Books & Movies

Here you'll find personal memoirs, self-help and reference books, and books and films written and directed by members of our community.

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Books & Movies

We've compiled a collection of books and movies that may be of particular interest to our community. Here you'll find personal memoirs, self-help and reference books, and books and films written and directed by members of our community.

We are always open to suggestions for additional books and movies about the hereditary breast and ovarian cancer experience. If you have suggestions, please send them to info@facingourrisk.org.

Click on the Featured Books & Movies tab to check out the newest books and movies along with some classics.

Click on the Library tab for previously featured books and movies.

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Hurdles

Hurdles – When Cancer Strikes a Family
by Michael C. Kesler, Ph.D.

Struck by breast cancer at a young age, with four small children, Dr. Raquel Kesler faced difficult, life altering choices throughout her treatments and surgeries, battling a disease that would ultimately take her life. Dr Michael Kesler chronicles his wife’s experiences as both a doctor and a patient and his and the family’s reactions, experiences and attempts to cope with a devastating disease and its aftermath. The book ultimately asks and examines the central questions of when should a patient tell children of their disease? Are attempts to protect children and other family members from news regarding illness helpful or harmful going forward? Raquel Kessler’s story takes place during a time when the innovations and treatment options we take for granted today were not even in concept phase. Yet, the story of her personal fight to receive what was then the best treatment available allowed her to achieve the best balance she could between what she considered the three most important roles of her life: wife, mother, and doctor. In the aftermath of her death, her spouse and children are left to reflect upon the impact in their lives of cancer, secrecy, the guarding of information, and finally letting go for personal closure. The book does not provide answers, but does present, through the story of one woman’s life and untimely death, the opportunity for the reader to decide their level of openness toward their loved ones in the face of potentially fatal disease.

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Previvr

PREVIVR
by Lynn Grych

Welcome to my adventure! Lynn Grych’s book takes the reader through her four and a half year journey as a previvor. The book begins shortly before her identification as a BRCA 1 mutation carrier, through a hysterectomy, a routine colonoscopy which turned out to be anything but, her prophylactic double mastectomy and reconstruction and finally the revision of the reconstruction. Quite an adventure for such a short timeframe. Her experience is the very essence of the saying “Nothing is as easy as it seems.”. Lynn also continually notes that her results were not typical. Each individual, faced with similar choices my take a different route. Her experiences involving her election to have a colonoscopy, which revealed a small adenoma and the revision of the reconstruction are especially indicative of the power of choice.

Lynn opens with the observation that the only way to have avoided this (being a BRCA 1 carrier) was not to have been born. It is from the point of identification as a carrier that choices begin. Lynn includes sections containing the factual information about the BRCA 1 and 2 mutations, as well as the questions she developed along her journey for her doctors and medical team. Her inclusion of pictures even better serves the reader’s understanding of what to expect as they progress through the process. Not everyone chooses to be proactive and take the surgical route in response to learning of their BRCA status. Lynn chose this route instead of active surveillance. Regardless of the route chosen, Lynn encourages the reader not to become a statistic. Take an active role in your life and be a PREVIVOR.

Previvor: PREVIVR is available for purchase through "the Guiding Heart LLC". To place an order contact Lynn Grych by calling or texting her at 715.297.2014 or by email at theguidingheart@solarus.net

Sir, You Have reast Cancer

Sir, You have Breast Cancer!
by Harvey I. Singer

Harvey I. Singer covers his experience negotiating the world of a man with a "woman's disease" with humor and humility. Mr. Singer guides the reader through his personal experience with breast and later, prostate cancer and the professional perspective on the diseases, hereditary factors and treatment. His experiences, from initial exam, to mammogram, to biopsy, to diagnosis chronicle the difficulties encountered by men with what is traditionally considered a women's (only) disease. Notably, his handling of his initial mammogram paperwork, which is all too familiar to many, was a pointed reminder that he "didn't belong". As he moved from diagnosis to treatment, he time and again encountered situations where he was the "the odd man out" and as such, made the medical establishment take notice regarding his needs, rather than treating him a one size fits all manner.

