"Take Off Your Party Dress, When Life Is Too Busy For Breast Cancer"

Hi all, i have just read this book that the Macmillian are reviewing, its by an author called Dina Rabinovitch and it tells how she fought breast cancer and her struggle to find clothes that she could wear comfortably after mastectomy, she explains about how she coped with chemo, rads and herceptin, unfortunately Dina has since died, but you can read the last few entries in her blog on the Gaurdian website (Dina was a writer for the Gaurdian), i have really enjoyed this book and felt that it was very well written and also very realistic of what we all go through, worth looking out for in the bookshops.
lots of love

It’s been in the shops for a while, Alison. It’s a beautifully written book.

i shall just edit that then, wasn’t sure if it was out yet!!! cheers

I have the book at home. I bought it when I was first diagnosed last year and desperate for information. It made me both laugh and cry. Beautifully written and realistic of what we are facing with this crappy disease. I was so upset when I heard that she had passed away.

Thats it - I am going out to buy the book!!


I read an interview with her in a a magazine last year and she made me very angry as she said she left the lump for 3 years before she did anything about it. She could have afforded the best doctors in Harley St given that her husband is a wealthy QC and she wouldn’t have been waiting around for treatment like many others.

It’s really sad she died, but I feel it was very unnecessary - I get very annoyed when women ignore these things, especially as it was for such a long time, 3 months is one thing, but 3 years!

Hi Cherub

I have also read Dina’s book and found it very moving. I don’t believe Dina ignored her lump she just couldn’t bring herself to go the doctor for fear of making a fool of herself in case it was nothing and I think it was also out of naievity that it couldn’t possibly be anything. I had a lump in my breast which spread to my lymph nodes and I didn’t even realise that the ‘lump’ in my breast was in fact a lump at all. It was only because I felt the one in my lymph node that I went to the doctor. I was completely naive about breast lumps and what to look for. My breasts were always pretty lumpy so when this one ‘sprung up’ I didn’t notice anything different and the lump was 4cm! Now I’m completely breast aware and if only we could educate other women about checking breasts and getting lumps investigated immediately as a matter of urgency.


i think that sometimes women are just so busy with children and work that they quite often put their health on hold, when i found my lump i had to keep feeling for it, i spent all weekend debating if i went to the doctors or not, i did go, but then i believed my doctor when he told me it was probably just mastaitis, so two days later it was such a shock that i had a grade 3 cancer, and i had examined my breasts mid cycle since my twenties, i 'd had good health all my life, plus, i think some women are just too scared. i should imagine many women die of this disease for the above reasons and often beat themselves with a stick about not going sooner.

I read this book and being diagnosed with an 8 and 6 year old and full family life found it to be quite an interesting and good read, especially the mention of husbands working hours, school runs, after school clubs, packed lunches and yes I found at times I was too bloody busy to be sitting in chemo wards and rads waiting rooms, sorry I may offend but especially with some of the older ladies who would try and Q jump so their grown ups kids who were the same age as me had to get back to work!!

I too had a large lump 8cm but mine grew very quickly and 7/8th’s of the growth was after I first visited the BC in a matter of 10 weeks so perhaps not too best to judge as lumps are very different in all of us and grow and show in a varierty.

If I remember rightly Dina was Her 2+++ and family history so perhaps she didn’t have the best stats to start with, but she certainly was one intelligent women with a gift of writing.

Debbie x

I read the book too, one of only a few BC biogs I’ve felt able to read. Dina’s column was heart-rending to read. Like Ruby, I found an enlarged lymph node under my arm which is when I went to the doctor, which was the beginning of the end of life as I knew it. Stage IV liver mets diagnosed within two weeks. It would be easy for me to beat myself up about not finding this sooner but what would that achieve now? Far better I try and get on with life and make the best of it for me and my family for as long as possible. We all begin this phase of our lives in ignorance - how many of us really believed that it would be cancer, that it could happen to us? I agree with Alison, we do put our lives on hold when trying to keep busy lives in order. When I did go to the doctor, I was far more concerned at the time with my daughter’s fourth birthday, which was the next day. Education is obviously the way forward, but I hope women do not feel angry or guilty about detecting, finding, or addressing their cancer. Dina had a very aggressive cancer which would likely have followed the same course, sooner or later, no matter when it was discovered. All the money and Harley Street doctors in the world would not make a difference.


Hi all

You can still access Dina’s columns for the Guardian at guardian.co.uk/profile/dinarabinovitch
Best wishes


I read Dina Rabinovitch’s Guardian columns from the beginning. She was diagnosed about 18 months after me. We exhanged e-mails a couple of times, having an interesting discussion about the availability of taxotere (which was much less commonly used for primary bc a few years ago than it is now.) Her last Guardian column was particularly moving.

I think Dina was very brave to be so open about having her lump for a while, and her consultant very wise to tell her to put the past behind her, though I guess that privately she my have agonised over the delay.

But, and this is such an important but…despite what the breast cancer charities and the media tell us early detection does not necessarily affect survival…far fewer lives are saved by ‘early’ detection than we like to think. The 5 years survival stats certainly improve…but that is a different matter. Dina Rabinovitch’s cancer was her2+++ and both herceptin and tykerb failed for her (and several chemtherapies. ) Yes herceptin is some women’s ‘wonder’ drug and ahuge step forward in breast cancer treatment but it doesn’t work on all her2+ cancers.

I think feeling angry can just be a mask for our other more painful and frightening feelings…that sometimes all the treatment in the world makes no difference to survival, and still over 12,500 women a year in the UK are dying of this dreadful disease. We simply must not allow ourselves to blame each other for getting cancer or for dying of cancer.

Dina was a witty, moving articulate writer. She established a fund to raise money for Mount Vernon (NHS) Hospital in north London to set up a research centre. When I looked earlier today the fund stood at £98,295 with a target of £100,000 by the end of February. How great if in her memory everyone who reads this thread could give just a little towards the target.

The site is Dina Rabinovitch is fundraising for CTRT Appeal


i didn’t realise that there was a fund, but i do now!!! great idea Jane