Another Chance at Life:
A Breast Cancer Survivor's Journey

by Leonore H. Dvorkin

New edition, 2012

Spanish edition • en español

The 2009 edition of my book, which was published by Norilana Books, is now out of print.

The updated and revised 2012 edition is now available in e-book, print, and audiobook versions. See below for purchasing links.

If you have any questions, feel free to contact me by e-mail.

Overview of the book

In 1998, at the age of 52, I had breast cancer and a left-side mastectomy. That was my eighth major operation, but my first for the treatment of a life-threatening disease.

Almost immediately after the operation, I became aware that there were unexpected benefits to be reaped from this experience, benefits which ended up changing my life and many of my attitudes.

Eventually I decided to write a book detailing those many benefits and my thoughts on a variety of topics related to health, health care, self-image, and the value of courage and optimism in the face of adversity.

Surviving breast cancer left me a happier, calmer, more focused, and more appreciative person. Now my principal message to other women is that breast cancer does not have to be an entirely negative, terror-inducing experience. On the contrary, it can leave them better off than they were before, both physically and emotionally. I know, because it happened to me. My book is primarily the story of that physical and emotional journey.

Table of Contents

1. Introduction (Click to read the Introduction and selections from the book Another Chance at Life.)
2. Discovery
3. Decision
4. Family and Friends
5. What the Eye Will Never See Again
6. Cutting It Off and Carrying It Away
7. The Immediate Aftermath
8. Pause and Reflect / Why Me?
9. Going Forward from Here
10. Setbacks and Solutions
11. Self-Pity Personified / Putting All This into Perspective
12. Breasts, Beauty, Sex, and Femininity
13. My Much-Appreciated Prosthesis
14. Fear and Caring
15. Health News and New Health Horizons
16. Going Forward into the Future
17. Aging, Accepting, and Appreciating
18. What Will the Future Bring?
Appendices: Five appendices containing information on risk factors for breast cancer, breast cancer myths, things a woman can do to help protect herself from breast cancer, online resources for purchasing mastectomy products, and more.

About the cover

The photograph used for the cover is one I took in the summer of 1988 in Rhede, in North Rhine-Westphalia, in northwestern Germany. This beautiful path is near the Akademie Klausenhof, the language school I was attending with a group of students from Metropolitan State College of Denver. The program director was Dr. Gudrun Clay. The photograph is copyright 1988 by Leonore H. Dvorkin.


A great book
I was very impressed with the author's complete openness on a subject people tend to be shy about. From what I've gathered from my friend who had a double mastectomy last year, it's those who have "joined the club" who share information with each other. I wish more people would follow Ms. Dvorkin's example. The book is also really well written, and even the appendices are interesting.
—C. J. Carson, 12/7/19

"Leonore’s easy style, humor and genuine honesty made me feel that she was sitting next to me and talking to me as best friends might. Certainly a comforting book at a difficult time."
—Eileen Mitchard, Voices, April 27, 2010 (

Patricia Wellingham-Jones reviewed the book for the April 2010 edition of the quarterly magazine Recovering The Self.

A portion of the review is reproduced here with permission of the editor.

"Synopsis: A memoir full of practical truths and healing suggestions.

"Leonore Dvorkin...writes with refreshing simplicity and lack of woe. The book reads like a novel, so engaging is her style. Her stated goal is to show readers that, with luck and hard work, they can come out on the other side of the horrific experience of cancer both healthier and happier than before...I know from my own situation that this is true.

"She takes us from discovery through biopsy and surgery (mastectomy), the relief of not needing chemotherapy or radiation, the wonders of mastectomy bras, and building her life afterwards. Along the way, she learns that cancer (or any truly traumatic event) teaches us to cherish every day, every moment of our lives.

"She ends her story with a gentle, reflective chapter of great wisdom called Aging, Accepting, and Appreciating.

"The reader gets to know Leonore Dvorkin and her loving husband, David, and I admire the active life she continues to lead as tutor of Spanish and German, translator, proofreader, and weight training instructor. This book is the epitome of healing after trauma."

Recovering The Self

Praise for the original edition

Note: The original edition, published in 2005 by Wildside Press, was titled Why I'm Glad I Had Breast Cancer.

