Planet Cancer: The Frequently Bizarre Yet Always Informative Experiences and Thoughts of Your Fellow Natives

CURE, Summer 2011, Volume 10, Issue 2

Planet Cancer is a book for young adults cancer patients and survivors.

There is no good time to get cancer, but for the nearly 70,000 young adults aged 15 to 39 who are diagnosed in the United States each year there are some particularly challenging aspects that most of us never think of: Dealing with the possibility of infertility, having to move home and have your parents take care of you, or trying to traverse adolescence and cancer at the same time. For these folks, cancer takes them to a new place dubbed Planet Cancer by the authors of this book.

I love this book and don’t think it should be only for young adults because it is filled with first-person “how I did cancer and live my life” advice from those who have been there. It’s the best information you can get because it’s real. None of the glazed-over, everything -is-OK bull that lots of first-person books give you about cancer. These are people just starting life and they are irreverent and vocal and say just what they think.

The book is written in bits and bites so you can open it at any page and get a dose of, well, something. It may be a first-person account of dealing with the loss of a rectum and using a stoma or an oncology counselor’s recommendations on how to put yourself back out there to date after cancer. While the table of contents looks like many others in books about cancer, the way the authors approach the topics makes this book fun to read even when it doesn’t relate to you.

Co-author Heidi Schultz Adams , diagnosed at age 26 with a rare type of bone cancer, is the founder and executive director of Planet Cancer, a support community that includes retreats and an online following at planetcancer.org. In 2009, Planet Cancer is a program of the Lance Armstrong Foundation.