NO LESS A WOMAN: Ten Women Tell the Truth About Breast Cancer by Deborah Hobler Kahane

NO LESS A WOMAN: Ten Women Tell the Truth About Breast Cancer

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The quasi-oral history often breast-cancer patients, as transcribed and edited by Kahane, a program organizer for the American Cancer Society. A breast-cancer survivor herself, Kahane explains how these women successfully coped with the life-threatening illness and supplies a history of societal attitudes toward breast cancer and its past and present treatment. Kahane credits the women's liberation and consumer movements for the development of alternate, less disfiguring surgical options and for the gradual rejection of the concept that breast operations destroy femininity and turn women into ""damaged goods."" The women's stories included here describe in intimate detail what it's like to undergo the various treatments and their emotional and physical aftermath. The treatments include lumpectomies, modified radical mastectomies, radiation, and chemotherapy. Most of the women discovered the malignant growth during breast self-examination. Chemotherapy proved the real horror, causing serious vomiting and, frequently, hair loss. For those over 30, it also precipitated premature menopause; but each woman refused to accept that this made her less a woman. All learned to regard their illness as an ongoing process during which the cancer could resurface at any time. Meanwhile, some changed their lives dramatically, shedding unsatisfactory marriages, embarking on new careers, becoming more spiritual and aware of the value of each day. What could have been a mawkish report is saved by the voices of the women here, unsparing of fears and unpleasant details and able to convey the guts and wit that turned them into survivors. Still, a more wide-ranging breast-cancer book (interviews plus detailed clinical information) can be found in Amy Gross and Dee Ito's Women Talk About Breast Surgery from Diagnosis to Recovery, reviewed above.

Pub Date: June 28th, 1990
Publisher: Prentice Hall Press