Hide Sora notification

Try Sora - the student reading app, by OverDrive

Apple App Store
Google Play Store
  Main Nav
My Parent Has Cancer and It Really Sucks
Cover of My Parent Has Cancer and It Really Sucks
My Parent Has Cancer and It Really Sucks
Borrow Borrow Borrow
Real-life advice from real-life teens Currently one million American teenagers live with a parent who is fighting cancer. It's a hard blow for those already navigating high school, preparing for...
Real-life advice from real-life teens Currently one million American teenagers live with a parent who is fighting cancer. It's a hard blow for those already navigating high school, preparing for...
Available Formats-
  • Kindle Book
  • OverDrive Read
  • EPUB eBook
  • Available:
  • Library copies:

Recommended for you



  • Real-life advice from real-life teens
    Currently one million American teenagers live with a parent who is fighting cancer. It's a hard blow for those already navigating high school, preparing for college, and becoming increasingly independent. My Parent Has Cancer and It Really Sucks is the first book written especially for teens to help during this tough time.

    Author Maya Silver was 15 when her mom was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2001. She and her dad, Marc, have combined their family's personal experience with advice from dozens of medical professionals and real stories from 100 teens—all going through the same thing Maya did.

    In a highly designed, engaging style, this book gives practical guidance that includes:
    • how to talk about the diagnosis (and what does diagnosis even mean, anyway?)
    • the best outlets for stress (punching a wall is not a great one, but should it happen, there are instructions for a patch job)
    • how to deal with friends (especially one the ones with 'pity eyes')
    • whether to tell the teachers and guidance counselors and what they should know (how not to get embarrassed in class)
    • what happens in a therapy session and how to find a support group if you want one

    A special section for parents also gives tips on strategies for sharing the news, making sure your child doesn't become the parent, what to do if the outlook is grim, and tips for how to live life after cancer.

    My Parent Has Cancer and It Really Sucks allows teens to see that they are not alone. That no matter how rough things get, they will get through this difficult time. That everything they're feeling is ok. Essays from Gilda Radner's "Gilda's Club" annual contest are an especially poignant and moving testimony of how other teens dealt with their family's situation.


    "Wisely crafted into a wonderfully warm, engaging and informative book that reads like a chat with a group of friends with helpful advice from the experts."
    Paula K. Rauch MD, Director of the Marjorie E. Korff Parenting At a Challenging Time Program

    "A must read for parents, kids, teachers and medical staff who know anyone with cancer. You will learn something on every page."
    Anna Gottlieb, MPA, Founder and CEO Gilda's Club Seattle

    "This book is a 'must have' for oncologists, cancer treatment centers and families with teenagers."
    Kathleen McCue, MA, LSW, CCLS, Director of the Children's Program at The Gathering Place, Cleveland, OH

    "My Parent Has Cancer and It Really Sucks provides a much-needed toolkit for teens coping with a parent's cancer. In this honest and heart-felt guide, Marc Silver and his daughter, Maya, present direct, no-nonsense and helpful advice."
    Jane Saccaro, CEO of Camp Kesem, a camp for children who have a parent with cancer

    "Marc and Maya Silver have skillfully blended the voices of teens, parents and experts...This book is knowing, pragmatic, and attuned to the challenges of growing into one's self while having to attend to a parent's needs."
    Barry J. Jacobs, Psy.D., clinical psychologist and author of The Emotional Survival Guide for Caregivers

    "A valuable resource for teenagers and their families."
    Seth Berkowitz, LCSW, CCLS, Patient Services Manager, Southern Florida Chapter of The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society


  • From the book

    From the Introduction:

    We hope that the voices in this book create a community of support to give you strength as you deal with your parent's cancer. Because if you can learn from the 20/20 hindsight and mistakes of others who've been there, you'll be better prepared to handle the situations you will encounter.

