UP FRONT by Linda Dackman


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Is there sex after a mastectomy? A bracingly frank discussion of the issues by a young, single survivor of breast cancer. Dackman was 34 when she experienced a mild tenderness in her breasts and underwent a routine examination, only to learn she had an advanced case of breast cancer. A self-described ""late starter"" who was only beginning to decide what she wanted to do with her life, Dackman, public information director of San Francisco's Exploratorium, crumbled at the possibility of a premature death. Fortunately, once her right breast was removed the danger receded, but now Dackman found herself facing an urgent question: What would become of her sex life? Her question went unanswered. Not only were there no books available to help her adjust to a new identity as a ""one-breasted woman,"" but Dackman found that the counselors trained to help her recover from the trauma, who had had breast cancer themselves, were reluctant to advise her on how to blend cancer and romance. Dackman, a refreshingly blunt, streetwise ex-Brooklynite, was not to be put off. After a period of grief and recovery, she gradually taught herself to ignore the feeling that men now spoke to her only out of pity; to break the news of her situation to a potential lover; and to initiate and maintain a satisfying sexual relationship. In honestly recounting every painful detail of her first tentative postoperative encounters with the opposite sex, Dackman, who now serves as a Reach to Recovery volunteer, offers both inspiration and concrete answers. A welcome addition to breast-cancer literature.

Pub Date: Feb. 1st, 1989
Publisher: Viking