Suggested Reading List

Disease Types

Cancer Science
 

TITLE: The Emperor of All Maladies: A Biography of Cancer
AUTHOR: Mukherjee, M.D., Siddhartha
DATE: 2010
RECOMMENDED BY: Patricia Brown, Vice President of Strategic Development
SUMMARY: The Emperor of All Maladies is a “biography” of cancer – from its first documented appearances thousands of years ago through the epic battles in the 20th century to cure, control, and conquer it to a radical new understanding of its essence. The story of cancer is a story of human ingenuity, resilience and perseverance, but also of hubris, paternalism and misperception. Mukherjee recounts centuries of discoveries, setbacks, victories and deaths, told through the eyes of his predecessors and peers, training their wits against an infinitely ruthless and resourceful adversary. The Emperor of All Maladies provides a fascinating glimpse into the future of cancer treatments. It is an illuminating book that offers hope and clarity to those seeking to demystify cancer. [This book won a 2011 Pulitzer Prize for General Nonfiction.]

TITLE: The Cancer Treatment Revolution: How Smart Drugs and Other Therapies Are Renewing Our Hope and Changing the Face of Medicine
AUTHOR: Nathan, M.D., David G.
DATE: 2007
RECOMMENDED BY: Shannon Cagnina
SUMMARY: For the millions who face cancer, there is good news: today, many patients with formerly fatal diagnoses will enter complete remission and live their lives in good health. Great strides are being made in the treatment of cancer using a combination of modern surgical techniques, radiation, chemotherapy treatment, and smart drugs custom-designed to block the growth of cancer cells. In this fascinating book, world-renowned doctor and researcher Dr. David G. Nathan reveals both the scientific and human aspects of the war against cancer and explores what it means to have and to fight cancer in the 21st century. The Cancer Treatment Revolution

Inspiration for Patients, Caregivers and Friends
 

TITLE: There’s No Place Like HOPE: A Guide to Beating Cancer in Mind-Sized Bites
AUTHOR: Girard, Vickie and Dan Zadra
DATE: 2008
RECOMMENDED BY: Rebecca Corbett, Mary Crowley Patient
SUMMARY: Regardless of the type of cancer, this practical, and inspiring guide will empower any patient to better fight and survive this disease. The message is simple, hopeful, powerful, and long overdue: “We must stop speaking of cancer in whispers. We may have cancer, but cancer does not have us. Cancer is a beatable, treatable, survivable disease.”

TITLE: When Breath Becomes Air
AUTHOR: Kalanithi, M.D., Paul
DATE: 2016
RECOMMENDED BY: Shannon Cagnina
SUMMARY: At the age of 36, on the verge of completing his training as a neurosurgeon, Paul Kalanithi was diagnosed with stage IV lung cancer. One day he was a doctor treating the dying, and the next he was a patient struggling to live. His words live on as a guide and a gift to us all. “I began to realize that coming face to face with my own mortality, in a sense, had changed nothing and everything,” he wrote. “Seven words from Samuel Beckett began to repeat in my head: ‘I can’t go on. I’ll go on.’” This book is an unforgettable, life-affirming reflection on the challenge of facing death and on the relationship between doctor and patient, from a brilliant writer who became both.

TITLE: Cancer Etiquette: What to Say, What to To When Someone You Know or Love Has Cancer
AUTHOR: Kalick, Roseanne
DATE: 2005
RECOMMENDED BY: Julie Sparkman, Institutional Review Board Coordinator
SUMMARY: A definitive guide on how to respond when someone says “I have cancer.” Two-time cancer survivor Roseanne Kalick helps readers communicate caringly with the cancer patient. Many have had the gut-wrenching experience of having a friend or loved one reveal they have cancer, yet few can figure out how to react. Using real stories, Kalick conveys how much most people really want to say and do the right thing – and how they often fail. Even those in the medical profession who work with cancer are guilty of etiquette don’ts. The book is intended for patients, caregivers, family members and friends.

TITLE: Fly a Little Higher: How God Answered a Mom’s Small Prayer in a Big Way
AUTHOR: Sobiech, Laura
DATE: 2014
RECOMMENDED BY: Ellen Dearman, Vice President of Development
SUMMARY: When Laura Sobiech learned that her 17-year-old son Zach had one year to live, she asked him to write good-bye letters to family and friends. She also offered a prayer: “OK, Lord, you can have him. But if he must die, I want it to be for something big. I want someone’s life to be changed forever.” Zach decided to write songs instead of letters, and one of them, “Clouds,” made him and international sensation. The song became the number one downloaded song on iTunes, and Zach’s documentary, “My Last Days,” has been viewed more than 12 million times across the globe. Zach once said, “I want to be known as the kid who went down fighting.” Fly a Little Higher shows how God used Zach’s life to teach us how to win big.

Cancer, Clinical Trials and Medical Ethics
 

TITLE: The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks
AUTHOR: Skloot, Rebecca
DATE: 2010, 2011
RECOMMENDED BY: Shannon Cagnina
SUMMARY: Her name was Henrietta Lacks, but scientists know her as HeLa. She was a poor black tobacco farmer whose cells—taken without her knowledge in 1951—became one of the most important tools in medicine, vital for developing the polio vaccine, cloning, gene mapping, and more. Henrietta's cells have been bought and sold by the billions, yet she remains virtually unknown, and her family can't afford health insurance. This New York Times bestseller tells a riveting story of the collision between ethics, race, and medicine; of scientific discovery and faith healing; and of a daughter consumed with questions about the mother she never knew. [This book was made into a motion picture by HBO starring Oprah Winfrey.]

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