    A parent's cancer is uncharted territory, and the uncertainty about what's happening and what's next can be nerve-racking. "Among the things I wish I was told with more clarity is: here's what your mom's going to be going through, here's what you need to do, what you need to be aware of..." said Aaron, who was a teen when his mom had breast cancer. This book doesn't have all the answers, but it will provide you with an idea of what might be going on-and how to get the information you need if your parents aren't good communicators.

    One of the most important things we learned from interviewing so many teens—and one of the themes of this guide—is that everyone deals with their parent's cancer differently. Some people cope just fine. Others have a very hard time. A lot depends on the nature of the diagnosis. Is your parent facing a cancer that has a good treatment success rate? Or is the cancer a difficult one to treat?

    Your reaction also depends on you. Personalities differ. Some teens want lots and lots of information. Others want the bare minimum. Some worry a great deal. Others feel confident that everything will be okay. Some lose their focus at school and see grades slip. Others hyper-focus on keeping grades up. Some want to talk about it all. Others don't. And that's okay.

    One thing we can all agree on, though, is that cancer sucks. For everyone involved. We hope this book will help you cope in the months and years ahead.

    As hard as times may get, you will make it through. Take it from Bailee Richardson, who was twelve when her mom was diagnosed: "Stay strong. Everything's going to work itself out in the end. Don't ever let it get the best of you."

    Finally, here are two rules for this book:

    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.

    Rule 2: Parents, do not use the book to make your teen talk if he or she doesn't want to talk.

    Read on!

About the Author-

  • Marc Silver is the author of Breast Cancer Husband. He is currently deputy editor for text at National Geographic magazine and lives in Baltimore, Maryland.

