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Newark woman self-published her first book following her experience battling breast cancer





A cancer survivor has launched her first book aimed at inspiring and supporting those facing the challenges of working while battling cancer as she did.

Alex Kinnear-Mellor, of Newark, has self-published — Cancer Works - Balancing your career with not dying — as she comes to the end of her treatment for stage three breast cancer.

She was first diagnosed in November 2022 and 11 months later, despite the continuous, stressful and draining treatments she decided to write a book to spread positivity with real-life experiences and tips.

Alex Kinnear-Mellar who has written a book called Cancer Works, balancing your career with not dying
Alex Kinnear-Mellar who has written a book called Cancer Works, balancing your career with not dying

The book draws from her own experiences battling cancer while maintaining her professional responsibilities and offers invaluable insights, practical advice, and heartfelt encouragement to those navigating the complex intersection of work and health.

“When I got diagnosed I felt lost. I had spent so many years building up my career, it was really important to me and my first thoughts were of course my family, but very soon after, I started thinking about the things that could happen with the diagnosis and the treatments and I didn’t want to lose the career I had spent so long building up,” said Alex.

She added: “I couldn’t find a theory out there that could help me find out how to keep my career going, how to manage it and that made me feel lost.

“I didn’t want anyone else to feel like that.”

The book not only addresses the physical and emotional aspects of cancer treatment but the professional implications and strategies for managing work responsibilities effectively.

It recognises the need for comprehensive support resources, covering a wide range of topics, including practical tips for communicating with employers and colleagues about diagnosis and treatment plans, strategies for managing workload and prioritising tasks during treatment and guidance on maintaining productivity while coping with fatigue and other side effects.

“I didn’t want to cry, I needed something to inspire and motivate me and I found that quite hard to find, which is why I feel so blatant with the title.”

“The book was also very useful for reminding me of my self-worth and what I’ve come through, it was a great way of looking back and thinking I did that.

“That’s part of the journey with cancer. We have to celebrate milestones in our life, especially when going through cancer, you need those moments where you stop, look back at how far you have come and congratulate yourself.”

Alex Kinnear-Mellor's book cover
Alex Kinnear-Mellor's book cover

Alex started writing the book after having had two operations, four months of chemotherapy and two intensive radiotherapy sessions and managed to self-publish it after four weeks of writing.

“I've got a six-year-old child, so I have been dealing with this whole journey through a full-time job, being a mother, and obviously being a wife to my amazing husband, and being a friend, and a niece, and a daughter, and all these things.

“It is very important to me that you understand how this cancer affects not just you, but how it affects the people around you, and how you can support them.

“It's not just about you, it might sound like it is, but actually, it's not.”

The book, which mainly focuses on cancer and the journey that comes with it, also teaches friends and family how to communicate and advises on how to support and understand the challenges.

As a full-time worker, Alex considers work to have been a great distraction from the challenges she was facing with cancer.

She aims with her book to also raise awareness among employers and company owners who might not have alternatives or be considerate towards their employees undergoing treatments or battling cancer.

“ I do understand that not everybody will have such an understanding company and that's the important thing for me, how do we change that narrative?

“How do we hold a mirror up to employers and say, listen, this is a reality, it's coming, more and more people will have cancer.

“And how do we support them with their self-worth and their identity?

“I said this at the start of the book, it's very important to me to not be defined by my cancer, I want to be defined by my reaction to it.”

Alex Kinnear-Mellor
Alex Kinnear-Mellor

Despite being an extremely positive person, always looking for the light at the end of the tunnel and appreciating life and all that comes with it, Alex opened up about what was for her, the hardest part of her cancer journey.

“The hardest thing was thinking that I might not be here for my son. That breaks my heart to this day, the thought that he would grow up without a mummy. That will always bring tears to my eyes.

“There's no guarantee it won't come back, so we have to keep fighting and that will always be the hardest thing for me.

“The thought he would grow up without a mummy just breaks my heart.”

The book’s last chapter is called Thank You, where Alex describes how she grateful she is every day for everything she has, does and is.

“I am so grateful for the journey, I really am.

“It was tough and it was challenging, but my goodness me, I am proud of my reaction to it and it really has reaffirmed the strength I have and the incredible relationships I have with my family and friends.”

The book is available for same on Amazon and those interested can visit her website .

An audiobook version will be released next week.

“Seek out positive people and positive stories because at this moment, it's your fight and you can choose how you're going to fight it.

“You need to surround yourself with people who are positive, who are going to push you forward, who believe in you, you have to be strong in that respect and you can change that.

“We have it within us so whatever comes our way, we have to see it as a chapter, and we're going to get through it.”



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