“I found this book to be an easy read because Bill and I agree with one another… Bill is definitely a native guide, so you can trust his lead. Follow his umbrella as he takes you through this complex but manageable maze.”

— Bernie Siegel, M.D.
Author, A Book of Miracles


“I am so grateful to Bill for writing this book. I encourage – enthusiastically – folks passing through Cancerville to take along this travel atlas!”

— George P. Kansas
Survivor and Author, iCanSir


About the Author

In 2005, Dr. William Penzer, a psychologist for more than 40 years, found himself sitting anxiously with his wife in a surgical waiting room at New York’s well-known Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center. Their 31-year-old daughter had been diagnosed with breast cancer.

Nothing in Dr. Penzer’s life or his work had prepared him for this experience. Like a traveler lost in a foreign land, which he soon came to call Cancerville, this loving father and seasoned psychologist discovered the pain-filled reality of trying to cope with his own emotions, while helping his daughter during such a difficult time.

In this groundbreaking book, Dr. Penzer guides you every step of the way to better support yourself and your loved one through this demanding journey. With his characteristic warmth and wit, he candidly draws upon his personal and professional experiences to help you more comfortably and effectively rise to the challenges of Cancerville.

Dr. Penzer, a licensed psychologist in Florida, maintains an active private practice in Ft. Lauderdale and Boca Raton. He specializes in anxiety, panic and phobias, depression, and couple/family conflicts, as well as helping people cope better with health related issues. More information about his work as well as the many helpful articles he has written can be found at www.humanisticcenter.com. Dr. Penzer also writes an upbeat, inspiring, or humorous blog every business day at www.mindlymatters.com.


William Penzer, Ph.D. did not cope well initially, when his 31-year-old daughter was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2005. A psychologist for more than 40 years, this strong lifeguard on the emotional beach, adept at skillfully helping people navigate the choppy waters life can churn, was literally drowning in those waters.

He felt like he had entered a foreign land—Cancerville—and searched for the equivalent of a Frommer or Fodor, but he found none! On July 8th, 2005 as he sat in the waiting room of Memorial Sloan-Kettering, while his daughter underwent a mastectomy, he made a solemn pledge to himself. “If she and we get through this okay, I will devote the rest of my career and life guiding people on their journey through Cancerville.”

All has gone very well and he continues to fulfill his promise. Dr Penzer:

  1. Travels around the country conducting free workshops for patients and caregivers (whom he has renamed “heart and soul givers”).
  2. Has written three well-regarded books in less than three years. How to Cope Better When Someone You Love Has Cancer, How to Cope Better When You Have Cancer, and I’m Not Only a Cancer Patient I’m a Survivor: A Workbook for Adults.
  3. Earned the respect and support of the American Cancer Society (with whom he is planning a workshop series), the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society  (who have purchased 80 copies of each book for their libraries around the country and Canada), received the unconditional support of Bernie Siegel, M.D., for each book (who wrote the Foreword for “How to Cope Better When You Have Cancer”).
  4.  Has spoken on a panel at the OMG Stupid Cancer program for young survivors in Las Vegas, appeared on the stupid cancer radio program and was part of a roundtable for that organization for “heart and soul givers” this summer, to help that organization strengthen their outreach to parents of young adult survivors..
  5. Has presented workshops two years in a row at the Stowe VT Weekend of Hope.
  6. Has presented at the Florida Oncological Social Workers conference.
  7. Had pages from “How to Cope Better When Someone You Love Has Cancer” reprinted by Coping with Cancer Magazine and an article, “Five Things to Put in Your Backpack When Going for Treatment in Cancerville” published in that magazine as well.
  8. Offers free or low cost counseling assistance to families dealing with cancer at his Humanistic Center for Counseling Services in Plantation FL
  9. Created a cancerville.com web site where the books can be previewed, resources found, and watch a wonderful video of his daughter being married in a Maasai Village in Tanzania, three years after treatment.
  10. Gives away as many or more of the books than are sold to anyone who can benefit from them.
  11.  Is planning a CD with George Kansas, author of iCanSir, called “Changing the Language and Landscape of Cancerville.”
  12. Has three more cancer-related books he plans to write—the next one being a Workbook for Young Adults.
  13. Sponsored a Relay for Life Team for the American Cancer Society in 2013 that raised $6500 for the Plantation FL Relay.
  14. Has appeared on 20 radio shows across the country in 2013.
  15. Gives away Tranquility: Zen and Now (a relaxation CD) and a DVD that helps people relax, to anyone dealing with cancer who needs them.
  16. Is in the process of creating a Pinky doll to raise money for breast cancer. (see pages 16 and 17 of How to Cope Better When Someone You Love Has Cancer).
  17. Has signed an agreement with a major book distributor for them to promote and sell the books all over the country.
  18. Offers free support over email to anyone who writes him.
  19. Plans to continue doing all this and more for as long as he lives.


Clearly, Dr. Penzer is a man on a mission to reach out and help people dealing with cancer. He says:


 “Cancerville is a rough and tumble place. People need to take it on with strength, courage, hope, grace, and faith. My goal is to help people become ‘Dam Strong!’ survivors. Toward that goal I am a man on a mission and will continue pursuing every avenue of support in every way I can. Positive missions are important, especially in these most complicated times, and most especially, in the challenging place I call Cancerville!”