My Parent Has Cancer & It Really Sucks – A Review & Giveaway!

When a parent has cancer, it’s hard on the children no matter what their ages. I understand this truth from both sides of the cancer fence. I’ve been the “child”. I’ve been the parent. The view from both vantage points is pretty darn lousy.

However, if you are the parent of young children or teenagers and have been diagnosed with cancer, obviously the circumstances and issues are a whole lot different than when the children are adults.

If you are a teen whose parent has been diagnosed with cancer, the new book, My Parent Has Cancer and It Really Sucks:  Real-Life Advice From Real-life Teens by Maya Silver and Marc Silver, can help.

If you are the parent with the diagnosis, or the partner/caregiver of that parent, this book can help you as well.

Teenagers are old enough to more fully understand the implications and ramifications of a parent’s cancer diagnosis, but at the same time, they may also feel especially vulnerable and perhaps hesitant as well to discuss their worries and concerns. It might be hard for them to formulate questions or know who to ask or where to turn for reliable information.

The authors of My Parent Has Cancer and It Really Sucks understand.

Marc Silver’s wife was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2001 (today she is in good health). At the time, his daughter and co-author, Maya, was 15 years old. They’ve both been there. That experience led to Marc’s first book, Breast Cancer Husband. Now it’s Maya’s turn to share some of what she learned as the daughter of a mom diagnosed with breast cancer.

When you hear the words, you have cancer, your entire life is turned up-side-down. Your family’s life is too.

Suddenly everything is different. No kidding!

As stated in chapter one:

“Before cancer:  You were a typical teenager. After the cancer news:  Everything seems different.”

My Parent Has Cancer And It Really Sucks honestly and openly tackles the questions, fears and emotions that many teenagers face after learning a parent has cancer. It offers sound and practical advice on how to keep communicating, handle stress, face friends, seek support, carry on as normally as possible at school and figure out cancer lingo, to name a few. There are tips and words of wisdom offered throughout the book, not only from Maya, but also from other teens who have been there as well; teens who have also had a parent diagnosed with cancer.

One of my favorite basic messages in the book (no surprise) is that everyone is entitled to their own way of coping. I love the two rules clearly stated in the intro:

Rule #1:  Teens don’t feel guilty.You have your own way of coping, and you don’t have to behave like any other teen in this book.

Love that rule!

I’m pretty sure most teens will too.

As I mentioned, this book is also a great resource for parents. If you are the one with the cancer, or if you are the other parent, there are tips in here for you as well.

And Rule #2 is for you:  Parents do not use this book to make your teen talk if he or she doesn’t want to talk.

This means no pressuring!

Good communication is not forced, but rather is encouraged and allowed to happen.

One tip the authors suggest (one of my favorites), is that sometimes the car is the best place to open up frank dialogue.

I often found it a bit easier to talk about certain things with my kids while driving around in the car – of course, during serious talks, the parent should be the one behind the wheel.

My Parent Has Cancer And It Really Sucks is full of many more tips and words of wisdom to help teenagers, and those who care about them, make their way through the maze that is cancer.

So if you are a teen, a parent with a cancer diagnosis, know a teen whose parent has been diagnosed with cancer or just simply care about all teens, check out this fabulous new book.

No matter who you are, sign up for a chance to win a free copy of My Parent Has Cancer and It Really Sucks to add to your personal library, to give away or to donate to a hospital or cancer facility of your choosing. All you need to do is leave a comment below stating so by 5 pm CT on Tuesday, April 2nd and you’re in!

So sign up today!

Learn more about My Parent Has Cancer And It Really Sucks and the authors here.

NOTE:  The winner of the giveaway was KATE!

Congratulations, KATE!

Thank you to all you entered!


Have you had a parent diagnosed with cancer?

Are you a teenager who has a parent diagnosed with cancer?

Why do you want to win a free copy of this book?

31 thoughts to “My Parent Has Cancer & It Really Sucks – A Review & Giveaway!”

  1. I have two teenagers, 16 and 17…I was diagnosed with BC ten years ago, and then with secondaries last year. Each child has reacted differently this time…my girl, the eldest, “seems” to be coping, but my boy has become very withdrawn and won’t talk. I’m hoping this book with give us some ideas and my children an outlet to express their feelings.

    1. Amanda, I am sorry to hear of your secondary diagnoses. Teenagers definitely understand more and process differently. This book is a nice resource and would undoubtedly be helpful. You are in the drawing! Thanks for entering. My best to you and your family.

  2. Having lived through 2 separate cancers in one year, and 3 years of aggressive treatment, I know the value of support. Books like this and support groups are invaluable, and yes every cancer center, every patient should have a copy!

  3. When we faced my mets diagnosis a year and a half ago (and about 10 years after my initial diagnosis), my then 13-year old’s first words were, “I’m going to have to know it this time.” I’m not sure my heart has healed…this book is a wonderful gift to teens and parents alike!!

