Ticking Off Breast Cancer by Sara Liyanage

About this book…

Previously an expert multi-tasker in her capacity as a busy, married, forty-two-year-old mother of two, and part time lawyer commuting into London, Sara managed her life by to-do list after to-do list. However, when breast cancer appeared on her list, Sara s life was thrown upside down and she had to make a few changes. With the combination of medical appointments, scans, and harsh treatment, Sara s dignity, grace and composure all flew out the window, but she did retain the ability to get herself organised and make a few lists to help her through the treatment. Armed with a multitude of shopping lists, to-do lists and checklists, she made it through eighteen months of gruelling cancer treatment to the other side, where, for the past couple of years, she s been basking in the glow of hair regrowth, new eyebrows and a renewed love for life. Ticking Off Breast Cancer is a chronological narrative of Sara s life from the day of her diagnosis and throughout her treatment. It follows Sara as she deals with the physical, emotional and mental challenges thrown at her by cancer and provides an honest insight into the treatment given to a breast cancer patient together with the impact that this has on someone s life. By sharing many of her to-do lists in the form of checklists at the end of each chapter, Ticking Off Breast Cancer provides thoughtful, helpful advice for every step of the way. Whether read as a companion for someone going through cancer treatment themselves, or as a guide for someone with a loved one or friend going through cancer treatment, Ticking Off Breast Cancer provides support and encouragement throughout. The book accompanies Sara s website of the same name, http://www.tickingoffbreastcancer.com, which provides practical help and support for those going through breast cancer treatment.

My review…

I must start by saying that although I’ve never had cancer (I have had one scare that shook me up but tests were able to put my mind at rest very quickly thanks to our wonderful NHS) I’ve always felt rather useless when it comes to dealing with friends and family who have been diagnosed. Ticking Off Breast Cancer is a brilliant support book for anyone recently diagnosed with any form of cancer and not just breast cancer. It also works well for those who are struggling to know how to support their partner/friend/family member as it offers advice re ways you can help and things to say (and NOT to say!) to them following their diagnosis, right through their treatment and to the after effects.

I absolutely loved the style in which the author presented her information and advice here. She’s very engaging and relatable as a busy working mum who gets through a long to-do list most days. I understood how she felt that weekends were a full schedule of children’s activities and household chores, using her list to tick things off as she went along gave her a sense of achievement so it was no surprise that she set to work on her “cancer” to-do list after her diagnosis. Her book is divided into chapters according to what stage she was at, with all chapters starting with an inspirational quote to kick start them with a positive note. And after her personal account of what she’s been through in each chapter, she gives a checklist of ideas to follow that should help you tailor her advice to your own experiences. It’s full of little hints to help take away some of the worry when attending appointments etc.

I think the reason this book works so well is the honest approach of the author Sara Liyanage. She’s very upfront but not in a scaremongering way. She’s a mum, a wife, a daughter, a sister, a work colleague, a friend and she could be any single one of us. Her busy normal lifestyle is changed beyond recognition because of hurdles that she had never even considered so for her, this book is intended to prevent others from the shocks that she had. And she’s done a really brilliant job.

Ticking Off Breast Cancer is highly recommended and I hope that the right people find it and get the most they possibly can out of it. It thoroughly deserves its place on my bookshelf!

Meet the author…

Sara Liyanage was diagnosed with HER2 positive and oestrogen positive primary breast cancer in October 2016 at the age of forty-two. Not ever expecting to be diagnosed with breast cancer and having to deal with the impact that cancer can have on an already busy life. Sara s life was turned upside down. Sara decided to use her experience to help others who were going through the same thing by setting up a breast cancer website. Sara lives in Hertfordshire with her husband of fifteen years, their two children and a dog who likes to eat socks. Sara works part-time in London as a lawyer but now spends a lot of her time writing. She writes for her website, for various cancer charities and organisations, and has spent a lot of time writing this book too!


Published by


I am a Norfolk girl living in leafy Cheshire with my grumpy Scotsman. A mum and nana who lives for my family but who is also addicted to reading (and Marmite!) I will read almost anything but my preferred genres to review are psychological thrillers, crime procedural novels or women's fiction. My kindle is my life but I also have a substantial bookshelf in my cosy reading room where I can go to escape the stresses of family life with plenty of tea and chocolate. I am a member of netgalley and bookbridg. I review on Amazon, where I'm a Top 500 reviewer, and Goodreads. You can always find me over on Twitter @jocatrobertson for any review requests.