Wollongong's Jo Spicer was given the cold, hard medical facts upon receiving her cancer diagnosis - but no-one shared tips on how to deal with the emotional turmoil.
Nor was the now 52-year-old given any advice on how to deal with practical issues like work and finances, relationships and family, while on her cancer journey.
That's why she's shared those aspects of her battle - and also the inspiring stories of around 30 other cancer survivors - in a new book which she'll launch on Saturday.
The guide, Survive and Thrive: How Cancer Saves Lives, offers tips and advice from mostly Illawarra residents who have overcome a myriad of cancers including melanoma, lymphoma, bladder, tongue, lung, breast and prostate.
"I was diagnosed with CIN 3 and told I was at high risk of cervical cancer at 39, and underwent a hysterectomy," Ms Spicer said.
"Then, aged 45, I was diagnosed with extra nodal marginal zone lymphoma, after I presented with a lump in my breast.
"Both times I was given all the medical information I needed, but I was never given any indication of what my journey would look like.
"How would I feel? Would my hair fall out? How would I cope with work, with looking after my children? Was I going to die?
"Cancer doesn't just impact you physically, but emotionally and practically too, and I didn't know where to get the answers I sought."
The mother-of-two finished chemotherapy two years ago, and continues to have regular checks.
A member of the South Coast Writers Centre, she believes her purpose now is to "make a difference through words".
"The thing with cancer is that it's never over, the best you'll get is annual check-ups," she said.
"One of the hardest things is that everyone is so concerned when you're in hospital, or undergoing treatment, but after that finishes you're expected just to pop back into life like nothing's happened.
"The book contains the stories of those aged three to 76 years old, and they talk about why they made the choices they did, whether they had any regrets, what they would change.
"They offer real tips and strategies patients and caregivers can use to guide them from diagnosis to recovery."
Contributers include Luciana, a Wollongong lawyer, diagnosed with aggressive breast cancer at 44 and Renee, who was just 33 when told she had stage four Hodgkin's lymphoma.
Bulli couple Luke and Katie - whose daughter Harper was just 12 days old when she started chemo for retinoblastoma - also share their story.
"For us, it's important to tell our story and help those organisations that we believe in or who have helped us personally," Luke said.
"If we can use our story to help other families going through childhood cancer treatment or even prevent it altogether, then why wouldn't we?"
Ms Spicer will launch her book at Wollongong Salvos at 10.30am on Saturday, March 23. Book your free ticket here.
Among the speakers will be representatives from CancerAid, Breast Aware Australia and the Illawarra Shoalhaven Local Health District.
"This book will contribute to better outcomes and a more holistic approach to cancer treatment," ISLHD executive director of medical services and clinical governance Dr Mark Bassett said.
"In addition to the many amazing stories, the book contains wonderful practical advice for cancer patients, families and support persons."