July 15, 2013, was a defining moment in the life of Dr. Uzma Yunus. On that day, at age 41, she was diagnosed with Stage III breast cancer. The diagnosis derailed an unstoppable life of achievement, first as a determined medical student in Pakistan and later as an award-winning psychiatrist in the United States.
Almost immediately after learning of her condition, Dr. Yunus began writing “Left Boob Gone Rogue,” a personal blog of her experiences. Her honest, unflinching, often funny look at cancer from the unique perspective of a clinician has earned her a loyal following of over 300,000 readers in 172 countries. She became an unwitting voice in the breast cancer community, with essays appearing in “The New York Times,” “Huffington Post,” breastcancer.org, and many other publications.
In April 2016 she was chosen to be one of the Ford Warriors in Pink Models of Courage for her advocacy and outreach. Her memoir, “Left Boob Gone Rogue” grew out of her online musings. In the book, Dr. Yunus delivers astringent insight on what it is to live with uncertainty, with pain, with the daily possibility of death–but also with happiness, fidelity, and faith–in the clutches of an unpredictable and dreadful disease. “Left Boob Gone Rogue” is not simply a story about illness and dying; it’s a story about the experience of living.
Whether she’s speaking in a whisper about leaving her children motherless or delivering a manifesto on the downfalls of oncological training, what sets Dr. Yunus apart from other cancer chroniclers is her unsparing point of view and an affecting, crystalline voice.
That voice guides the reader through a journey of her experience as a patient, in which she is forced to make a series of decisions that profoundly alter the trajectory of her life. When a biopsy revealed cancer in her liver in February 2016, Dr. Yunus is upgraded to Stage IV — terminal. She then begins a new arc of her narrative, a reckoning with life and death.
Through it all, she maintains her dignity and strength, her composure and reason, while facing the unimaginable. “Left Boob Gone Rogue” is not just a book for cancer survivors and their families. It is for all of us who take each day for granted, who (waylaid by the hustle of everyday life) forget to reflect on our good fortune. It is a reminder that every moment should be appreciated and celebrated. That is Dr. Uzma Yunus’ gift.
This is an incredible read! Dr. Yunus has reached an incredible balance between the patient and MD as a patient.
— Dr. A, Breast Surgeon
I found myself nodding my head in agreement, laughter and sometimes tears.
— Kelly Shanahan, MD, Advocate for stage 4 Breast cancer
Every Person with cancer has a story to tell. Dr. Yunus Has a story too which is one of life -as a woman, physician, an immigrant and a person living and surviving cancer. I think everyone can learn a little bit about life from the story she tells.
— Don S. Dizon, MD, Director of Women’s Cancers at the Life Span Institute