In 2010, Sikka was diagnosed with breast cancer and soon faced “the unexpected and minute challenges that make navigating the world of breast cancer all the trickier.” A Breast Cancer Alphabet is Sikka’s reaction to her diagnosis, through her treatment, and beyond.
Accompanied by her husband and two daughters, Sikka thanked her “fantastic doctors,” supportive friends, the NPR science team, her publishers, and her “work husband,” Steve Inskeep, who was also in attendance.
“Madhulika Sikka’s A Breast Cancer Alphabet is brilliantly researched, smart, and personal – an unvarnished primer of what every woman needs to know about the diagnosis, treatment, and consequences of living with breast cancer. Her practical advice from “A” to “Z” is exactly what I wish I’d known when I was first diagnosed. With the trained eye and ear of a top-flight journalist, she demystifies the disease, telling you everything you forgot to ask that no one else will share. Reading it will help you recognize, and even laugh, at your worst fears. “B” is for “Brava”, Madhulika – for your honesty and creativity in guiding us on a journey none of us chose to take. It is a lot easier when you have A Breast Cancer Alphabet at your side.” - Andrea Mitchell, NBC News Chief Foreign Affairs Correspondent
“A Breast Cancer Alphabet is a brisk, user-friendly ABC of dealing with the disaster of cancer and how to get through it with a smile. It is a remarkably insightful and sensitive guide to making the best of the worst, all delivered with Madhulika’s wit and vital energy.” - Tina Brown, former editor of Vanity Fair, the New Yorker, and the Daily Beast
“This useful and often amusing little book should be the first present you give someone who’s been diagnosed with breast cancer. Its practicality extends from sound advice (“drugs are your friends”) to the inclusion of pages for notes at the end. By presenting her own experience in a wry and matter-of-fact manner, Madhulika Sikka removes taboos in talking about sex, or looks or the desire on some days to just quit soldiering on through the whole deal. It won’t make having breast cancer easier but it will make the dread disease and its treatments less mysterious. That’s a gift indeed.” - Cokie Roberts, journalist and author of We Are Our Mothers’ Daughters