Table of Contents-



    Chapter 1 THE NEWS

    1.1 A Hunch

    1.2 Why Your Parents Told You the Way They Did

    1.3 Why You Reacted the Way You Did

    1.4 A Charged Word

    Chapter 2 CANCER 101

    2.1 The Big Question Marks

    2.2 Treatments and Their Side Effects

    2.3 The Cure: Why Isn't There One Yet?

    2.4 True or False

    2.5 Tell Me More!


    3.1 How Much Do You Want to Know?

    3.2 What If You're Out of the Loop?

    3.3 Reality Check: How Far in the Know Can You Go?

    3.4 How to Keep Talking...Even If It's in Writing


    4.1 Teenage Change Is Normal!

    4.2 Cancer Sneaking Up on You

    4.3 Changes to Expect

    4.4 Changes in Your Parent

    4.5 Siblings


    5.1 How It Happens

    5.2 Catching a Break

    5.3 Silence Isn't Golden

    5.4 The Big Picture


    6.1 How to Beat the Cancer Blues

    6.2 Exploring the Options

    Chapter 7 RISKY BUSINESS

    7.1 Former Bad Boys: Gary and Jose Turn It Around

    7.2 Former Bad Girls: True Confessions


    8.1 Think Positive

    8.2 Faith and Spirituality


    9.1 What You Do (and Don't) Want from Your Friends

    9.2 Girls Are from Mercury, Boys Are from Neptune

    9.3 Accepting Help

    9.4 Have Fun with Your Friends If You Can

    9.5 But Can They Still Come Over?

    9.6 Social Networks: Facebook, Twitter, Blogs, and More

    9.7 Dealing with Friend Problems

    9.8 New Friends

    Chapter 10 SCHOOL DAZE

    10.1 School = More Stress or a Place to Escape?

    10.2 To Announce or Not to Announce

    10.3 Telling the School

    10.4 How the School Can Help

    10.5 Dilemmas, Dilemmas

    10.6 Keeping Grades Up

    10.7 The Need to Achieve

    10.8 Pulling a Bueller

    Chapter 11 SEEKING SUPPORT

    11.1 The Adult Who Knows You

    11.2 Seeing a Therapist

    11.3 Group Support


    12.1 Facing the News

    12.2 How Long Do We Have?

    12.3 When the Bad News Isn't All Bad

    12.4 Finding Hope When Things Seem Hopeless

    12.5 Living for the Moment

    12.6 A Different Kind of Hope

    12.7 What If You Feel Closer to the Parent with Cancer?

    12.8 Avoidance

    12.9 Making Memories


    13.1 A Dictionary of Emotions

    13.2 Mourning Doesn't Come with an Expiration Date

    13.3 All Kinds of Questions

    13.4 Life Goes On

    13.5 Dealing with Your Emotions

    13.6 School Can Be a Comfort...or a Pain

    13.7 Music Can Make It Better

    13.8 Staying Connected


    14.1 What Happens Now?

    14.2 New Normal Hiccups and Surprises

    14.3 Struggling in the Aftermath

    14.4 Becoming an Activist

    14.5 Same Old You

    14.6 Silver Linings



  • Kirkus

    February 15, 2013
    A guide for teens who have a parent with cancer is chock-full of information and advice but sometimes misses the mark. The authors, the husband and now-adult daughter of a woman who had cancer, include advice and personal experience from social workers, teens whose parents have or have had cancer, and adults who were teens when their parents were diagnosed. One chapter explicates common cancer terms; others offer advice for finding support, communicating with family and friends, and dealing with the loss of a parent. Although the many voices offer a variety of perspectives, the book assumes a middle-class, suburban readership: All families are assumed to have cars, and a chapter on "parentification" assumes that any teen taking on a parental role after a parent's diagnosis will be doing so for the first time. Gender-based assumptions seem more harmful than helpful (why separate the "Risky Business" chapter into stories about "Bad Boys" and "Bad Girls" when the behaviors described are all very similar?), and a few of the bits of helpful advice are downright baffling ("Don't spend [your time with a dying parent] down in the dumps. You don't want to have false hope. Hope is an important thing to have"). There are some helpful ideas and anecdotes here, but it's not for every teen. (Nonfiction. 12-18)

    COPYRIGHT(2013) Kirkus Reviews, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

  • School Library Journal

    May 1, 2013

    Gr 7 Up-This well-organized handbook aims to guide teens through the experience of having an ill parent. Offering "survival tips" from those who have experienced the ordeal firsthand and including "words of wisdom" from trained professionals, it provides honest, practical, and heartfelt advice. Short chapters include "Let's Talk: How to Keep Your Family Communication Lines Wide Open," "How Things Will Change During Cancer," "Dealing with Stress," "The Power (and the Limits) of Optimism and Faith," "Seeking Support," "Facing a Dire Prognosis," and "Losing a Parent to Cancer." Readers are reminded that "cancer doesn't follow rules" and can impact families of any background. The Silvers effectively provide guidance and insight for teens seeking the ability to cope so that "the new normal" (a term used to describe life after cancer) can be realized.-Kathryn Diman, Bass Harbor Memorial Library, Bernard, ME

    Copyright 2013 School Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

  • Booklist

    March 1, 2013
    Grades 7-12 An estimated one million teens in America live with a parent who has suffered from cancer. This guide for coping with the scary reality of serious illness is written by a father-daughter team who have had plenty of experienceMarc's wife and Maya's mother is a cancer survivor. Drawing on their experiences, the Silvers offer advice for finding solace in people who have been there and who have found ways to cope. The book is fairly comprehensive, addressing changes in a teen's own identity as well as changes in family and homelife that are beyond his or her control. Pragmatic suggestions are offered, such as maintaining routines, finding artistic outlets for intense emotion, and using exercise to help cope with stress. Honest discussions center on both the power of optimism but also on facing the most dire prognoses and the very real possibility of losing a parent. It's admirable that the authors don't sugarcoat the realities of cancer and will speak with an honesty that teens will identify with and find comfort in.(Reprinted with permission of Booklist, copyright 2013, American Library Association.)

