Harvard Health Books

Living Through Breast Cancer

Harvard doctor. Breast cancer surgeon. Breast cancer survivor. Dr. Carolyn Kaelin knows the twists and turns breast cancer can take from both sides of the stethoscope.

At 42, Dr. Carolyn Kaelin, the director of the Comprehensive Breast Health Center at Brigham and Women’s Hospital and assistant professor of surgery at Harvard Medical School, was diagnosed with breast cancer. Suddenly, she faced losing her breast, hair, eyebrows, energy, and far more. A mother of two, a wife, a working woman, and an avid skier and cyclist, she was forced to put so much that she cared about on hold.

In her book, Living Through Breast CancerKaelin draws on years of clinical expertise and her own experiences to offer a uniquely authoritative resource. Driven by up-to-date research, this compassionate book guides women from the first numb, fearful days after hearing their diagnosis through the confusing maze of treatment options and on toward making the best possible recovery.

As a survivor herself and a breast cancer surgeon for over a decade, Kaelin is well placed to suggest strategies for facing the emotional and physical challenges that go hand-in-hand with this disease. Strengthening her voice are numerous insights from other women who have dealt with breast cancer and information gleaned from other top breast cancer experts, as well.

The first section of Living Through Breast Cancer contains clear, concise information about obtaining the correct diagnosis, creating a strong medical team and support network, and making well-considered decisions about treatment options ranging from surgery and anticancer drugs to radiation. Kaelin helps women understand the overwhelming flood of information coming their way, distilling medical terms into plain language to help them become active partners in their treatment.

Next, Living Through Breast Cancer addresses self-esteem issues often experienced by women who have had breast cancer. Kaelin shares stories of how she and other women felt about their losses and offers advice about different options available for handling hair, skin, nails, and teeth affected by chemotherapy and other treatments.  Reconstructive breast surgeries are described in detail and questions many women have—how does a recreated breast feel and look?

How do different surgeries affect activity?—are answered. In-depth information is also offered on the growing variety of breast forms now available to women. The simplest option of all—leaving the body as is—is described, too, by women who have made that choice.

Finally, Living Through Breast Cancer discusses how women can regain their balance and move toward recovery. Kaelin explains the improvements to health and ease of movement that exercise and good nutrition can make. She responds to concerns surrounding sexuality, fertility, menopause, and the mind to help women emerge from their odyssey as strong and healthy as possible.

Caring, comprehensive, and uniquely authoritative, Living Through Breast Cancer provides women with the most inclusive guide to dealing with the medical, emotional, and aesthetic ramifications of breast cancer and its treatment. Throughout, the book relies on solid, timely research and new ways of thinking that can change the lives of breast cancer survivors for the better.

Hardcover: 370 pages
Publisher: McGraw-Hill; 1 edition (February 15, 2005)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0071444637
ISBN-13: 978-0071444637
Product Dimensions: 9.2 x 6.3 x 1.3 inches

McGraw Hill