Kate Pickert was 35 years old when she was diagnosed with breast cancer. A longtime healthcare policy reporter, she understood a lot about medicine and the healthcare industry. But even with all that insight, Kate wasn't prepared for what the experience of being a cancer patient could be like. So, she started researching—and found that the book she wanted to read, about the history of breast cancer and the way we treat it, wasn't out there. "The fact that this book didn't exist and women didn't know this story is like...something went wrong," Kate told me. So she decided to write it, and included some of her own experiences too.
The resulting book is called Radical: The Science, Culture and History of Breast Cancer in America. Kate talked with me about the choices—both expected and unexpected—that she made to maintain a sense of normalcy in her life during her treatment, including not telling her young daughter about her illness, and paying extra to keep her hair. And we talk about the trauma of her shock at her initial diagnosis—and why she still thinks about her breast cancer coming back at least once a day.