In this book about breast cancer, Leonore Dvorkin shares both her own experience and the fruit of her extensive research. Her story is presented in a factual and matter-of-fact style, but nonetheless it is very affecting. She takes us from the chilling diagnosis of cancer, through her decision to undergo a mastectomy to try to rid herself of the disease rather than risk what seemed less definitive treatments, through the period of adjustment to her lopsided front, to her normal, happy life ten years after the surgery when she is still cancer-free and grateful for the treatment that saved her life.
It's a good read; one can open it to any page and be drawn in to a compelling narrative. There are bits about her childhood; about her careers as language tutor, weight training instructor, and writer; and about her always-supportive husband. Details of the aftermath of her surgery are interwoven with the triumphant narrative of her recovery. Among the events included are her visit to a support group, which she did not find helpful; her decision against reconstructive surgery; and her selection of a prosthesis. The prosthesis, carefully chosen with professional help, restored a satisfying symmetry to her clothed front, but she found out, too, that if a bra's pocket does not hold a prosthesis properly, the prosthesis will shift disconcertingly. Such information, ruefully conveyed, is of interest to the general reader and can be very useful to anyone who, like Dvorkin, finds that a breast has "turned against" her and must be removed if she is to have another chance at life.
Other very practical information is available in the considerable appendix, which debunks some of the myths surrounding breast cancer, puts it into perspective with some statistics (for example, far more women die of lung cancer every year than of breast cancer), and lists factors that put women at risk for breast cancer.