Reflections of the Breast: Breast Cancer in Art Through the Ages

A Journey Through the Evolution of Medicine and Art

Dr. Francis Arena, a medical doctor with a specialty in breast cancer, and Tanya Bastianich Manuali, PhD, an art historian whose career has focused on the Italian Renaissance, have created a fascinating journey through the evolution of medicine and art in their inaugural work, Reflections of the Breast: Breast Cancer in Art Through the Ages.  In this comprehensive study, these two esteemed professionals will take you on a pilgrimage through history in exploration of the evolution of women and breast cancer through the intersection of art and science.

Breast cancer is the most common cancer among American women, except for skin cancers. 12 percent of American women or 1 in 8 will develop invasive breast cancer.  It is the second leading cause of cancer death in women — 1 in 35 (3%) and an estimated 40,610 breast cancer deaths are anticipated this year.  In 2009, more than 192,000 new cases of  breast cancer were diagnosed in American women.  Fortunately, death rates from breast cancer have been declining since the 1990s, with larger decreases in women younger than 50 — the result of earlier detection, increased awareness, and improved treatment.  At this time there are more than 2.5 million breast cancer survivors in the United States alone.

Reflections of the Breast is much more than just a story about art or medicine, this deeply personal work shines a light on breast cancer through the lens of art, medicine, social mores and women’s rights, and arrives at a place where none have ventured before.  It is a saga that touches each and every one of us in a continuum from old to new, and celebrates every woman — how she has fought and rallied to make breast cancer a symbol of character, strength, and hope through the ages.

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