Tag Archives: DCIS

Boob Book Progress

Despite a generally frenetic work, medical, and social schedule (last week something took me out of the house every single day!) and despite the start of a new Eng. 102 section, I’ve managed to make a fair amount of progress on each of the book projects in hand.

One of the appendices for the Boob Book, “How to Read a Scientific Paper,” is finished. With that and the introduction in hand, now all I need to do is write one reasonably substantial chapter and a prospectus, and I’ll be ready to start peddling the thing.

Which chapter remains to be seen. In the order of the draft chapter outline, the first chapter discusses DCIS vs. actual invasive cancer. The next goes into the considerations a woman needs to make when faced with the question of whether to do a lumpectomy (or repeated lumpectomies, which occur in about 48% of cases) or to elect a mastectomy.

However, in the chapter outline as it stands, the book does not go into the controversies over mammography and screening. This is pretty fierce stuff, and when you look hard at it, pretty disturbing. Because the push to screen all women — some circles would like to see girls having mammograms shortly after their first menstrual period — is so ubiquitously advertised, so harmful to so many women, and so controversial, I wonder if I should include some discussion of it.

I didn’t put that subject into the original draft outline because one of the book’s underlying assumptions is that the reader already has a diagnosis, and so the question of whether to subject herself to repeated mammograms is moot. The book is intended as a tool for women who have to cope with an existing diagnosis of DCIS or early-stage invasive breast cancer. So the whole pink ribbon flap is really beside the point.

What I’ve got as my first chapter is hardly the stuff of television documentaries. However, the chapter on reconstruction certainly is. If I skipped over the first several chapters and went straight to the one on deciding whether or not to have reconstruction, that would get an editor’s attention.

I have some seriously controversial things to say on the subject, which parallel Gayle Sulik’s observations about the money motives behind the pink ribbon movement. My line of thinking focuses on the profit centers that drive the pressure put on women to agree to implants and major surgery to create fake breasts.

It probably would make sense to do that: cut to the liveliest controversy. The table of contents will make the rest of the book’s direction clear.

There’s a lot of material here. I just need to get to work on it!