Off Our Chests. A Candid Tour Through the World of Cancer

Publication Date:

May 2021



Original language and publisher

Territories Handled

World excl. English

Territories Sold

China (Hunan)


Health & Lifestyle, Narrative Non-Fiction

Off Our Chests. A Candid Tour Through the World of Cancer


At once deeply personal and bracingly universal, this book can offer cancer patients and healthcare workers alike the chance to meet one of life’s most devastating situations with a rare sense of mastery and, yes, even hope. — Katie Couric, American TV Journalist

This is a wonderful and engaging book […]. Written with immense care and kindness, it reminds us of how much we’ve achieved, and how much remains to be done. — Dr Siddhartha Mukherjee, Pulitzer Prize winning author of The Emperor of All Maladies

At times their story is painful, but the uplifting parts far outweigh the hurt. One part stands out as honest and real, and that is that they both went through the experience separately, not necessarily together or by the book–but in an individual way. … For a private look inside cancer and the professional and personal issues associated with it, Off Our Chests by Liza Marshall and Dr. John Marshall is a must-read. — Readers’ Favorite

A surprisingly open memoir co-authored by the married duo of a world class oncologist and a cancer survivor about love, pain, hope, strength and resilience while navigating the overwhelming breast cancer advocacy movement. 

Off Our Chests recounts the story of Liza and John’s experience with her diagnosis and treatment. Written in alternating voices, Liza details her treatment, the complex decisions she had to make throughout her course of chemotherapy and radiation, including clinical trial participation and an elective double mastectomy, the added complexity of being treated at the cancer center of which John was the chief of hematology and oncology, and the emotional impact of knowing she may die as a young woman with young children. 

John, who lost his own mother to cancer at the age of 13, provides an inside look into the world of cancer care and research, but also the perspective of someone who understands the medicine but who was unprepared for assuming the role of caregiver and worried husband. John adds insights into his world of running the clinical operations of the cancer center where Liza would receive her care, commentary on the breast cancer machine, the need for clinical research, the high cost of cancer care, and an easy to understand explanation of the clinical and scientific background of oncology.

While they both felt that they were already expert commentators on their own “Cancer Channel” during the course of Liza’s illness, they both came to realize how little understanding they truly had of what a cancer diagnosis does to the patient, caregivers, children, family members, and friends. Liza and John share their most intimate thoughts, including many that were previously unsaid—even between the two of them. Both gain an understanding of the other’s life, a deeper appreciation of what it means to be a cancer patient, and of the emotional strains of being an oncologist where so many of the patients die on their watch.

Marketing Information

  • Featured In The Washington Post’s “10 Books To Read In May 2021”.
  • Readers Favorite Book Award Winner.
  • Cancer category winner in the NYC Big Book Awards.
  • Nonfiction Health Medical category – 1st place winner in the PenCraft Book Award