Being a man with a "woman's disease" can be a trying experience, as the "system" is not set up to adjust to you. BRCA testing in males or the possibility of developing breast cancer is not something that is well advertised or actually even thought about often when the focus of conversation is breast cancer or breast cancer awareness. However, in those carrying the BRCA 1 or 2 gene mutation, the 6.5% chance of developing breast cancer or the 70% chance of developing early onset prostate cancer is enough to quickly get your attention. The unique body chemistry of a male is often not accounted for, and paperwork for even the most minor procedure or test is not designed with men in mind, nor is insurance coverage or chemotherapeutic regimens. Yet the bottom line is the same. Men do develop breast cancer. This book is the tale of a survivor and trailblazer, and the foundation born of this experience, the HIS Breast Cancer Awareness Foundation serves to channel those experiences to better help men facing similar circumstances.

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It's Probably Nothing...

It's Probably Nothing...*: *Or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love My Implants
by Micki Myers

WHAT TO DO WHEN CANCER STRIKES? As a vibrant woman in her late thirties, a mother of two, poet, artist, and teacher, Micki Myers decided to confront her diagnosis head on with the sharpest tools in her arsenal: namely, her sense of humor and unbridled poetic license.

The result is a charming, poignant, laugh-out-loud collection that hits all the highs (morphine) and lows (everything else) of being a cancer patient and surviving with your spirit intact (even if your boobs are not).

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Mutant Diaries - Unzipping My Genes

The Mutant Diaries: Unzipping My Genes DVDs
by Eva Moon

Superpowers stem from incredible sacrifices in this feisty and frank solo musical from performer/composer Eva Moon. Upon learning she had the BRCA genetic mutation, she had to make a life-altering choice: remove her healthy breasts and ovaries or face terrifying odds of cancer. Live music, warmth and generous amounts of humor are all expertly woven in this story of her decision -- and the extraordinarily empowering results of that choice.

A portion of every DVD sold is donated to FORCE.

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Beyond the Pink Moon

Beyond the Pink Moon
by Nicki Boscia Durlester

Beyond the Pink Moon is a book of shared experiences. Nicki Boscia Durlester takes the reader into the world of a BRCA2 carrier through the eyes of a little girl, as she observes the ordeal of her mother and aunts facing and succumbing to BRCA2 related reproductive cancers in the 1960s, followed by her own experiences after diagnosis in 2009. She captures the experience of "waiting for the other shoe to drop" and her efforts to ensure the technological and testing advances available were used to make informed decisions. The relentless nature of the BRCA2 gene mutation is highlighted as her daughter is also found to carry the gene mutation.  

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The Pink Moon Lovelies - Book Cover

The Pink Moon Lovelies, Empowering  Stories of Survival,
by Nicki Boscia Durlester

The Pink Moon Lovelies, Empowering Stories of Survival is a collection of stories highlighting the personal battles of 50 women, including survivors of breast and ovarian cancer and previvors with the BRCA gene mutation.  Each story is compelling and has an important message to impart.  This book grew out of the Facebook group, Beyond the Pink Moon, named after Durlester's memoir that intimately chronicles her journey after a breast cancer diagnosis. 

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confronting hboc book cover

Confronting Hereditary Breast and Ovarian Cancer: Identify Your Risk, Understand Your Options, Change Your Destiny, by FORCE Executive Director, Sue Friedman, Rebecca Sutphen, M.D., and Kathy Steligo

If you are concerned that the cancer in your family is hereditary, you face difficult choices. Confronting hereditary cancer is a complex, confusing and highly individual journey. Written by three passionate advocates for the hereditary cancer community who are themselves breast cancer survivors, this book dispels myths and presents practical decision making tools. With its unique combination of the latest research and expert advice, as well as compelling personal stories, this resource gives previvors, survivors, and their family members the guidance they need to face the unique challenges of hereditary cancer.

