Some great books to read during your chemotherapy treatment

Published: 16 Apr 2018

With all your free time during chemotherapy, you’ll be looking for something to occupy yourself.  Reading is a great way to escape the every-day circumstance or to educate yourself further. 

The list below includes everything from biographies of former cancer patients, to healthy cookbooks, to general tips.  This list is broad and covers books from the last ten to fifteen years. 

The Patient’s Playbook

By Leslie Michelson

This book is a brilliant resource for anyone dealing with cancer – be it yourself or a friend/family member.  Helping people navigate the confusing labyrinth that is the healthcare system and its never-ending jargon, this is a great educational handbook.

Packed full of practical info on everything from choosing the right doctor to what questions to ask, this book is the perfect and informative carry along for your chemo sessions and everything in between.

Head here to find it on Amazon

The Emperor of All Maladies: A Biography of Cancer

By Siddhartha Mukherjee

This book is award-winning, snatching up a Pulitzer Prize and Guardian First Book Prize back in 2011.  This book traces the origins of the first recorded case of cancer, early treatment methods, all the way to potential cures today.

Not swamped in the negativity surrounding cancer, The Emperor shines a surprisingly optimistic light on the issue and is fit for anyone from the curious to those undergoing treatment.

Head here to find it on Amazon

The Untethered Soul: The Journey Beyond Yourself

By Michael A. Singer

The New York Times’ best seller strikes a cord with all walks of life.  Focusing on spirituality and inner peace, this book helps break down the walls of confusing surrounding self-identity and the emotional ebbs and flows that come with life.

It is truly a powerful resource for those wondering ‘why me?’ – helping many overcome bouts of depression, anxiety, and stress by separating thought and emotion from one’s sense of self.

Head here to find it on Amazon

How to be a Friend to a Friend Who’s Sick

By Letty Cottin Pogrebin

This one is for those trying to figure out how best to help the friends/family in their life that are coping with serious illness.  As many reading our blogs and within our chemotherapy support group will attest – it is hard knowing what to say and how to say it to those dealing with health issues close to you, especially when truly empathising with such a difficult time is almost impossible and often results in awkward mishaps and unintended aggravation.

Written from the perspective of someone who has experience breast cancer and the best intentions of her friends, Pogrebin manages to approach the topic with frankness, warmth, and humour.

Head here to find it on Amazon

What to Eat During Cancer Treatment

By Jeanne Besser et al.

Winner of the 2010 National Health Information Award, this book crams over 100 tasty recipe ideas for you to experiment with.  Author and food columnist Jeanne Besser, known for The First Book of Baking, The Great American Eat-Right Cookbook, joins forces with three registered dieticians to create a reference guide for cancer patients and their loved ones, friends, or caregivers.

This is a handy cookbook for those looking to abate their side-effects from treatment, with recipes divided up accordingly – such as nausea, swallowing issues, altered taste buds etc.  Besser also provides alternative ingredients in most of the recipes, including vegetarian and vegan options, as well as ideas for left overs, adding tons of practicality.  And this book is approved by the American Cancer Society!  What more do you need?

Head here to find it on Amazon


There are sure to be many top picks that we’ve missed out – if you have your own, why not head to our chemotherapy support group and share them with loads of like-minded people, and we might add them to our next book selection list!