Funny books for cancer patients!

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Black woman with shaved head and pink hat. She is holding one of the funny books for cancer patients over her mouth while looking up cheekily through glasses. The title of the book is Glossary of Awkward.

©Wayhome Studio / Adobe Stock 

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Six funny books for cancer patients by cancer survivors

There’s a good reason why people all over the world take to a good book when trouble strikes. They make you laugh, they surround you with friends, and they provide a little escape. But what if you would rather face the hardship head-on than take your mind off your problem?

These funny books for cancer patients that laugh at cancer are just the answer. Written by clever people with great stories, they sprinkle humor, lessons, and companionship over what concerns you the most: cancer.

We know that new biographies of cancer survivors come out every day, sadly way too many for us to review. And since we don’t want you to read (or gift) yet another cheap “sassy” celebrity book that drops a lot of names and very little content, we’ve taken extra care in selecting these books. 

They are all unique, genuinely fun, and come from a place of honesty. Not all of these funny books for cancer patients will appeal to all audiences, but there is at least one book in here for all of us. We’re sure of it.

Big C, little ta-ta: Kicking Breast Cancer’s Butt in 7 Humorous Stories

Big C, little ta-ta: Kicking Breast Cancer’s Butt in 7 Humorous Stories by Janet Sheppard Kelleher is probably the most “classic” of the cancer storybooks on this list, “Big C, little ta-ta” is a great first book to go to if you’ve never read anything in this nice before. It’s hopeful and funny but doesn’t dodge any of the hard realities like chemotherapy, biopsies, and bad decisions. 

The book is made up of short stories and illustrations and makes for a quick and easy read. So quick and easy, in fact, that you may very well find yourself getting through it in one sitting, drawn in by Janet’s very natural, heartfelt way of storytelling.

It’s Probably Nothing…*: *Or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love My Implants

It’s Probably Nothing…*: *Or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love My Implants by Micki MyersPoet, teacher, and mother of two, Micki Myers is our next choice of an author that might just make you smile. While poems are usually a hard sell, and poems about cancer just sound like a bad idea altogether, somehow, almost miraculously, she makes it work.

And boy does this funny book for cancer patients work! Somehow, the combination of self-irony, political incorrectness, and underhanded dark humor had us in stitches. While it can be quite dark at times, and some of the medical procedures are shockingly descriptive for a poem (or a horror script, for that matter), the overall effect is enthralling.

A photo of "Crazy Sexy Cancer Tips" book cover. Kris Carr, the author, is standing outdoors, arms out-stretched.
Crazy Sexy Cancer Tips - Shop on Amazon​​
A photo of the front cover of the book "It
Crazy Sexy Cancer Tips - Shop on Amazon​​

Crazy Sexy Cancer Tips

Crazy Sexy Cancer Tips by Kris Carr is winning the prize for most controversial book on our list of funny books for cancer patients (by a country mile). Let’s get one thing straight, if you take this book at face value as a book of “tips” you are not getting your money’s worth. 

Sure, at first glance it might seem like that should be the point of the book, right? But it really isn’t. In a story that starts with the notion that going to yoga is a cure for hangovers, you know the depth (or lack thereof) of literature that you’re getting into. 

What you do get, however, is a funny book for cancer patients that reminds us very much of that intense, crazy, funny girl we all know and can only stand for half an hour at a time.

Sure, her ideas about nutrition are completely insane, and she gives you way too many details about her colon; but she knows how to party, and she always has a smile on and she will drag you out of a funk whether you like it or not. If you can stand a bit of celebrity gossip and hen talk, and feel that the occasional romp out with the girls is refreshing and just the thing you need, then this book is for you.

Read more: Sex after cancer

Now It’s Funny: How I Survived Cancer, Divorce and Other Looming Disasters

Now It’s Funny: How I Survived Cancer, Divorce and Other Looming Disasters by Michael Solomon is definitely the underrated hidden gem of the lot. It is an absolute must-read. If nothing else, you should pick it up just because there is no other volume out there quite like it, cancer-oriented or not. 

It’s intense and fast, and at times feels almost like you’re reading a mystery/thriller/police novel. Then it turns around and becomes the private journal of someone you know very well, who happens to be a hilarious person. 

Like many other books on this list of funny books for cancer patients, it may not always be for the easily offended, as Solomon tends to put a tiny filter between his brain and his pen. But if you’re someone who is looking for gritty reality in all of its hilarious glory, it doesn’t get any more real than this.

Cancer Made Me a Shallower Person: A Memoir

Cancer Made Me a Shallower Person: A Memoir in Comics by Miriam Engelberg,  which was published in 2006, is another classic funny books about cancer. 

Stricken with breast cancer at 43, Engelberg turned to cartooning to cope; the resulting work is funny and powerdul. She starts at the very beginning, while awaiting her diagnosis. The story follows the cancer trail all the way through surgery, chemo, support groups, wigs, the distraction of cartooning, moving house while completely nauseated and the horror of a second diagnosis. 

The true strength of the book is its fusion of the deadly serious with the absurd, in the finest tradition of black humor.

The front cover of Miriam Engelberg
Cancer Made Me a Shallower Person: A Memoir​​  - Shop on Amazon

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

F*ck Cancer: A totally inappropriate self-affirming adult coloring book by Jen Meyers. We can’t help but mention this lovely little book as a bonus to our list. While it may not be a book about anyone’s personal experience, it is makes for a funny gift for cancer patients. It contains coloring pages ranging from simple to mindbogglingly complex and sneaks in positive messages wherever it can. 

While it may seem silly at first, coloring has a soothing effect on morale. Coloring profane language doubly so! If you feel like your day could be improved by the addition of crayons, this book is for you. 

F*ck Cancer: A totally inappropriate self-affirming adult coloring book
F*ck Cancer: A totally inappropriate self-affirming adult coloring book  - Shop on Amazon​​

Alisa Grodsky’s Cancer Crackup: A book of chemo-induced wit, whimsy, and warrior.

Alisa Grodsky’s Cancer Crackup: A book of chemo-induced wit, whimsy, and warrior. All proceeds (read 100%) go to cancer research by Alisa Grodsky is a classic!

How can you possibly go wrong with a funny book for cancer patients that is full of grace, wit and humor (and beautiful illustrations) that donates all of the proceeds to cancer research? Let’s face it, even if you hate the book you’ve still done a good deed. 

There is absolutely no reason on earth not to buy this book right now. Good deed notwithstanding, “Cancer Crackup” does genuinely enchant and amuse, and we loved spending time in Alisa Grodsky’s universe of humor in the face of insurmountable odds.

A photo of the cover of Alisa Grodsky's book, Cancer Crack-Up
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Article by
Alex Pana

An Expat from Romania living in Italy, Alex shares her life with her musician husband, crazy dog, and her mad passion for writing stories.

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Sometimes you just want to read a funny book for cancer patients that gives you this face. The kind of book that makes you think, FINALLY somebody said it.

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