Any way you look at it, mastectomy is a nightmare. But there's no reason on earth why the inescapable physical loss should be accompanied by so much emotional trauma, especially when a large part of that trauma is avoidable."" Zalon had a mastectomy in 1970 and found that, despite an unproblematic recovery and her husband's reassurances, she never felt whole. Her continuing distress led to an investigation of reconstruction possibilities, a successful operation, and a public advocacy position--on TV, in a hospital training film, and in this everything-you-need-to-know book. In the early Seventies, surgeons were inexperienced, cautious, and unwittingly callous in their attitudes: recon seemed an unnecessary vanity, possibly an encouragement to cancer. But that fear proved unfounded, the operation's been refined, and most women who want it (not everyone will) can feet safe about the prognosis. Zalon provides other first-person reports, includes one expert dissenting position, and describes preferred surgical procedures, most involving silicone implants. Many plastic surgeons now work closely with cancer surgeons; both specialists recommend a wait of six months to a year or more before the reconstruction is attempted; double mastectomy patients are better candidates. She's candid about obstacles, pleased by the proliferation of counseling groups, and in disagreement with feminists who charge widespread male-surgeon-hostility. For the one woman in thirteen who will undergo a mastoctomy, a definite option.