A Practical Guide to Surviving Breast Cancer and Its Treatments


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Andrea Hutton

It turns out that the doctors start counting your healthy days from the day of diagnosis…. So you become a survivor from the day your life fell apart. Cherish it.

—Andrea Hutton

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Title: Bald Is Better With Earrings: A Survivor’s Guide to Getting Through Breast Cancer
Author: Andrea Hutton
Publisher: Harper Collins
Publication date: July 7, 2015
Price: $17.99; paperback, 224 pages

There are a plethora of books written by breast cancer survivors, and there are sure to be many more penned about women’s most feared disease and the difficult issues of dealing with the side effects of chemotherapy and breast surgery. Unfortunately, there’s a huge audience for these books.

Despite breakthrough advances in detection and treatment options, breast cancer is the second leading cause of death in women, exceeded only by lung cancer. This year, more than 40,000 American women will die of the disease. Currently, there are close to 3 million breast cancer survivors in America. One such survivor is Andrea Hutton, the author of the recently published book Bald Is Better With Earrings: A Survivor’s Guide to Getting Through Breast Cancer.

Well-Written Gem of a Guide

“Labor Day weekend 2009. The beginning of the rest of my life. The weekend I crossed the street from normal girl to Cancer Girl…and then, thankfully, to survivor,” writes Ms. Hutton at the start of her neat little, well-written gem of a guide for women with breast cancer. She opens with a compelling description of the mammogram that detected a lump and a needle biopsy that confirmed it as breast cancer. At the time, she was 41 years old, healthy, with no family history of the disease.

Her writing style is friendly and, at the proper times, humorous. After telling her story of diagnosis and the emotions that swirl around after hearing a woman’s most feared words, “You have breast cancer,” Ms. Hutton’s chapters go step by step from Tests to End of Treatment. A linear treatment without well-placed diversions can sometimes turn into a slog of a read. Not so here. The chapters create an enjoyable rhythm, and she closes each one with a five-tip section, which, for the most part, will prove very helpful to a harried cancer patient.

Books about breast cancer abound, but Ms. Hutton’s book boils the self-help breast cancer survivorship genre into an accessible and useful guide for the terrified women and their loved ones facing a diagnosis of breast cancer. Without being pedantic or smarmy, the author celebrates, as she should, the incredible advances that the oncologist has made in cancer detection and treatment. And Ms. Hutton celebrates being one of our nation’s nearly 3 million cancer survivors.

“Right after my treatment had ended, I got seven months of my life back. It turns out that the doctors start counting your healthy days from the day of diagnosis…so when you’ve had your second scan in 6 months, after 6 months of treatment, you’re really a year out! That was the day I found out I was a 2-year cancer-free survivor. So you become a survivor from the day your life fell apart. Cherish it.”

Many Positive Reviews

The best way to review this book is to scroll down the multitude of layperson reviewers on Amazon, many of whom are breast cancer survivors. For instance: “This is the book I was looking for 12 years ago when I began my rollercoaster ride through cancer land. Andrea Hutton has written a comprehensive, funny (yes there is laughter while going through this ordeal) guide to help anyone who has been diagnosed with cancer.”

This review continues: “The structure of the book is wonderful. She covers everything from diagnosis, surgery, treatment, recovery, and many subjects that are often not discussed during an appointment with the oncologist. I promise that there is light at the end of the “treatment tunnel,” and with Andrea’s book, that light shines even brighter. If you know anyone who has been recently diagnosed, please give them this book. It will be a gift they will treasure.”

Bald Is Better With Earrings may not be a suggested read for oncologists, but it certainly is for their patients with breast cancer. ■



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