Radical: The Science, Culture, and History of Breast Cancer in America

Radical: The Science, Culture, and History of Breast Cancer in America

by Kate Pickert

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"Want to learn more about breast cancer? Read this book...Pickert has produced an evenhanded, powerful and unflinching page-turner." (New York Times)

As a health-care journalist, Kate Pickert knew the emotional highs and lows of medical treatment well -- but always from a distance, through the stories of her subjects. That is, until she was unexpectedly diagnosed with an aggressive type of breast cancer at the age of 35. As she underwent more than a year of treatment, Pickert realized that the popular understanding of breast care in America bears little resemblance to the experiences of today's patients and the rapidly changing science designed to save their lives. After using her journalistic skills to navigate her own care, Pickert embarked on a quest to understand the cultural, scientific and historical forces shaping the lives of breast-cancer patients in the modern age.
Breast cancer is one of history's most prolific killers. Despite billions spent on research and treatments, it remains one of the deadliest diseases facing women today. From the forests of the Pacific Northwest to an operating suite in Los Angeles to the epicenter of pink-ribbon advocacy in Dallas, Pickert reports on the turning points and people responsible for the progress that has been made against breast cancer and documents the challenges of defeating a disease that strikes one in eight American women and has helped shape the country's medical culture.
Drawing on interviews with doctors, economists, researchers, advocates and patients, as well as on journal entries and recordings collected over the author's treatment, Radical puts the story of breast cancer into context, and shows how modern treatments represent a long overdue shift in the way doctors approach cancer -- and disease -- itself.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780316470339
Publisher: Little, Brown and Company
Publication date: 10/01/2019
Sold by: Hachette Digital, Inc.
Format: NOOK Book
Sales rank: 175,041
File size: 4 MB

About the Author

Kate Pickert is a former staff writer for TIME magazine, where she covered health care, politics and trends in modern American life. She is a journalism professor at Loyola Marymount University and lives in Los Angeles with her husband and daughter.

Table of Contents

Introduction 3

1 Seek and Ye Shall Find 11

2 CSI: Breasts 35

3 Diagnosis 57

4 Pink Vibes 85

5 Lady Parts 111

6 Not Your Mother's Chemotherapy 133

7 Pick Your Poison 155

8 Targets 171

9 From Scalpels to Sentinels 203

10 Whole Again 231

11 So Meta 249

12 Prognosis 269

Acknowledgments 281

Bibliography 287

Index 315

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Radical: The Science, Culture, and History of Breast Cancer in America 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
suzyreadsbooks 1 days ago
I loved Radical: The Science, Culture, and History of Breast Cancer in America by Kate Pickert. This book is a thorough review of large breakthroughs in breast cancer research, including the evolution of our basic understanding of breast cancer, the mainstay treatments, and our increasing ability to personalize risk and treatments. It also provided an overview of how advocacy efforts have grown and changed in recent years. After reading The Undying by Anne Boyer earlier this month, which provided searing commentary about pink ribbons and the detrimental impacts of treatments, a detailed history like this was perfect for filling in the blanks about why these things are the way they are. In particular, I was fascinated by the chapter discussing the rise and fall of Susan G. Komen. Pickert was diagnosed with invasive breast cancer at age 35. I enjoyed her small memoir sections, which were woven through the chapters to provide personal experiences. However, I would have liked if they had more clearly guided the book’s narrative. It sometimes felt like there was no driving force from chapter to chapter, since each chapter covered a distinct topic. As a health-care journalist, Pickert does not shy away from controversial topics in breast cancer research. Population-wide breast screening practices have been a point of contention for years, and I thought that her coverage of the topic was nuanced and compelling. She did not appear to be biased in her reporting, and I don’t think she expected readers to come away with one clear answer on any of these complicated issues. This book would be very accessible to someone with little to no scientific knowledge. I am a cancer genetic counselor, so I was already familiar with today’s treatments and controversies. I still found this book to be a refreshingly approachable way to learn more about the history of the field. This was an ambitious book, and it was very well executed. Thank you to Little, Brown Spark and NetGalley for providing me with an ARC in exchange for my honest review.