Judy Blume opens up about breast cancer battle
September 5th, 2012
01:00 PM ET

Judy Blume opens up about breast cancer battle

In a detailed blog entry on Wednesday, beloved author Judy Blume reveals that she's spent the summer battling breast cancer.

The entry, bearing the title "!@#$% Happens," walks fans through Blume's diagnosis and her subsequent decision to have a mastectomy and breast reconstruction.

Writing with an approachable frankness and wit readers will instantly recognize, Blume explains that a routine ultrasound in June revealed that she needed a core biopsy, and that she needed it soon - not after she returned from a trip to Italy where she hoped to complete her new book.

Within the next few days, Blume was hit with the news that she had "invasive ductal carcinoma." The author was understandably shocked and left questioning how such a diagnosis could occur:

"There’s no breast cancer in my family (recent extensive genetic testing shows no genetic connection)," she writes. "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."

The diagnosis led to a string of decisions, with the first being to opt for a mastectomy and reconstruction, then to choose not to apply the surgery to both breasts, and finally to go with whatever reconstruction option would "make the surgery easiest on me, [and] give a decent result."

One of her characters even found its way into the conversation, as Blume mentions that, like Margaret Simon from the classic novel, "Are You There God? It's Me, Margaret," she too has "small breasts." And , "Like Margaret, I used to think bigger was better," she writes, "but my dense, small breasts aged well."

(On her first visit to the breast surgeon, Blume recalled telling the doctor that "the exercises didn't work for me," although she's "not sure she got my attempt at a joke.")

Now, one month after surgery, Blume is in New York and "feeling stronger every day."

In closing, she writes that she's joined "The Club," as she's relayed to friends who've also faced breast cancer:

"[N]ot one I wanted to join or even thought I would ever be joining – but here I am. I’m part of this Sisterhood of the Traveling Breast Cells (apologies to Ann Brashares). 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."

Filed under: Books • Celebrities

soundoff (41 Responses)
  1. 18650行動電源

    An outstanding share! I have just forwarded this onto a coworker who had been conducting a bit research on this. And he actually ordered me breakfast due to the fact that I discovered it for him... lol. So allow me reword this.... Thanks for the meal!! But yeah, thanx for spending time for you to talk about this topic here in your blog. 18650行動電源 http://www.powerbankdigital.com

    June 21, 2013 at 7:41 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Braces...

    that's when we went in...poor thing...take marketing lessons

    December 28, 2012 at 6:47 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Metastases au foie

    I've learn a few good stuff here. Definitely value bookmarking for revisiting. I surprise how much effort you place to create this type of great informative website.

    December 28, 2012 at 6:45 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Katya

    HI ...I am Katya...I am here to let you know about curelauncher.com where there is real help for breast cancer. You can connect directly to medical researchers working to find a cure and look at clinical trials that offer treatment NOW to those that need it and may not be able to afford it. You may want to take a look at: http://www.fox8live.com/story/19972069/curelaunchercom-gives-anyone-suffering-with-breast-cancer-instant-access-to-400-clinical-trials-for-treatment-that-can-save-their-life Thank you! Sending HOPE your way!

    November 3, 2012 at 11:39 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Baking Soda

    eat me – be amazed at the possible benefits and results

    September 7, 2012 at 3:21 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Bad Patient

    The statement that you can do everything right and still get cancer is incorrect. Our system is not protecting us. PFOA's, estrogens, xenoestrogens, BPA, PVC, DEHP, plasticizers, tinned vegetables, etc. Our regulatory agencies are captured, the judges are planted, congress is bought off. We get sick and they make more money off of us.

    September 6, 2012 at 3:26 pm | Report abuse |
    • Bad Patient

      and it pumps up the gdp of other countries if they can get mammograms and ultrasound machines paid for so no shock that they end up in our guidelines, and laws to make it mandatory.

