Who Needs Another Cancer?

“No thanks, I already have cancer,” I said to the radiologist. Since the magnified images of calcifications in my right breast looked neither obviously benign nor obviously malignant, he had just recommended a biopsy. Even after I explained that I have been dealing with advanced ovarian cancer since 2008, he must have judged me daft. But I was thinking: Who needs another?

Of course, my oncologist insisted that I go ahead. Afterward, I fulminated: If men had breasts, breast biopsies would be less ghastly. I realize I was floating the proposition as an “alternative fact” — in my case, a conviction fueled by infantile rage. My friend Alexandra, who accompanied me, waited until our return home to confide that she had fainted during her biopsy. “Very common,” a nurse informed her.

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