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Author Olson, James Stuart, 1946-

Title Bathsheba's breast : women, cancer & history / James S. Olson
Published Baltimore : Johns Hopkins University Press, 2002
Online access available from:
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Description 1 online resource (x, 302 pages)
Contents Prologue: Across Time -- 1. Dark Ages -- 2. "Unkindest Cut of All": The Origins of the Mastectomy -- 3. William Stewart Halsted and the Radical Mastectomy -- 4. Superradicals and the Medicine of Mutilation -- 5. New Beginnings: Assault on the Radical Mastectomy -- 6. Beauty and the Breast: The Great American Obsession -- 7. Out of the Closet: Breast Cancer in the 1970s -- 8. Patient Heal Thyself: Quacks and Cures in the Age of Narcissism -- 9. Choices: Medical Treatment in the Age of Liberation -- 10. The Breast Cancer Wars -- 11. Biology, Society, and Destiny -- Epilogue: The New Millennium
Summary "In 1967, an Italian surgeon touring Amsterdam's Rijksmuseum stopped in front of Rembrandt's Bathsheba at Her Bath, on loan from the Louvre, and noticed an asymmetry to Bathsheba's left breast; it seemed distended, swollen near the armpit, discolored, and marked with a distinctive pitting. With a little research, the physician learned that Rembrandt's model, his mistress Hendrickje Stoffels, later died after a long illness, and he conjectured in a celebrated medical journal article that the cause of her death was almost certainly breast cancer." "In Bathsheba's Breast, historian James S. Olson - who lost his left hand and forearm to cancer while writing this book - provides an absorbing and often harrowing narrative history of breast cancer told through the heroic stories of women who have confronted the disease, from Theodora, Anne of Austria (Louis XIV's mother, she confronted "nun's disease" by perfecting the art of dying well), and Abigail "Nabby" Adams (the only daughter of President John Adams, who ministered to his dying daughter after her mastectomy failed to cure her cancer) to Rachel Carson, Betty Ford, and Dr. Jerri Nielsen, who was dramatically evacuated from the South Pole in 1999 after performing a biopsy on her own breast and self-administering chemotherapy. Olson explores every facet of the disease: medicine's evolving understanding of its pathology and treatment options; its cultural significance; the political and economic logic that has dictated the terms of a war on a "woman's disease"; and the rise of patient activism. Olson concludes that breast cancer has finally lost much of the stigma that, for millennia, has prevented women and men alike from sharing their experiences of this mysterious and deadly foe."--Jacket
Bibliography Includes bibliographical references (pages 263-289) and index
Notes Print version record
Subject Breast -- Cancer -- History.
Breast Neoplasms -- history.
Mastectomy -- history.
Genre/Form Geschiedenis (vorm)
Form Electronic book
LC no. 2001006265
ISBN 0801869366
0801876621 (electronic bk.)
9780801876622 (electronic bk.)