Monday, November 4, 2013

ReView of the Advanced Reader's Edition of A BREAST CANCER ALPHABET by Madhulika Sikka

Genre: NonFiction, Science
Format: Paperback
Length: 224 pages
Publisher: Crown
First Published: 2014

I did research in a pharmacology department with a specialized look at breast cancer, so when I picked up this book I was truly excited that it was going to touch on areas I had never encountered or thought about in the laboratory.  This book is not only an index on breast cancer, but it is also an index on living and surviving breast cancer.  It is about how to prepare for breast cancer when you've been told you have it to just about everything else that comes along with it.

"The biggest risk factor for breast cancer is simply being a woman.  Madhulika Sikka's A Breast Cancer Alphabet offers a new way to live with and plan past the hardest diagnosis that most women will ever receive: a personal, practical, and deeply informative look at the road from diagnosis to treatment and beyond.
What Madhulika Sikka didn't foresee when initially diagnosed, and what this book brings to life so vividly, are the unexpected and minute challenges that make navigating the world of breast cancer all the trickier.  A Breast Cancer Alphabet is an inspired reaction to what started as a personal predicament.

This A-Z guide to living with breast cancer goes where so many fear to tread: sex (S is for Sex - really?), sentimentality (J is for Journey - it's a cliché we need to dispense with), hair (H is for Hair - yes, you can make a federal case of it) and work (Q is for Quitting - there'll be days when you feel like it).  She draws an easy-to-follow, and quite memorable, map of her travels from breast cancer neophyte to seasoned veteran.

As a prominent news executive, Madhulika had access to the most cutting edge data on the disease's reach and impact.  At the same time, she craved the community of frank talk and personal insight that we rely on in life's toughest moments.  This wonderfully inventive book navigates the world of science and story, bringing readers into Madhulika's mind and experience in a way that demystifies breast cancer and offers new hope for those living with it."

I absolutely love the layout of the book.  I read through it once from beginning to end.  Aftewards, it was just fun to go back and reread some of the chapters I felt deserved some additional attention.  Each chapter is a subject on its own. It's useful for someone who already has breast cancer as a companion source of information.  It is also excellent for family members and friends of those with breast cancer to be knowledgeable and also aware of all that comes with having breast cancer.

The very beginning of the book starts with the very beginning of what to do when you receive or are preparing to receive the news.  Gather a support team.  Get prepared and ask key questions.  Prepare yourself for the possible answers.

I loved reading this book.  It's hard to summarize all the chapters into this review because every chapter must be read personally.  It's not book you want to talk about, it's a book you just have to read.

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