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A Breast Cancer Alphabet
     

A Breast Cancer Alphabet

3.0 2
by Madhulika Sikka
 

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A definitive and approachable guide to life during, and after, breast cancer
 
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

Overview

A definitive and approachable guide to life during, and after, breast cancer
 
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.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
03/03/2014
NPR executive editor Sikka bares all details of her personal experience with breast cancer in this honest, frank, and contemplative summary, arranged alphabetically by topic. Starting from A for "Anxiety" with a range of topics including "Guilt," "Mastectomy" to "Reconstruction," "Sex," through to "Zzzzzs," Sikka writes so candidly about her experiences it's as if you're reading her journal. She shares surprises—finding that the chemotherapy unit was standing room only, epiphanies—"hat you want most is your pre-cancer life...and you would do anything to go back to it," and unexpected advice—shave hair before it falls out with chemotherapy. Whether discussing turbans and other headwear, omnipresent anxiety, or the relief that pillows can provide from post-surgery pain, Sikka's voice is calm and earnest, poetic and descriptive, and occasionally even uplifting. Those who find cancer in their lives, whether first-hand or through a friend or family member, will appreciate the raw but supportive voice that emerges here. (Feb.)
From the Publisher
Booklist Top 10 Science & Health Book of the Year

"Breast-cancer patients will fall in love with Sikka…a funny, chatty, and honest storyteller….Just what the doctor ordered."Booklist (starred)

"[Sikka's] charming alphabetic compilation...is a warm and fuzzy friend to keep close during the cancer journey. 'B' is for buying multiple copies." - Library Journal (starred)

"Sikka's voice is calm and earnest, poetic and descriptive, and occasionally even uplifting. Those who find cancer in their lives, whether first-hand or through a friend or family member, will appreciate the raw but supportive voice that emerges here."- Publishers Weekly

"Sometimes humorous, always honest and straightforward, this little book offers the perfect combination of practical advice and personal musings to help any woman, her family and her friends handle the complicated road through Cancerland."- Kirkus Reviews

"A Breast Cancer Alphabet is like having a chat with someone who’s walked the walk and has a thing or two to share with you about it which just might make your walk a bit less scary."- Nancy's Point

"Thank goodness for Madhulika Sikka! She is neither a warrior nor a hero. Her breast cancer made her neither sexy nor spiritually enlightened. She is simply a real woman with a real illness who tells it true: with grief, anger, wit and great authenticity." - Peggy Orenstein, author of Cinderella Ate My Daughter: Dispatches From the Front Lines of the New Girlie-Girl Culture

“A Breast Cancer Alphabet is a brisk, user-friendly ABC of dealing with the disaster of cancer and how to get through it with a smile. It is a remarkably insightful and sensitive guide to making the best of the worst, all delivered with Madhulika’s wit and vital energy.” - Tina Brown, former editor of Vanity Fair, the New Yorker, and the Daily Beast

"Madhulika Sikka is the honest-talking-advice-giving-big sister-sage-support group that every girl needs to help navigate the world of 'cancerland'. A Breast Cancer Alphabet is the definitive how-to go-to book." - Marisa Acocella Marchetto, author  of Cancer Vixen

"Madhulika Sikka's A Breast Cancer Alphabet is brilliantly researched, smart, and personal - an unvarnished primer of what every woman needs to know about the diagnosis, treatment, and consequences of living with breast cancer. Her practical advice  from "A" to "Z" is exactly what I wish I'd known when I was first diagnosed. With the trained eye and ear of a top-flight journalist, she demystifies the disease, telling you everything you forgot to ask that no one else will share. Reading it will help you recognize, and even laugh, at your worst fears. "B" is for "Brava", Madhulika - for your honesty and creativity in guiding us on a journey none of us chose to take. It is a lot easier when you have A Breast Cancer Alphabet at your side." - Andrea Mitchell, NBC News Chief Foreign Affairs Correspondent

