Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Non-Fiction: Dr. Susan Love’s Breast Book and The Pink Ribbon Diet

This month is the 25th anniversary of Breast Cancer Awareness Month, which began in October of 1985. Though the battle has not been won, in the last quarter century, great strides have been made in both the diagnosis and treatment of breast cancer. This growing awareness has played a part in that.

In the fifth edition of Dr. Susan Love’s Breast Book, out this month from DaCapo, Love writes about the “shift in the paradigm we use to think about the breast and its problems. A slow revolution, you could say, and a good example of how these things happen.”

Love stresses that the revolution has happened since the first edition of the book was published 20 years ago and that, perhaps most importantly, we’ve learned that “all breast cancers are not the same” and that it’s of utmost importance to match the treatment to the cancer, rather than the “more is better” approach of yore.

In addition, Love stresses that we now have a better -- if imperfect -- understanding of the way lifestyle and diet factors into breast cancer. The resulting book is much, much larger than previous editions. The New York Times has called it “the Bible for women with breast cancer.” I would hazard it is even more than that: an owner’s manual for breasts, if you will, since the emphasis here is not only on treatment and cure, but on detection and prevention. We don’t know as much we will about breast cancer, but knowing even this much is a powerful tool for health.

To that end, The Pink Ribbon Diet (DaCapo) is an interesting -- and surprisingly rationale -- book. Subtitled A Revolutionary New Weight Loss Plan to Lower Your Breast Cancer Risk, the author writes that since “published research from around the world confirms the relationship between being overweight and the likelihood of developing the disease,” that thin may ultimately be back in.

Aside from all of that, authors Mary Flynn and Nancy Verde Barr’s guide to diet, weight loss and food is sane an approachable. The Pink Ribbon Diet is an interesting book about food. Even if weight is not a concern, but you want to make a lifestyle choice for health, you will learn a great deal from this book. How to eat better, make better food choices and, with 150 recipes, how to create all of the food you need in your own home.

And the underlying message in both books is a good one to share: for October and every month, a growing awareness about breast cancer brings us ever closer to understanding the disease and a cure. Reading can be a terrific start, but so can giving: this month, find a charity in your community and pledge towards a cure. ◊

Linda L. Richards is editor of January Magazine and the author of several books. She is also a proud supporter of Prêt-a-Pour Tea, a high tea and high fashion fundraiser, working for a cure.



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