to others facing the same crisis. Short quotes explain what was toughest for these women and offer tips on coping with the diagnosis, treatments, and aftermath of therapy.

Bernie Siegel. How to live between office visits. Harper Collins, 1994. This inspirational book answers the most common questions about health and illness and helps readers find the strength to face a life-threatening illness. The author talks about handling the fear of recurrence, asking for help, dealing with anger and pain, and learning how to live.

Laurie Tarkan. My mother's breast. Taylor, 1999. The unique psychological needs of women whose mothers have breast cancer are outlined in this book through the stories of women who have witnessed the effects of the illness on their mothers. The book concludes with ways women should take care of themselves.

Marisa C. and Ellen Weiss. Living beyond breast cancer: A survivor's guide for when treatment ends and the rest of your life begins. Times, 1997. The authors' focus is the realization that women's lives don't automatically return to normal when cancer treatment ends. They offer support and advice on critical survivor issues, e.g,., health monitoring, the side effects of treatment, intimacy, and possible recurrence.

Alternative/Complementary Approaches

Steve Austin and Cathy Hitchcock. Breast cancer: What you should know (but may not be told) about prevention, diagnosis, and treatment. Prima, 1994. Austin's medical advice is interspersed with Hitchcock's personal breast cancer experience. They examine diagnostic procedures, treatment options, and prevention. Alternative treatments are discussed with a warning that the benefits of these therapies are often unproven.

Alistair Cunningham. The Healing journey: Overcoming the crisis of cancer. Key Porter, 1992. As a cancer survivor himself, with two doctorates (in cell biology and psychology) and over 30 years' research experience, Cunningham seeks to ally "the conservatism of modern western medicine" with the "radicalism of New Age thinking" in the best interests of the patient. Its essential, persuasive message is that self-help does help.

Alice Domar and Henry Dreher. Healing mind, healthy woman: Using the mind-body connection to manage stress and take control of your life. Holt, 1996. As director of Harvard Medical School's Division of Behavioral Medicine, Domar has developed mind-body methods to help women defuse the effects of stress, pain,and illness. Specific coping skills that women can learn and adopt, such as meditation, yoga, and relaxation, are thoroughly described

Nan Lu & Ellen Schaplowsky. Traditional Chinese Medicine: A woman's guide to healing from breast cancer. Avon, 1999. This book explains the philosophy, history, principles and theories of TCM; how these relate to breast cancer; and how a woman can restore harmony with TCM self-healing practices. The practices include movement, dietary recommendations, herbs, emotional balance and mental messages.

Ontario Breast Cancer Information Exchange Project. A guide to unconventional breast therapies. R & R Book Bar, 1996. A catalogue of information on more than 100 natural health practices, herbal therapies, dietary therapies, vitamins and minerals. Although this guide is relevant for people with many types of cancer, it was initiated and reviewed by women living with breast cancer and the information is geared to their needs.

Juliet Wittman. Breast cancer journal: A century of petals. Fulcrum, 1993. Wittman relives the heart-stopping fear she felt as she found a breast lump, underwent biopsy and scrambled to find enough information to make a rational choice. She recalls her childhood, her adult years, and her mother's death from cancer, as she relates her own story and describes her complementary program of alternative medicine.

Special Topics

Jeannie Burt & Gwen White. Lymphedema: A breast cancer patient's guide to prevention and healing. Hunter House, 1999. A physical therapist and a woman who has experienced lymphedema use their different perspectives to educate others about this medical condition. This book provides a clear description of how lymphedema occurs and reviews the various ways of treating it.

John Kessler & Greg Annussek. Tamoxifen. Avon, 1999. The author, a physician, uses a question and answer format to address issues that surround the use of Tamoxifen in the treatment and prevention of breast cancer.

Pat Kelly. Leadership from the heart. Key Porter, 2000. This Canadian book, using the expertise of dedicated facilitators of cancer support groups, along with the poignant stories of group members, offers inspiration and ideas to those who want to start a new group, facilitate an existing one, or deal with problems.

Neil Sharpe. In control: Making the most of the genetic test for breast cancer. Prentice-Hall, 1997. Provides clear and reliable information about the test (now available to Canadian women) and discusses the long-range impact of taking the test in areas such as privacy, insurance, counseling, risk calculation, the effect on families, etc.

Special Reader Groups

Elise Babcock. When life becomes precious: A guide for loved ones and friends of cancer patients. Bantam, 1997. Cancer counsellor Babcock deftly touches the key emotional issues surrounding the cancer patient. She offers strategies and tools for family members and friends to use in dealing with an uncertain future and their new roles as caretakers and mediators.

Wendy Harpham. When a parent has cancer: A guide to caring for your children. HarperCollins, 1997. Harpham offers approaches for dealing with and responding to common cancer issues that affect children in daily life. She offers advice on helping the child to deal with grief, anger, fear, and guilt. Also included are special sections on teenagers, single parents, and the well spouse.

Judy Kneece. Helping your mate face breast cancer. Educ Care, 1999. This book provides a guide to the needs of a woman who has been diagnosed with breast cancer so that the partner can understand how to provide the necessary support.

Laurie Tarkan. My mother's breast. Taylor, 1999. The unique psychological needs of women whose mothers have breast cancer are outlined in this book through the stories of women who have witnessed the effects of the illness on their mothers. The book concludes with ways women should take care of themselves.

Nutrition and Exercise

Robin Keuneke. Total breast health: The power food solution for protection and wellness. Kensington, 1998. The author, a natural foods counselor, offers a breakthrough guide and cookbook with information on fats, oils, herbs, immunity-boosting vegetables, etc.