"In 1998, at the age of 52, author Leonore Dvorkin was diagnosed with breast cancer. This book takes you on her journey from stunned surprise to acceptance and then, finally, to emotional and physical victory. Dvorkin's descriptions of the steps along the journey are refreshingly frank. ... Her emotions and the medical procedures are described eloquently, honestly, and with humor. ... Dvorkin is proof that much is to be gained by accepting the inevitable, then moving forward with courage and strength. ... For any woman facing the possibility or reality of breast cancer, Dvorkin's book is a must-read. ... However, [her] varied and far-reaching messages can help virtually anyone —male or female, young or old —who is dealing with a physical or other crisis."
—D. E. Stein, Community News, Denver

"A reflective and ultimately optimistic memoir."
Midwest Book Review

"[Dvorkin's] account of life before and after mastectomy is remarkably unaffected and straightforward. ... Why I'm Glad I Had Breast Cancer is the gift of her wisdom and fortitude not to be missed by any woman."
—Ernest Dempsey,

"Beautiful, moving, informative, uplifting. With an abundance of both style and substance, Leonore Dvorkin delivers a powerful, positive message that all women —and their partners —need to hear."
—Lee Christopher, author of Jaded Love, a CD of poetry set to jazz, ISBN 1-887625-03-8

"A terrific read —well-written, frank, and honest. This book's many hard-won truths make it truly special and inspiring."
—Nina Romberg (a.k.a. Jane Archer), author of Shadow Walkers and The Spirit Stalker

"An amazing and beautiful story."
—Louniece SanFilippo, actress

"I read Why I'm Glad I Had Breast Cancer with great interest, having gone down the same road myself. Leonore writes of first accepting what is happening to you, and then of having the courage to move forward. I thoroughly recommend this book to all women who want to be informed, not only of the medical facts, but of how a brave and intelligent woman faced this challenging chapter of her life."
—Elaine Greer, Pelican Waters, Queensland, Australia

"An uplifting and powerful story, with a very attractive message. The author's positive attitude shines through clearly."
—Vivian Manning, Barrie, Ontario, Canada

"Leonore Dvorkin's book Why I'm Glad I Had Breast Cancer is a wonderful compilation of honest and straightforward information about breast cancer, told from a very positive and uplifting perspective. I recommend this book not only to people suffering from any life-threatening disease, but to everyone. It reminds us of what's truly meaningful in life, helping us to better cope with the many challenges that are thrown our way every day."
—Giselle Rogers Hurley, artist

"An unusual and important perspective on the experience of having breast cancer."
—Melanie Tem, cancer survivor and author of The Deceiver

"This book is a straightforward account of living through and beyond breast cancer. It addresses the fears of women everywhere, yet gives hope for an even better life because of the experience. It could be read more than once, as it offers insights into the various stages of dealing with and living with breast cancer no matter what the woman's age or stage in life."
—Werner Baumgartner MD, Lakewood, Colorado

Click Below to Read a Sample

Interviews with Leonore

Leonore was the subject of an online interview with the writer/reviewer Andrea S. Campbell. To read the interview in the Jan. 1, 2006 edition of Campbell's bi-monthly newsletter, "Soup's On," go to

My contribution to the book How We Became Breast Cancer Thrivers

The FREE e-book How We Became Breast Cancer Thrivers was published in October 2010, edited by Beverly Vote, publisher of Breast Cancer Wellness magazine. This is a collection of 44 forward-looking essays by breast cancer survivors who have become "thrivers." My 4,000-word essay is on pp. 73-79. To read more about Beverly's book and to download the PDF version, click here.

Talks about the book

I welcome the opportunity to talk about my breast cancer experience and my book at bookstores and at meetings of cultural and social groups, civic groups, book clubs, etc. You can contact me by e-mail or telephone: 303-985-2327.

Other facts of possible interest

I work as a private tutor of Spanish and German and as a weight training instructor.

I've also written a literary novel, Apart from You.

Click here for information about how we can help you get your book published in e-book and print formats.

Click here for photos of me, my husband, and our son. Click here for details about my husband's numerous published books, which are in the genres of science fiction, horror, mystery, satire, and non-fiction.