Monday, April 6, 2015

Coping with A Cancer Diagnosis: Suggested Resources

[Reviewed and updated June 29, 2022]

A colleague writes: I have a request to consult tomorrow with counseling staff at a high school regarding a staff member just diagnosed with a stage four brain tumor. Looking through your rich web site I'm saying to myself, "Articles, and books and messages, oh, my." Can you help me go to materials on anticipatory grieving, or feeling our own mortality/vulnerability, or helping someone cope with a terminal illness?? You may be able to help me sort through so I can go straight to the meat this busy day before I must show up ready to help! Many thanks if you can help at this last moment.

My response: You might consider taking with you several copies of my article, Helping Another in Grief, to give to the staff members. You can also refer them to the listings you'll find here: Helping Another in Grief: Suggested Resources.

Just so you know, there are many sites on the Internet devoted to cancer support, some better than others, of course. I think the best place to find what you need is on my Care Giving Links page. There you will find dozens of links to sites I've personally reviewed that are devoted to supporting families struggling with a terminal diagnosis. You can preview some of the sites yourself, and /or you can refer people to them, either by sending them directly to the Care Giving page on my site, or by printing out a list of sites you've reviewed and selected that you would recommend.

Here is just a sampling I've pulled for you, to give you (and others who may be reading this) an idea of what is "out there":


American Cancer Society: Online Communities and Support

AARP Caregiving Guide

AARP Community Connections

BC Coping with Cancer Resource Guide

Calling All Angels Foundation: Cancer and Terminal Illness Support

Canadian Breast Cancer Network

Cancer Care Support Services

Cancer Care Connection

Cancer Hope Network


Cancer Support Community

Cancer Support Services for Patients and Families: M.D. Anderson Cancer Center

Coping with Serious Illness

FDA For Consumers and Illegally Sold Cancer Treatments

Life Without Judgment

Nancy's List

National Cancer Institute: Coping with Cancer -- For Families and Friends

National Comprehensive Cancer Network

What Is Palliative Care?

What Kinds of Stressors Do Cancer Patients Face And How Can A Social Worker Ease the Burden?

What Not to Say to a Cancer Patient

What Not to Say to Someone Who Is Dying

What to Say: Compassionate Cancer Etiquette


Here are some books I would highly recommend (for caregivers, family, friends and co-workers) on coping with anticipatory grief:

All of Us Warriors: Cancer Stories of Survival and Loss

Being There for Someone in Grief

Both Sides Now: A True Story of Love, Loss and Bold Living

Companioning the Dying: A Soulful Guide for Caregivers

Final Gifts : Understanding the Special Awareness, Needs, and Communications of the Dying 

F*ck Cancer: A totally inappropriate self-affirming adult coloring book

The Four Things That Matter Most : A Book About Living

Handbook for Mortals: Guidance for People Facing Serious Illness

I Am With You: Love Letters to Cancer Patients

"I Have Cancer": 48 Things to Do When You Hear These Words

Lean On Me: Cancer through a Carer's Eyes

Life After the Diagnosis: Expert Advice on Living Well with Serious Illness for Patients and Caregivers

Living with Cancer: A Step-by-Step Guide for Coping Medically and Emotionally

Living with Grief When Illness is Prolonged

Loving, Supporting and Caring for The Cancer Patient

Smiling through Your Tears: Anticipating Grief

The Undying: Pain, Vulnerability, Mortality, Medicine, Art, Time, Dreams, Data, Exhaustion, Cancer, and Care

Hoping this helps, and good luck tomorrow!

Your feedback is welcome! Please feel free to leave a comment or a question, or share a tip, a related article or a resource of your own in the Comments section below.
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© by Marty Tousley, RN, MS, FT, BC-TMH     

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