"This useful and often amusing little book should be the first present you give someone who’s been diagnosed with breast cancer.  Its practicality extends from sound advice (“drugs are your friends”) to the inclusion of pages for notes at the end.   By presenting her own experience in a wry and matter-of-fact manner, Madhulika Sikka removes taboos in talking about sex, or looks or the desire on some days to just quit soldiering on through the whole deal.  It won’t make having breast cancer easier but it will make the dread disease and its treatments less mysterious.  That’s a gift indeed." - Cokie Roberts, journalist and author of We Are Our Mothers' Daughters

"Breast cancer is a topic no woman wants to learn about first-hand. But should it happen to you, Madhulika Sikka’s A Breast Cancer Alphabet is an ideal primer for before, during and after the experience. Offering the kind of real-world advice that can only come from someone who’s lived to tell the tale, Sikka’s book is required reading for anyone in search of a book that will bring you up to speed quickly, gently, and with genuine empathy."- Micki Myers, author of It's Probably Nothing...

"'T' should be 'Thank you, Madhulika,' for writing a witty, practical and honest book. Too many cancer books out there gloss over the uncomfortable realities of living with a life-threatening illness. A Breast Cancer Alphabet is a must-have for women with cancer." - Suleika Jaouad, New York Times columnist

Kirkus Reviews
2014-01-05
A compilation of thoughts by a woman with breast cancer. When she received her diagnosis ("the most devastating news I had ever had in my life"), NPR News executive Sikka had just finished an interview with President Barack Obama, and his statements swirled with the myriad of thoughts suddenly rushing through the author's mind. "What my doctor was saying competed with words from the president's interview in this cloud in my head," she writes. Fortunately, she had numerous friends and family to help her through the monthslong process of mastectomy, chemotherapy and recovery. Sikka has gathered together her reflections and discoveries of being in "Cancerland" in an A-to-Z guidebook to the entire process of cancer diagnosis, treatment and life afterward. The author examines the process of coping with the waves of feelings one will experience (anxiety, guilt, indignity and others), the need for pampering and the odds of a diagnosis—one in eight women in the United States will get breast cancer. Sikka frankly explores the nature of breasts and how these intimate parts of the body suddenly become everyone's business, from doctors and nurses to brothers and male co-workers. She discusses the lack of sexual desire caused by the chemotherapy and pain and the need to use any and all available drugs. "Drugs are your friends," she writes. "Let me repeat, drugs, pharmaceuticals of all kinds for all things, are your friends. Pill-popping, vein-coursing drugs are your friends." Whether you want to Quit, need Kindness from a friend, or long for a Vacation, Sikka gives counsel. Sometimes humorous, always honest and straightforward, this little book offers the perfect combination of practical advice and personal musings to help any woman, her family and her friends handle the complicated road through Cancerland. Insightful, helpful comments on living with breast cancer.
Library Journal
★ 09/01/2013
Executive producer of NPR's Morning Edition, Sikka found colleagues and friends most helpful in guiding her through her cancer experience, from those who had had the disease to science writers who led her to the latest resources. She writes this book "for anyone who has been diagnosed…and needs a companion…. [to] let you know that you have every right to feel the way you do…. It sucks to get cancer." Her charming alphabetic compilation ("A" Is for Anxiety; "C" Is for Cancerland; "K" Is for Kindness; "X" Is for eXhaustion) is a warm and fuzzy friend to keep close during the cancer journey. "B" is for buying multiple copies.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780385348515
Publisher:
Crown Publishing Group
Publication date:
02/25/2014
Pages:
224
Product dimensions:
5.00(w) x 7.60(h) x 0.80(d)

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Meet the Author

MADHULIKA SIKKA is a veteran broadcast journalist with decades of experience. Among other media outlets, she has worked at NPR News and ABC News.

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A Breast Cancer Alphabet 3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 2 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Extremely well written; open and honest account of a myriad of issues facing women with Breast Cancer.   As a Breast Cancer Survivor, it was comforting and affirming to read another woman's profound perspective, presented in such an accessible way.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago