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“A Breast Cancer Alphabet” – A Review & Giveaway!

Update:  This giveaway opportunity has ended.

I’m always pleased to share my thoughts on books and products I feel you, my Dear Readers, might be interested in. I’m feeling even a bit more pleased about this particular review of the new book, A Breast Cancer Alphabet by Madhulika Sikka. Crown Publishing, 2014. 224 pages.


Well, when I first agreed to take a look at A Breast Cancer Alphabet, I sort of expected to not like it.

For some reason, my initial reaction to a book with the title, A Breast Cancer Alphabet, was – oh, great. Here we go again. I expected an A-Z handbook full of let’s smile our way through breast cancer tips.

I was wrong. I did like it and it was not what I expected. Sometimes it’s nice to be wrong.

It turns out, the author, Madhulika Sikka, speaks my kind of “breast cancer language.” Her ideas, impressions and opinions about her breast cancer experience are refreshing, honest and not all sugar-coated in pink goo. That old saying, don’t judge a book by its cover, or maybe in this case, by its title, is right on. In fact, I wish I had thought of this alphabet idea for a breast cancer book!

Madhulika Sikka follows the simple, yet engaging format of selecting a word which she feels best describes her breast cancer experience, to match up with each letter of the alphabet.

A few examples are:

‘C’ is for Cancerland —

Well here’s the thing about  Cancerland–one minute you are minding your own business, living your humdrum life, and the next minute you are thrust into this strange land of surgeries, and drugs and side effects, and pain and anxiety, and you didn’t even have a minute to prepare for it.


‘H’ is for Hair —

Now in the grand scheme of things this (losing your hair) might not be such a big deal. Kill the cancer, lose the hair. That doesn’t sound like a bad trade-off to the rational mind. But when have we ever been rational about hair? It is okay. You are allowed to be irrational about this one because the hair thing is a big deal.

Bravo! A woman who thinks like me about the hair!

‘M’ is for Mastectomy —

… It is a brutal, violent thing to have happen to you, and it is perfectly fine to feel that it is an amputation, and don’t let anyone tell you otherwise… On those truly dark days when you are in real pain, and you look down and the familiar landscape of your body is no longer there, it is a humbling and mournful experience.

Personally, I think mastectomies should be called amputations too. And no, you don’t need to feel bad about grieving for your breasts.

‘P’ is for Pillows

In a time of enormous discomfort, pillows are an indulgence that you can afford and they actually make a huge difference. Who knew?

This one hits a more practical note  and reminds me of a pillow story I need to write about sometime…

So there you have a tiny sampling of what this book is like.

A Breast Cancer Alphabet is a quick read, each alphabet essay being just a few pages – another reason to give it a thumbs up because fresh into a breast cancer diagnosis, a woman’s concentration span isn’t that long, or at least mine wasn’t.

This book is sort of like having a breast cancer diagnosis guidebook at your fingertips.

However, and this is a big however, this guidebook does not downplay any aspect of, or the seriousness of the disease experience, nor does the author profess to knowing the proper way “to do breast cancer.”

Heaven knows we don’t want or need more of that.

Instead, with each well thought-out essay she offers observations, personal insights and practical advice – all delivered with intelligent wit, humor and a dash of sarcasm.

Ultimately, I enjoyed this book so much because Madhulika Sikka candidly shares her truths without suggesting that they should be mine or yours. In fact, I realized upon reading this book, that my choice words for some letters would be the same ones this author chose and for others, they’d be quite different. More on this to come…

A Breast Cancer Alphabet is like having a chat with someone who’s walked the walk and has a thing or two to share with you about it which just might make your walk a bit less scary.

For the newly diagnosed, or even the not so newly diagnosed, what could be better than that?

Note: You are invited to submit your letter to A Breast Cancer Alphabet’s Tumblr page here.

If you’d like to enter my giveaway for a chance to win a FREE copy of A Breast Cancer Alphabet, then all you have to do is leave a comment below stating so by 5 pm on March 16th and you’re in! And this time, I’m picking TWO lucky winners, so your chances to win are even better! The winners will be announced shortly thereafter on this post, so be sure to check back!

So why not enter today?

Why are you interested (or not interested) in reading this book?

The two lucky winners are —

Lisa and Sara!

Congratulations, Lisa and Sara! I’ll contact you soon! And everyone else, thank you for participating in my giveaway. Please stay tuned. There will be TWO more opportunities to win this book!

A Breast Cancer Alphabet by Maadhulika Sikka - My Review #books #breastcancer #bookreviews

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"A Breast Cancer Alphabet" - the Nancy's Point Version (A-M)

Beth Gainer

Friday 28th of March 2014


Sounds like a really interesting book! I agree that a mastectomy is an amputation.


Friday 28th of March 2014

Beth, Once again, we are of like minds. xx

Madhulika Sikka

Tuesday 18th of March 2014

Nancy, thank you for your wonderful review. I am so glad that my book has resonated with many and I look forward to hearing from more folks. Also interested in people's own alphabet, they can submit to I think for some A might well be for amputation. Thanks again. Best, Madhulika


Tuesday 18th of March 2014

Madhulika, Thanks for writing your book! And thank you for reading my review and for taking time to comment. I'm glad you liked it. I think you're right about that "a" word choice. Amputation was certainly one of my top choices. It's interesting to read the different perspectives out there isn't it? I always appreciate hearing viewpoints of others, even when they're quite different from my own. Thanks again for stopping by. Good luck with the book!

Weekly Round Up: The Spring Edition | Journeying Beyond Breast Cancer

Monday 17th of March 2014

[…] There’s a book review and giveaway on Nancy’s blog. […]

Judy Fox

Sunday 16th of March 2014

Always looking for more resources. I am a previvor, who has undergone preventative surgeries.


Sunday 16th of March 2014

Judy, A person can't have too many resources. Thanks for reading and entering the drawing.

Facing Cancer Together

Sunday 16th of March 2014

I quite like the name and the cover. Your review makes it sound bite size and refreshing. At this point, I don't need to be in the draw, but for someone going through all those emotional shockwaves of diagnosis and treatment, I hope this book helps. ~Catherine


Sunday 16th of March 2014

Catherine, Thanks for reading my review and commenting despite opting out of the giveaway. Always appreciate your thoughts.

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