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My 11 Favorite Books, Movies, and Podcasts for Every Stage of the Breast Cancer Experience

Living Well

September 21, 2021

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Lucas Ottone / Stocksy

Lucas Ottone / Stocksy

by Monica Haro


Fact Checked by:

Jennifer Chesak, MSJ


by Monica Haro


Fact Checked by:

Jennifer Chesak, MSJ


Sharing and bearing witness to each other’s stories is super empowering.

A breast cancer diagnosis can be an isolating experience. It can be hard to find others who understand what it’s really like, and it can feel like everyone else’s life is moving forward while yours is on pause.

That’s why hearing stories from a community of women with breast cancer can be so valuable.

I was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2014 and quickly turned to the stories of others for comfort, education, and catharsis. Over the years, I have come upon some great books, movies, and podcasts related to breast cancer. Here are some of my favorites.

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Decolonize Your Diet: Plant-Based Mexican American Recipes for Health and Healing

For many in the breast cancer community, myself included, it is common to make dietary changes after being diagnosed. What that looked like for me was the desire to increase my vegetable intake and eat more plant-based meals.

When Luz Calvo was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2006, they and their partner, Catriona Rueda Esquibel, began changing Mexican American recipes to healthier vegetarian and vegan versions, and this cookbook was born.

A friend gave me this cookbook, which helped bring some great recipes into my life. The cauliflower ceviche is one of my favorites.

Malignant: How Cancer Becomes Us

S. Lochlann Jain began researching and documenting the statistics and culture of cancer after their own breast cancer diagnosis at age 36.

I found this book fascinating, thought-provoking, and sometimes humorous. I believe it is a must, whether you have a cancer diagnosis or not.

The Wig Diaries: An Irreverent Cancer Book

Reading this book about author Mary Ladd‘s experiences with breast cancer made me laugh and cry. Many parts are moving and relatable to my own experience, and I love how she managed to find some quirky humor in the not-so-fun cancer arena.

I would recommend this book to anyone who has undergone cancer treatment.

Flat: Reclaiming My Body from Breast Cancer

I was deeply moved by Catherine Guthrie’s memoir of being diagnosed with breast cancer young and queer.

This book made me ponder gender and sexuality in a way I hadn’t before and stayed with me long after I read it. Thank you, Catherine.

The Bay Area Young Survivor Anthologies

San Francisco Bay Area breast cancer community, Bay Area Young Survivors, has had a long history of using writing as a healing modality and sponsoring writing workshops for community members.

Many of the breast cancer stories that started in those workshops have ended up in the anthologies “Agony and Absurdity: Adventures in Cancerland;” “The Day My Nipple Fell Off;” and “Shivering in a Paper Gown.”

How can you not be intrigued by what’s inside these books by the titles alone? I devoured all three within a week’s time. I felt so seen reading these books — enough said.

What Happens When Someone I Love Has Cancer?

Sarah Olsher wrote this amazing storybook for young children, explaining cancer in response to her own breast cancer diagnosis when her daughter was just 6 years old. It’s a great tool for parents of young children.

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Dying for Sex

Once I began listening to this miniseries, I could not stop. After Molly Kochan was diagnosed with metastatic breast cancer (MBC), she left her marriage and had many sexual experiences.

The podcast features Molly’s best friend, Nikki Boyer, chatting with Molly, taking us through her life and adventures living with terminal MBC. It is poignant storytelling. It is raw and candid, funny and sad.

I’ve listened to this eight-part podcast three times and I will never forget it or Molly and her haunting voice. To me, this podcast is a gift to the breast cancer community at large.

BC Healthline Podcast

I am the community guide for the Bezzy BC peer-support community, and I’m going to let you in on a little tip. Did you know there is a podcast specifically created for members of this community?

Bezzy BC (formerly BC Healthline) partnered up with Kelsey Bucci who talks about going flat, oncology massage, clinical trials, financial planning after diagnosis, healthy eating, and nipple tattoos. Be sure to check out all the episodes.


Wildfire Magazine

Since 2016, Wildfire Magazine has been chronicling the narratives of the premenopausal breast cancer community.

Wildfire believes sharing breast cancer stories through writing is a transformative and healing experience. Each issue covers a theme as it relates to the breast cancer experience, such as family, MBC, and community.

I’ve always said sharing and bearing witness to each other’s stories is super empowering. Wildfire does just that.

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Love Always, Mom

I saw this documentary a couple of years ago and it took my breath away.

Tricia Russo is living with stage 4 MBC and made a film about her path to becoming a mom. This story is resilience defined, and gives so much inspiration to never give up hope.

I often recommend it to those in the breast cancer community who are trying to find a way to be a parent after a cancer diagnosis.

Bare: A Short Film, Inspired by a True Story

Want to know what it’s like to be young and diagnosed with breast cancer? Watch this short film written by Rebecca Hall and Kerith Lemon, based on Rebecca’s own experience with breast cancer.

It is impactful and delivers a lot in a short period of time.

The bottom line

My hope is that some items on this list will be resources that resonate and help you to feel related to and less alone.

Perhaps you will find some hope, tools, nourishing recipes, or empowerment that you might need in your own breast cancer experience.

Article originally appeared on September 21, 2021 on Bezzy’s sister site, Healthline. Last medically reviewed on September 6, 2021.

Fact checked on September 21, 2021

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About the author

Monica Haro

Monica was born and raised in the San Francisco Bay Area where she is raising her son. She loves staying connected to the breast cancer community through her work as the community guide for Bezzy BC, and as production assistant with Wildfire Magazine. After her cancer diagnosis, she has a passion for volunteering, and serves on the board of directors with her local support group, Bay Area Young Survivors. Monica loves creative expression through writing and art. She has shown her breast cancer advocacy exhibit “Reconstructed: A Breast Cancer Documentation Project” with El Comalito Collective in Vallejo, California several times over the years. You can connect with her on Instagram.

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