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leaving long island book cover

Leaving Long Island, by Fern Kupfer

Leaving Long Island is the story of a woman whose life experiences includes the loss of a child, the explosive end of a long marriage, and the discovery of a genetic inheritance endemic to the Ashkenazi Jewish population. This second-half-of-life memoir is a compelling narrative of both pain and happy second chances. Fern Kupfer’s work has appeared in Newsweek, Redbook, Family Circle, Woman’s Day, The Women’s Review of Books, The Chronicle of Higher Education, Parents and Cosmopolitan magazines. She was also the recipient for the Myrtle Wreath Award by the Nassau County Hadassah.

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still standing book cover

I’m Still Standing, by Wendy Watson

I’m Still Standing is the inspiring life story of Wendy Watson who after losing her mother to breast cancer when she was just 16, and learning that nine other relatives had died of the disease, decided to do something no one else in the UK had ever done. Although little was known about the genetic link to breast cancer at the time, Wendy, at the age of 37, was the first woman in Britain to have a prophylactic double mastectomy to avoid the breast cancer that had stalked her family. Then, in 1996, Wendy set up the Hereditary Breast Cancer Helpline to offer support to others facing hereditary cancer. Today, she answers the Helpline phones, lectures on the subject around the country and is an advocate for those with hereditary cancer.

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Survivor Magazine

Survivor Magazine

Survivor Magazine is a digital and print complement to the Breast Cancer Awareness Body Painting Project: A Fine Art & Photography Essay of Survivors. The BCABPP is a powerful project by photographer and artist Michael D. Michael. The accompanying magazines chronicle the beautiful art, womena and their stories. The magazine is available in hard copy and digital formats. The premier issue is available for free.

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View selected images on our Community Art pages.

kicking cancer book cover

Kicking Cancer in the Kitchen, by Annette Ramke and Kendall Scott

Kicking Cancer in the Kitchen is the bible for the woman who has been handed the cancer card--and for the one who never wants to get it. Authors Annette Ramke and Kendall Scott are cancer survivors, so they know exactly what it's like to deal with "the Big C." Here they share, girlfriend-style, real-life knowledge and experience about the healing power of food, along with their stories of cancer ups and downs with more than 100 recipes for fighting cancer and soothing symptoms of treatment. Whether someone is in the thick of "Cancer World" and wants to know what to expect, or for anyone who wants to do all they can to boost their health, Kicking Cancer in the Kitchen offers guidance on not only surviving, but thriving-before, during, and after cancer.

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cancer time bomb

Cancer Time Bomb: How the BRCA Gene Stole My Tits and Eggs, by Joelle Burnette

After finding out she tested positive for the BRCA genetic mutation, Cancer Time Bomb is Joelle Burnette’s non-fiction narrative about her prophylactic journey to becoming a “previvor” and free from breast and ovarian cancers. This powerful story chronicles Joelle’s 3-year odyssey as she justifies slicing away healthy parts of her body that have high odds of producing cancer. While pressured by surgeons and family to take drastic measures that would lessen cancer’s potential threat, she offers insight into what it feels like to face these decisions while not having cancer.

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now-what-book-cover

 

Now What?: A Patient’s Guide to Recovery after Mastectomy, by Amy Curran Baker

In 2008, Amy Curran Baker was diagnosed with invasive ductal carcinoma and within three weeks of her diagnosis underwent a bilateral mastectomy with reconstruction. After her surgery, she had lots of questions, the same that most women will have. As an occupational therapist, she knew many of the answers but many more came from speaking with other women who had undergone similar procedures, from researching message boards and from a little bit of luck. This book provides information women need after mastectomy and reconstruction surgery so that they can focus on what matters most: healing and staying well.

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legacy for donna book cover

Legacy for Donna, by Denise Rodda R.P.N.

In this personal and gripping account of nursing her dying sister who lost her battle with hereditary cancer, Denise Rodda, a BRCA2 previvor, shares her insights from the experience and her plea for awareness of one’s family medical history.

This book chronicles and examines the genetic predisposition in Denise Rodda’s family and explains the vital need for families to learn from their Preventative Health Genealogies and extended family tree. It is hoped that those dealing with a genetic cancer predisposition will give this book to their relatives who could benefit from this lesson. The book relegates compassion and understanding of a palliative death, sharing a family story so others can benefit from their personal lesson. A donation per book sold is given to the cancer care unit at the author’s local hospital.

