Books can be powerful allies in a cancer patient’s journey. Bibliotherapy is a recognized field in psychotherapy, where the printed word can assist the patient or caregiver in resolving problems or finding support or comfort. There have also been clinical trials such as one at McGill University that use the power of reading to help cancer patients deal with stress.
Many holistic approaches to cancer treatment recognize that all diseases have components of body, mind and spirit. The spiritual dimension to treating cancer is one that has been highlighted recently in several books reviewed in this article from Publisher’s Weekly.
Daju Suzanne Friedman wrote Zen Cancer Wisdom: Tips for Making Each Day Better, which hit shelves in September. The book highlights Friedman’s experience as a Chinese medical doctor often working with cancer patients and as a cancer patient herself. Friedman passed away in March.
Editor Andy Francis had this to say about the book:
“Zen Cancer Wisdom manages the difficult task of talking about the realities of cancer–chemotherapy, changes in appearance, sickness–without being bleak. The book is always uplifting, and Daju Suzanne Friedman had a great sense of humor about living with cancer.” Francis adds, “It’s sometimes said that you are most ready to hear and appreciate Zen teachings when you are near death. Zen Cancer Wisdom makes these teachings relevant to readers, even if they do not have a Zen background.”
Another important book is The Hardest Peace: Expecting Grace in the Midst of Life’s Hard by Kara Tippetts. Kara is the mother of four living with breast cancer speaks openly and honestly about life’s tough stuff. Learn more about the book on her website.
Erik Reese‘s Never Ever Give Up: The Inspiring Story of Jessie and her JoyJars follows his daughter’s battle with cancer and the inspiration she continues to provide after her passing. Jessie Reese found a way to cheer up other children suffering from cancer by creating JoyJars—jars full of activities and small gifts for young cancer patients.
What are some of your favorite books?