With humor and empathy, Dana Brantley-Sieders explores the science and realities of breast cancer for the love of your boobs and your life.
Dana Brantley-Sieders spent twenty years working as a biomedical breast cancer researcher. Then, she was diagnosed with breast cancer. She thought she knew breast cancer before it whacked her upside her left boob and left her bleeding on the curb of uncertainty. Turns out, she had a lot to learn. This book shares Brantley-Sieders’ personal journey with breast cancer, from the laboratory bench to her own bedside, and provides accessible information about breast cancer biology for non-scientists.
Talking to My Tatas: All You Need to Know from a Breast Cancer Researcher and Survivor, offers accurate, evidence-based science that is accessible to all readers, including the more than three hundred thousand individuals diagnosed with breast cancer every year, their caregivers, and their loved ones.
Knowledge is power, and lack of it can lead to overtreatment, unnecessary pain and suffering, and even death. By demystifying the process from mammograms, biopsies, pathology, and diagnostics, to surgical options, tumor genomic testing, and new treatment options, Brantley-Sieders aims to arm breast cancer patients with the tools they need to battle this disease with a healthy dose of humor, grace, and hope.
Dana Brantley-Sieders, PhD, has been a biomedical breast cancer researcher for over twenty years, investigating molecular mechanisms that regulate breast cancer growth and metastasis. She is also an author, advocate, and breast cancer survivor. She lives in Nashville, TN.
Part I: Breast Biology, Breast Cancer, and What to Expect When Diagnosed with Breast Cancer
Chapter One: Can I talk to you about my personal relationship with my breasts?
Chapter Two: Cancer 101: What (breast) cancer is and how it makes your body betray you
Chapter Three: Diagnostics: Imaging, poking, and prodding to find breast cancer
Chapter Four: Tumor gene expression profiling and surgical options – excise and examine
Chapter Five: Radiation, chemotherapy, and molecularly targeted therapies – weapons of cancer destruction
Chapter Six: Cancer doesn’t discriminate, but we do: Disparities and cancer
Part II: My Breast Cancer Story
Chapter Seven: Nobody expects the Spanish Inquisition, or a cancer diagnosis
Chapter Eight: New boobs, new you? The toll breast cancer takes on your mental health and how to deal with it
Chapter Nine: I laugh in the face of cancer—a few funny stories
Part III: Science Savvy: Why You Should Listen to Your Doctor and Not Dave “Avocado Wolf,” Gwyneth Paltrow, or Darla Shine
Chapter Ten: Avoid the woo! How to spot scams and distinguish pseudoscience from what’s legit when it comes to breast cancer
Chapter Eleven: How to look past the sensational headlines and get the real scoop from science reporting
Chapter Twelve: The post-cancer feminist manifesto: Academic researcher edition
Chapter Thirteen: “Boring Science” and Why Chasing New and Shiny Isn’t Always the Best Goal
Part IV: Survivorship and Finding a New Normal
Chapter Fourteen: My condition is chronic, but my tits are iconic
Chapter Fifteen: Top ten things you can say/do when a friend/loved one is going through cancer, and what you should never say/do
Chapter Sixteen: Life goes on: Moving forward with humor and hope
About the Author
"These pages are full of science, social commentary, swear words, and, ultimately, hope,” writes Brantley-Sieders, a biomedical researcher and breast cancer survivor, in this thorough and punchy guide to the disease and its treatment. As a caregiver, the author has seen patients’ “horrors, heartaches, and triumphs” and as a survivor, has “experienced some of those things firsthand.” She begins with a cancer “crash course” that covers diagnostic tools, surgical options, pre- and post-surgery tips, and various therapies such as radiation, chemotherapy, and hormone therapy. Part two focuses on the author’s story, relating her diagnosis, which left her “shell-shocked, confused, numb, and terrified,” and a litany of humorous stories, including a pre-surgical “inappropriate flirting” moment with a doctor. Part three, “Science Savvy,” helps readers cut through the clutter of pseudoscience around treatments and cures, and the final section, a blunt look at “survivorship and finding a new normal,” includes a list of 10 things to never say when a friend is going through cancer (things “happen for a reason” among them). Brantley-Sieders provides no shortage of resources for readers to check out (surprisingly among them are comedians who discuss their cancer experiences), and the photos documenting her experience are a plus. The result is a heartfelt survey and a solid introduction to breast cancer.
During her candid and informative chronicle, she dispels myths and offers “cancer 101,” a “crash course.”… There is lots of good advice here, delivered with passion and humor.
I don't know much about cancer, but I know good writing and humor, and Dana Brantley-Sieders has those in spades.
Reading Talking to My Tatas is a little like discovering you have a wise and funny friend who is an expert on breasts and breast cancer and is willing to talk through your worries anytime of the night or day. This is the book I wish existed when I was diagnosed with breast cancer. Don't send a casserole. Send Talking to My Tatas.
Talking to My TaTas contains the factual information that all newly diagnosed breast cancer patients need, but presented in an easily understood, and sometimes humorous, style that will appeal to non-medical as well as medical breast cancer patients. Talking to My Tatas is a deep dive into the personal world and experiences of a breast cancer researcher and survivor who isn’t afraid to pull back the curtain on breast cancer reality. The author does a credible job debunking myths, falsehoods, and junk cancer therapies, leaving the authenticity only a person steeped in cancer research and cancer treatment can. As a two-time breast cancer survivor, I can recommend this book unreservedly.
Informative, witty, and engaging, Dr. Brantley-Sieders effectively combines her scientific training and her personal experience to tell it like it is.
10/26/22, Fox13 Tampa Bay: This Tampa Bay Reads interview with Dana Brantley-Sieders featured the book.
October 2022 issue, Conquer: The Patient Voice: Dana Brantley-Sieders penned a piece on the her patient experience and the book.
4/15/23, Booklist: This book is featured in the Women’s Health Essentials List and says the book “offers in-depth information about breast cancer, sharing her own experience and dispelling myths in a ‘cancer 101’ crash course conducted with passion and humor.”