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eating the underworld book cover

Eating The Underworld, by Doris Brett

When Doris Brett was diagnosed with ovarian cancer several years ago, she began writing a private journal - a traveler's diary through a life-threatening illness. Evocatively told via three voices - the diarist, the poet, and the voice of fairytale and myth, Eating The Underworld is a sharply observed, often unexpectedly funny book about change, transformation and the constant renewal of self throughout our lives. "Extraordinary...Its bravery, irony, humor and intelligence - everything shines through the transparent prose...a remarkable literary voice, or melding of three voices--the autobiographical, the poetic, and the allegorical."
- Dr. Oliver Sacks

Eating the Underworld is now available for the first time in the US via the Amazon Kindle. The author is donating 20% of all Kindle proceeds to FORCE.

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Pieces of Me

Pieces of Me, by Veronica Neave

Pieces of Me is a true, sometimes funny and sometimes difficult account of Veronica Neave's journey from initial diagnosis as a BRCA2 gene mutation carrier and her decision to have a prophylactic bilateral mastectomy. Along the way, she shares her choices, insights and fears as she considers various perspectives and eventually finds inner peace.

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Off the Rack by Genae Girard

Off the Rack, by Genae Girard

In this illuminating, heart-felt and bittersweet humorous book, cancer survivor Genae Girard shares her personal journey through the raw pain of a cancer diagnosis to a "new normal" way of vital living. She reveals her innermost thoughts with a surprising candor and unique, quirky creativity to help others have a fresh perspective in understanding this life-changing disease. There is power in self-education, taking control of the medical treatment process and being able to get real in handling the scary stuff by keeping a sense of humor about it all.

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What We Have

What We Have, by Amy Boesky

The stirring true story of a woman who chose fearlessness in the face of a fatal family legacy and discovered the pleasure of living each moment to its fullest.  In What We Have, Boesky tells the story of one year in her family’s life. A year that is filled with wonderful and funny life changing moments – finding a dream house and having a new baby as well as life’s tragedies – the phone call from their parents disclosing their mother’s breast cancer.

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Breast Reconstruction Guidebook

The Breast Reconstruction Guidebook: Issues and Answers from Research to Recovery — Third Edition, by Kathy Steligo

The Rx for understanding mastectomy and reconstruction. The Breast Reconstruction Guidebook is THE resource for women considering reconstructive surgery. 'Finally, women have a blueprint of the reconstruction process. They have choices. This book explains them all.' Sue Friedman, Exec. Dir. Facing Our Risk of Cancer Empowered (FORCE).

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In the Family

In the Family

At 31, filmmaker Joanna Rudnick faces an impossible decision: remove her breasts and ovaries or risk incredible odds of developing cancer.

Armed with a positive genetic test result that leaves her essentially 'a ticking time bomb,' she balances dreams of having her own children with the unnerving reality that she is risking her life by holding on to her fertility. In The Family follows Joanna as she takes us on a journey through the unpredictable world of predictive genetic testing.

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letters from home book cover

Letters from Home explores fifteen basic American virtues in the form of letters to the authors' four sons. More about Letters from Home ...

The authors are donating their royalties to FORCE, Memorial Sloan Kettering, and Share Our Strength.

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Positive Results

Positive Results is a comprehensive source of information and advice to help women (and some men) at high risk for breast and for ovarian cancer because of family history and genetic profile. More about Positive Results ...

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mirror-makevovers book cover

 

In Mirror Makeovers Regina Savage talks about finding yourself, dealing with your emotions, and moving ahead one day at a time. More about Mirror Makeovers ...

Use FORCE at checkout and a donation will be made to FORCE.

Quiet Angel Publishing

Previvors

 

In Previvors Dina Roth Port addresses the universal questions of women everywhere who have watched family members suffer from the disease and wondered, "Am I next?"  More about Previvors ...

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Join a Local Group

FORCE has outreach groups throughout the United States and in Essex, United Kingdom that meet periodically to offer peer support, and share resources.