  4. Hi Nancy
    Though I found this book to be quite useful it is more geared towards a 2 parent family (to what I read) I am sure dealing with children in a 2 parent home is quite different than a single family. I am the single family home. It was a difficult time for my son In many ways still is. He does not want to talk about my cancer anything related. When you do not have family support on top it is doubly difficult. Kudos to the authors great job…
    Love Alli…..

    PS My blog is down for now someone compromised my topics I am setting up a new one hope you will re-join.. 🙂

    1. Alli, I didn’t really think it was just geared to the two-parent household. I see the advice applying in other situations as well. As with any resource, one has to garner the bits and pieces of useful info that one can from it I guess. Thanks for adding your thoughts here, Alli, and of course I’ll follow you to your new site!

  5. This sounds like a great resource, and written from the heart of experience. I too love the two rules mentioned early in the book. Good communication needs opportune moments, not forced moments. And I think it is so important to help people, young and old, see that there are as many healthy ways to cope with difficult times as there are unhealthy ones. My son was 6 when I was diagnosed, and nearly five years later, I know that my cancer experience has shaped his experience. Thanks Nancy!

    1. Lisa, Yes, I love those two rules – they’re so important. It must have been difficult for you to worry about your young son when you were diagnosed. Of course, it’s always hard and one always worries about the children, but when they are so young… This book is a great resource. Thanks for entering my giveaway!

  6. This sounds like a great book Nancy. Thanks for the review. My daughter is 15 now and even though I was diagnosed 6 years ago I feel like she is dealing with my cancer in a whole new way now. I think the family goes through different stages just like the survivor does. As you grow and change it might not get easier it will just get different.

    1. Debbie, That is an excellent point. I had not really thought about that, but I think you’re exactly right. Thanks so much for sharing that valuable insight.

  7. This sounds like a wonderful book. My bc diagnosis was just 2 months ago. My daughters are 9 & 6 yrs old. They understand more than we think. I will be getting this book for at least my older daughter we. We are still in the early parts of our journey and I believe this book will help me understand what they are thinking. I wish they didn’t have to grow up so fast because of me.

    1. Tracey, I’m sorry you and your family have to deal with cancer. I’m sure your daughters do understand more than you sometimes think they do, but undoubtedly they probably have quite a few questions and worries and perhaps are unable to articulate them. That’s one reason this is such a great resource. Though it is targeted to teens, much of it pertains to children of your daughters’ ages too. Thanks so much for commenting. You’re in the drawing!

    1. Shelli, I think you are being way to hard on yourself, Shelli. We all do the best we can. But you’re so right, this is an important topic. You’re in!

  8. Nancy, I think this book could be very helpful for my girl as she grows (she is turning 10). In addition to dealing with my stage 4 bc diagnosis, there is breast and lung cancer on her dad’s side and her aunt is dealing with a rare cancer now. This is too much cancer for one family. And IT REALLY SUCKS!

    1. Kate, Yes, there’s too much cancer in your family for sure. I’m sorry. This book might help. Thanks for entering my giveaway.

  9. I was diagnosed with stage 4 colon cancer in January. My boys (19 & 23) seem to be handling things ok but I hurt for my 16 yr old daughter. She has taken on a lot of responsibility with helping me get through each day. Her school work has suffered as a result. She has also withdrawn somewhat from her friends. I hope that reading this book will give her some insight into what she is feeling and help her to cope with my diagnosis.

    1. Brenda, I’m sorry about your recent diagnosis. It certainly does impact the whole family doesn’t it? I do think this book might be a help to your daughter, and perhaps even your older children. Just reading about the experiences of others who’ve faced the same thing, can really help sometimes. Thanks for the commenting. I wish you and your family the best.

  10. Hello Fellow Cancer Warrior!

    My name is Allison and I read your survival blog and it truly has moved me! I wanted to introduce myself and my new t-shirt line to you. I wanted to start a tshirt line because I had a few bad days due to chemotherapy and just wanted to scream out to the world how I felt. One night I had a vision to express myself and others on how we felt about cancer! And my dream came true with I am doing something special in the beginning of the line and that is limited editions. Part of the proceeds will go to non-profit cancer organizations. I would love for you to take a minute to look at my line and even spread it through out your friends and family. Im also on facebook under Warrior Tee Shirts. Thank you so much and continue to live a beautiful cancer free life!

    Allison Warrior Pickens

  11. Hi Nancy,

    Sounds like a wonderful resource! I can’t imagine going through all that as a teenager. I’ve thought a lot about how you’ve been on both spectrums of the cancer scale, and that it stinks from each vantage point.

    If I win the book, I will donate it to my hospital’s library.

    1. Beth, Well, the giveaway is over, but I still thank you for taking time to comment and yes, donating it to a hospital library would be wonderful. Maybe next time! ha. And of course, there’s no good time to be the child of a parent with cancer, but when you’re a teen, there’s a unique set of challenges and this book is a good resource for them.

  12. I’m too late for the giveaway, but I wanted to mention that I just published a guest post by Maya on my blog. It’s a great book and I’m glad for the winner. This topic needs to be addressed. xo

    1. Jan, I just read the guest post you published on your blog. Thanks for helping to spread the word about this wonderful resource, Jan. And thanks for commenting here too.

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