Judy Blume Reveals She Underwent Mastectomy for Breast Cancer
Judy Blume, the beloved author of such young adult classics as Are You There God? It's Me, Margaret, Superfudge and Blubber, has revealed she has undergone a mastectomy after learning she had breast cancer in July.
In a statement posted to her personal website on Wednesday, titled, "!@#$% Happens," Blume begins by describing what was meant to be a "dream summer" -- five weeks spent at a castle in Italy where Blume had planned to finish her latest novel -- only to have it sidelined by "the reality" of her diagnosis.
"A visit to the radiologist on June 12 for a routine ultrasound (dense breast tissue) led to a core biopsy," Blume writes. "Not that I didn't try to jump off the table and tell Dr. S I'd have the biopsy at another time because I had a really busy summer coming up. ... She convinced me, in her very quiet way, that my GYN would tell me to have the biopsy. Now."
The news was not good: The test came back positive for invasive ductal carcinoma, or breast cancer.
Blume, now 74, shares her disbelief over the news.
"Wait -- me? There’s no breast cancer in my family (recent extensive genetic testing shows no genetic connection). I haven’t eaten red meat in more than 30 years. I’ve never smoked, I exercise every day, forget alcohol -- it’s bad for my reflux -- I’ve been the same weight my whole adult life. How is this possible? Well, guess what -- it’s possible," Blume writes.
Faced with a choice of a lumpectomy followed by radiation, which targets just the cancerous growth, or a full mastectomy, Blume says she chose the latter. She underwent the procedure on July 30, just six months after her diagnosis. Blume also reveals this was her second cancer surgery, the first being a hysterectomy 17 years ago for cervical cancer caused by the HPV virus.
Writing one month after the operation, Blume says she's in New York City and "feeling stronger every day."
"I’m part of this Sisterhood of the Traveling Breast Cells (apologies to Ann Brashares)," Blume writes, referencing another popular young adult author. "Medical diagnoses can leave you feeling alone and scared. When it comes to breast cancer you’re not alone, and scary though it is, there’s a network of amazing women to help you through it."
Blume's books have sold more than 80 million copies and been translated into 31 languages, according to her official bio.