  • Staten Island Advance "A comprehensive how-to-get-through-it guide that includes insight from dozens of medical professionals and 100 teens."
  • Examiner.com "A first of its kind guide written especially for teenagers who have a parent fighting cancer."
  • Let Life Happen "Every household with children should have access to this book. It answers more questions than I would have ever considered myself and it puts a perspective on the importance of how this disease changes everyone's life. ... It also reminds us that if we always consider each other and respect each other and work together, we can get through anything that life brings our way – including cancer."
  • Nancy's Point ""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." - Nancy's Point"
  • Library Media Connection "This accessible book has topics ranging from what to do when you first learn the news, to how to manage stress and friendships, to coping with a parent's dire prognosis. ... This is the book for librarians to recommend to students in this situation."
  • Library Media Connection "For teens dealing with a parent's cancer and who might feel as though no one understands what they're going through ... This is the book for librarians to recommend to students in this situation."

Title Information+

  • Publisher
  • Kindle Book
    Release date:
  • OverDrive Read
    Release date:
  • EPUB eBook
    Release date:

Digital Rights Information+

  • Copyright Protection (DRM) required by the Publisher may be applied to this title to limit or prohibit printing or copying. File sharing or redistribution is prohibited. Your rights to access this material expire at the end of the lending period. Please see Important Notice about Copyrighted Materials for terms applicable to this content.

You've reached your checkout limit.

Visit your Checkouts page to manage your titles.


You already have this title checked out.

Want to go to your Checkouts?


Recommendation Limit Reached.

You have reached the maximum number of titles you are allowed to recommend at this time. You can recommend up to 99 titles every 1 days.


Sign in to recommend this title.

Recommend this title for your digital library.


Enhanced Details:


Limited availability

Availability can change throughout the month based on the library's budget.

is available for days.

Once playback starts, you have hours to view the title.




There are no copies of this issue left to borrow. Please try to borrow this title again when a new issue is released.


The OverDrive Read format of this eBook has professional narration that plays while you read in your browser. Learn more here.



Total holds:



Some format options have been disabled. You may see additional download options outside of this network.


MP3 audiobooks are only supported on macOS 10.6 (Snow Leopard) through 10.14 (Mojave). Learn more about MP3 audiobook support on Macs.


Please update to the latest version of the OverDrive app to stream videos.


You've reached your library's checkout limit for digital titles.

To make room for more checkouts, you may be able to return titles from your Checkouts page.


Excessive Checkout Limit Reached.

There have been too many titles checked out and returned by your account within a short period of time.

Try again in several days. If you are still not able to check out titles after 7 days, please contact Support.


You have already checked out this title. To access it, return to your Checkouts page.


This title is not available for your card type. If you think this is an error contact support.


An unexpected error has occurred.

If this problem persists, please contact support.



NOTE: Barnes and Noble® may change this list of devices at any time.

Recommend this title for your digital library
My Parent Has Cancer and It Really Sucks
My Parent Has Cancer and It Really Sucks
Marc Silver
Buy it now
and support our digital library!
My Parent Has Cancer and It Really Sucks
My Parent Has Cancer and It Really Sucks
Marc Silver
A portion of your purchase goes to support your digital library.
Barnes & Noble Sign In |   Sign In

The first time you select “Send to NOOK,” you will be taken to a Barnes & Noble page to sign into (or create) your NOOK account. You should only have to sign into your NOOK account once to link it to your library account. After this one-time step, periodicals will be automatically sent to your NOOK account when you select "Send to NOOK."

You can read periodicals on any NOOK tablet or in the free NOOK reading app for iOS, Android or Windows 8.

Accept to ContinueCancel

Sora Turbo
Get the app!
Apple App Store
Google Play Store
Brought to you by ILC, and built with 💕 by OverDrive.

Renewing this title won't extend your lending period. Instead, it will let you borrow the title again immediately after your first lending period expires.


You can't renew this title because there are holds on it. However, you can join the holds list and be notified when it becomes available for you to borrow again.