Suzannah Olivier. The breast cancer prevention and recovery diet. Michael Joseph, 1999. The author, a nutritionist and breast cancer survivor, describes how the right foods can aid a woman in her fight against breast cancer. Checklists, recipes and information about anti-cancer foods all combine to assist in developing an optimal diet.

Diana Stumm. Recovering from Breast Surgery: Exercises to strengthen your body and relieve pain. Hunter House, 1995. Written by an experienced physical therapist, this book explains what to do immediately after breast surgery, to speed your recovery. The book includes detailed information about post-surgical needs, fully illustrated exercises and other self-care measures.

Personal Stories

Karen Scott Barss. Healing images: Reflections on a healing journey. The Granny Ranch Publishing House, Saskatoon/St. Peter's Press, 1999. Forty-eight reflections exploring and chronicling the Saskatchewan author's own healing journey.

Nancy Brinker. The race is run one step at a time. Summit, 1995. Subtitled "Every woman's guide to taking charge of breast cancer, and my personal story." This book is written by one of the founders of The Race for the Cure.

Lorelei Anne Lambert Colomeda. Through the northern looking glass: Breast cancer stories told by northern native women. National League for Nursing Press, 1996. Among native peoples, oral histories and traditional storytelling are essential to cultural survival. In this unique book, thirteen northern native women relate their experiences as survivors of breast cancer. They speak about adapting to the disease and the ties that bind them to family, friends, and their environment.

Kathlyn Conway. Ordinary life: A memoir of illness. W.H. Freeman, 1997. Conway, a psychotherapist, has been diagnosed with cancer three times in her 47 years. Her breast cancer experience is a searing memoir of her feelings of terror and isolation. Conway was not a stoic patient and often lashed out at her family in fear and anger. A realistic and touching portrait.

Peggy McCarthy and Jo An Loren (Eds.). Breast cancer? Let me check my schedule. Westview, 1997. Ten women, all of them survivors, share their experience, knowledge and feelings about what it means to live with breast cancer.

Rosalind MacPhee. Picasso's woman: A breast cancer story. Kodansha, 1996. This is the story of MacPhee's own journey through the trauma of diagnosis and the often bewildering treatment options, illustrating the effect the disease had on her life and her close personal relationships. Her experience reflects the anxieties and questions common to all who tread this same road.

Elaine Ratner. A feisty woman's guide to breast cancer. Hunter House, 1999. This book represents a collection of points that the author wishes she had been told when she was diagnosed with breast cancer. The book is written with humor and provides a fresh perspective on meeting the challenges of breast cancer.

Hilda Raz (Ed.). Living on the margins. Persea, 1999. In this anthology, eighteen women writers address their personal experiences with breast cancer. This book shows us the many ways in which women, even under threat of death, can be strong, brave and joyous.

Katherine Rich. The red devil: To hell with cancer and back. Crown, 1999. This is a young woman's tale of illness, joy, and the triumph of love in the midst of despair. The author provides vignettes of the surreal world only the ill understand.

Penelope Williams. That other place: A personal account of breast cancer. Dundurn, 1993. The author was diagnosed with breast cancer in 1988 and, in this candid personal account, she describes her journey in detail. She relates the terror and pain on initial diagnosis and treatment, but also describes how the support offered by other cancer sufferers was instrumental in the healing process.

Books Written from the Feminist Perspective

Ellen Leopold. A darker ribbon. Beacon, 1999. The author evaluates contemporary ideas and attitudes about breast cancer, describing their historical and political antecedents and focusing on the relationship between the medical establishment and breast cancer patients.

Gary Null & Barbara Seaman. For women only! Seven Stories, 1999. This book combines the work of two authors. The first part explores alternative treatment solutions to a variety of health issues that women face. The second part is a collection of stories by feminist writers showing how women can take charge of their bodies and become empowered.

The Political Side of Breast Cancer

Roberta Altman. Waking up, fighting back: The politics of breast cancer. Little, Brown, 1996. The author, an activist and survivor, examines scientific and medical research, pinpoints the problems that still exist and tells breast cancer patients what they can do now.

Sharon Batt. Patient no more: The politics of breast cancer. LPC InBook, 1994. The author's experience of having breast cancer is combined with her search to understand the disease. Her journey led to a startling investigation into the politics of the breast cancer industry and the role played by the medical community, insurance and drug companies, researchers, the media, and even cancer charities.

Robert Bazell. Her-2: The making of a revolutionary treatment for breast cancer. Random House, 1998. Herceptin is the first treatment targeted at a gene defect that gives rise to cancer. The author presents a fascinating account of its development, against a background of politics, corporate agendas, patient activism and just plain luck.

Karen Stabiner. To dance with the devil: The new war on breast cancer. Doubleday Books, 1997. Based on extensive research and many interviews with doctors, scientists, policy makers, and activists, this book brilliantly combines medical detection with political journalism.


Joseph Keon. The truth about breast cancer. Parissound, 1998. Focusing on the studies that support theories about lifestyle choices in relation to the risk of breast cancer, this book offers a challenge to readers. Either do nothing and accept the risk or make decisions that could be of significant benefit.

Miriam Stoppard. The breast book. Dorling-Kindersley, 1996. An expert on women's health, Stoppard has written a self-help manual to allow women to feel comfortable and assertive in taking responsibility for breast health. She presents information on breast care at all stages of a woman's life, with particular emphasis on the early detection and treatment of breast cancer.

Susun S. Weed. Breast cancer? Breast health! The wise woman way. Ash Tree, 1996. The author of a popular book on menopause (Wise Woman Ways) offers information and advice on everything from lifestyle choices that reduce the risk of breast cancer, to alternative treatments that should be avoided.