      September 6, 2012 at 3:29 pm | Report abuse |
  7. eye liner --

    i love july blume she's one classy broad

    September 6, 2012 at 3:23 pm | Report abuse |
  8. yummyyummyschlurp

    Are you there, Judy? It's me, Maureen. My sister's name is Judy, and she's been missing for 32 years - right after your book was so impactful on my life. I am *still* inspired by you! I hope your story inspires other women to get checked, regularly, regardless of status or habits. FIGHT LIKE A GIRL and beat it! You have helped SO Many girls over the years (decades!)

    September 6, 2012 at 2:30 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Darrell

    Always will be my childhood favorite. It was Superfudge as a kid that got me into reading and propelled me into the love of writing. So for me Blume is much more than an author but an inspiration. I applaud her strength and am thankful for her contributions through her writing.

    September 6, 2012 at 12:49 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Olivia

    Hi Judy, It's me Olivia. I'm sorry to hear about your battle with breast cancer. I enjoyed reading many of your books back in the days. I even bought 3 of your classics for my book collection. I got in a lot of trouble reading under the covers with a flashlight after dark. You are in my prayers. Get well soon!

    September 6, 2012 at 12:40 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Michael Caliazzo

    Moss Hart was GAY!

    September 6, 2012 at 12:39 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Michael Caliazzo

    Judy is soo Brave.

    September 6, 2012 at 12:38 pm | Report abuse |
  13. *


    September 6, 2012 at 11:20 am | Report abuse |
  14. ah...

    Best of luck to Judy during her battle with this dreaded disease. You have a lot of people pulling for you. Thank you for bringing your battle to the public. Woman have to keep vigilant on their health, & not bury their heads in the sand. This disease hits both woman & men. Do your monthly self exams & get mammograms yearly. Do it for you & your families.

    September 6, 2012 at 11:16 am | Report abuse |
  15. pmn

    Love Judy Blume! Awesome she fought the fight!

    September 6, 2012 at 10:24 am | Report abuse |
  16. Arrows

    she's is sick...but she's doing pretty good.

    September 6, 2012 at 9:34 am | Report abuse |
  17. self esteem

    now thats a kicker.

    September 6, 2012 at 9:30 am | Report abuse |
  18. Seamusgirl

    My prayers out to you Ms. Blume for a full recovery. Thank you so much for sharing your situation with us. You got us through puberty, self esteem issues, young adulthood, etc. Now some of us (who grew up between the 70's and 8o's) are now going through similar challenges. I smell a new book here :):) I hope you will consider that when you feel up to it. God Bless!

    September 6, 2012 at 8:49 am | Report abuse |
    • Seamusgirl

      WHOOOOOOOOOOPS! That should have been a SMILEY face not a frowning one. Sorry 🙂

      September 6, 2012 at 8:50 am | Report abuse |
  19. ^


    September 6, 2012 at 4:38 am | Report abuse |
  20. sc4474747

    I hope you make a full recovery, Judy. Loved your books as a kid.

    September 6, 2012 at 3:25 am | Report abuse |
  21. Lisa

    Wishing her all the best of course...but she questions how she got it, she has lead a healthy life, etc. But if you read in her Blog, she says she was on hormone replacement therapy, the estrogen patch for 17 years. Her cancer was also estrogen positive. Sounds like you found your answer Judy.

    September 5, 2012 at 7:35 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jill

      Lisa - Sadly, the majority of people who get breast cancer do not have any of the major risk factors (other than being female). Exposure to estrogen is a risk factor, yes, however many women use estrogen replacement therapy, do not get cancer, and receive enormous health benefits from the therapy. Please do not perpetuate a culture of blame regarding that oversimplifies the "reason" why someone might get cancer.

      September 5, 2012 at 11:00 pm | Report abuse |
  22. Number 3

    Judy we will miss you, i've read a number of your books over the years and have fond memories of you.

    September 5, 2012 at 7:32 pm | Report abuse |
    • uhm...did you read the report?

