Recommended Reads

The following books are a selection of practical guides to navigating breast cancer care and personal accounts.  Included are books specifically addressing the issues that younger women with breast cancer often face. 

Step by Step
Breast Cancer Aotearoa Coalition are a network of breast cancer survivors. They have used their experiences to produce "Step by Step", an information pack aimed at helping newly diagnosed women and men make informed choices about treatment and care.  To order a free copy of "Step by Step"visit their website 

Breast Support*   NZ Author: Gwendoline Smith, M.Soc.Sc (hons), Dip.Clin.Psych. Gwendoline Smith is a clinical psychologist who was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2009 and has been undergoing treatment and reconstructive surgery ever since. Supported by friends and family, including her mother who also suffered from the disease, she decided to document her experiences as she couldn’t find the book she really needed.

What other people say about this book:
“Gwendoline, with her psychology training, and intensely personal perspective, has done the research, gathered the resources and presented them in a very practical way. Breast Support is not only a very good book, it is also very cool!”        Wayne Jones BHB, MBChB,FRACS, General, Breast & Endocrine Surgeon.  RRP is $34.99, click here for how to buy

Welcome to the Amazon Club - A remarkable journal of hope, bravery and strength.     NZ Author: Jane Bissell 
This is the account of a year in the author's life from her diagnosis with breast cancer to shortly after her first 'all-clear'. Jane Bissell makes clear-eyed observations of her day to day realities. It's a human look at the nitty-gritty of treatment and its aftermath by someone curious, insightful and intelligent.

Life, Happiness.... & Cancer (2013 Ed, 5th print):  NZ Author Phil Kerslake (MNZM) 
First published in 2006, this book remains NZ's most popular self-help book for those coping with the emotional challenges cancer brings. Now published worldwide the book is an invaluable resource for those wanting to demystify cancer, take control of the treatment process and their lives in general. "Friends who lived through cancer recommend this book.  What higher praise could their be?" Breast Cancer Network's magazine.   This book is available at no charge by emailing the NZBCF. 

You Can Get Through This!     NZ Author: Domini Stuart .  How to stay positive when you're coping with breast cancer.  This  is an uplifting and easy-to-read guide to feeling better when you have breast cancer.   “Domini Stuart has written a frank but balanced and sensible account of living with breast cancer. This easy-to-read book is filled with useful and practical advice which will help women with breast cancer learn how to cope with the emotional trauma of diagnosis and the rigors of treatment and yet feel positive about their lives.” Dr Ron Kay, Breast Surgeon, Foundation’s Medical Advisory Committee.  To order a copy of "You Can get Through This'  visit

Books for friends and family

She's Got Breast Cancer by Peter Calder. A book for and about men whose partners have had breast cancer. This is available free from the NZBCF. Order here

Books for younger women 

Chemo and Back Again   NZ  Author: Andrea Fairbairn, breast cancer survivor. First diagnosed at age 39, then again fours years later,  Andrea’s e-book describes her personal journey through treatment for breast cancer which  included extensive chemotherapy, through to post-chemotherapy life in June 2013. "Chemo and Back Again' is available as an-e-book only from Andrea's breast cancer support website and from Amazon for NZ$9.95. It was recently awarded 'e-book of the week' by the Kindle Fire User Group. Read Kindle review

Baring it All (NZ)      NZ  Author: Andrea Fairbairn.  In her follow-up book, Andrea, who's had breast cancer twice, shares 33 tips to living life after breast cancer.  From managing your health in recovery to celebrating your life, the book's goal is to help you rebuild your life in a positive way. Download this free e-book here. (22MB)

I'm Too Young to Have Breast Cancer! Regain Control of Your Life, Career, Family, Sexuality, and Faith (2004) by Beth Leibson-Hawkins  (USA). Not every face of breast cancer has wrinkles and grey hair. Hawkins discovered that thousands of women below the age of 39 develop breast cancer each year. And, younger women are faced with strikingly different obstacles than older women diagnosed with breast cancer. Beth Hawkins supplies intimate anecdotes from sixteen real women under the age of 40 who encountered breast cancer.

Nordie's at Noon: The Personal Stories of Four Women "Too Young" for Breast Cancer  (2006) by Patti Balwanz (USA) 
Like any group of young women, Patti, Kim, Jennifer, and Jana talked about their latest career moves, the men in their lives, and their dreams for family each month when they met for lunch at the café at their local Nordstrom department store. But unlike other women their age, their conversations also turned to more serious issues, issues their “non-breast cancer” friends couldn’t have imagined or understood. 

Breast Cancer from a Young Woman's Perspective: The View of A Survivor  (2013) by Contessa Jasper  
This is true insight inside the day and life a woman just in her very early 30's and a traumatic cancer diagnosis. It brings fourth true feelings, raw emotions and a heart deal of gratitude. It’s about Contessa’s journey, the ends and outs of doctor visits, pains and obstacles.

JUST a LUMP IN THE ROAD ...: Reflections of young breast cancer survivors (2007) by Debbie Leifert  
Today, approximately one in eight women will be diagnosed with breast cancer-and many will be under the age of fifty. There are currently more than 250,000 breast cancer survivors in the United States who are just forty-five years old or younger. 

I Am Not My Hair: A Young Woman's Journey and Triumph Over Breast Cancer (2010) by Tyesha K. Love  
On December 10, 2007, just three months shy of her thirtieth birthday, Tyesha Love received a phone call that would change her life forever. As a single parent, full-time student, and full-time employee, Tyesha, a self-confessed control freak, already had her entire year planned out when she received her diagnosis. 

General titles (may be out of publication)

In the Pink, a guide to breasts, cancer and living well*
Lani Lopez & Jenna Moore

Beating our Breasts*
Compiled by Margaret Clark

The Unremarkable Nipple*
Sue McLeod

Dr Susan Love’s Breast Book

Susan Love, MD with Karen Lindsey

The Breast Cancer Book
Val Sampson and Debbie Fenlon

The Breast Cancer Survival Manual
John Link, MD

Take Charge of Your Breast Cancer
John Link, MD

Your Life in Your Hands – Understanding, Prevention and Overcoming Breast Cancer
Professor Jane Plant

Living Beyond Breast Cancer
Marisa C Weiss, MD and Ellen Weiss

 * New Zealand Book