      She's not dead. You took the time to write a comment and didn't even read the story...wow.

      September 5, 2012 at 7:46 pm | Report abuse |
  23. Mikey

    If marijuana was legal she wouldn't have breast cancer.

    September 5, 2012 at 6:59 pm | Report abuse |
  24. guitargirl

    OK so I had what sounds like the same diagnosis ( or close ) DCIS with a small invasive tumor ( 4MM) Did the masectomy as well in leiu of radiation) No chemo stage 1 no lymph involvement . It is very sweet of you all for the well wishes and kind thoughts . But trust me on this one , she will be fine . I have met and spoken with a lot of women who have breast cancer in their rear view mirror 15 20 25 years down the line . Let us celebrate the advaces that research and awareness that have been gifted to us . I think us survivors want a pat on the back and an atta girl way more than sadness and relection . In a way my cancer was a rebirth of my life . It helped me decide what was truly important and worthy of my time . Rock on Judy you got a bunch of books in you waiting to come alive !!!!!

    September 5, 2012 at 5:38 pm | Report abuse |
  25. shelly

    I heard her speak earlier this year in Dallas. Prayers to her for recovery and reports of good health.

    September 5, 2012 at 5:18 pm | Report abuse |
  26. Marcia

    She is still living, very much so. I see some posters have put her in the past tense.

    September 5, 2012 at 4:36 pm | Report abuse |
  27. Such Lovely Bloggers

    talking about their experience...how sweet and not pushing them down in anyway.

    September 5, 2012 at 4:25 pm | Report abuse |
  28. Ms. M.

    Cancer sucks. I too have read almost all her childrens' books as well as a few books for adults. She is an awesome author and I will her a full recovery.

    September 5, 2012 at 4:10 pm | Report abuse |
  29. Susan Tullis

    My children grew up with your books. I read them aloud wo them before they could read, but my older daughter taught herself to read at age 3 just so she could have control over how fast the story was paced. I am a breast cancer survivor, diagnosed in 2002 after losing 187 pounds. I found a walnut-sized lump in my right breast, had a biopsy, a lumpectomy, and then a complete mastectomy followed by chemotherapy. I have not had reconstruction yet, but I hope too soon. I always considered my cancer as a flat tire on the second day of a long road trip vacation. IIn that situation I could weep and moan and feel sorry for myself, or I could "change the d#&! tire and get on with it. My girls (now women) and I send you our best wishes and our prayers for a quick and full recovery.

    September 5, 2012 at 4:05 pm | Report abuse |
  30. You will F-up....


    September 5, 2012 at 3:59 pm | Report abuse |
  31. ladydi

    Been there done that. And believe me – it sucks!!!!

    September 5, 2012 at 3:52 pm | Report abuse |
  32. Kevin O.

    "Are you there God? It's me Margaret." made me gay. Thanks Judy ^.^

    September 5, 2012 at 3:51 pm | Report abuse |
  33. Jo Robbins

    she was very famous for young women all around. everyone had her books. i was normal
    i just liked her books.

    September 5, 2012 at 2:53 pm | Report abuse |
  34. Robin Jones

    What sad news. I grew up reading Judy Blume books. She was certainly an inspiration to young girls who felt they weren't normal and got me though those awkward years! She was my favorite author and I wis I still had all of her books! Sending thoughts and prayers. Also, my went through the same thing. She wasn't fortunate enough to have reconstruction back then because it wasn't covered by insurance at the time. God Bless Judy!

    September 5, 2012 at 2:47 pm | Report abuse |
    • Mary Anne Smith

      Robin, she isn't dead! She just has breast cancer like thousands of us! Her message is know your body and get checked. It can happen to anyone.

      September 5, 2012 at 8:22 pm | Report abuse |

Post a comment

You must be logged in to post a comment.

About this blog

Our daily cheat-sheet for breaking celebrity news, Hollywood buzz and your pop-culture obsessions.