When Babette Rosmond published her book The Invisible Worm 50 years ago, it was a daring act of courage and a call to arms to all women with breast cancer, beseeching them to ask their doctors about treatment options instead of passively accepting a radical mastectomy.
The book was funny, as Rosmond manages to weave her dog’s sex life and her love of the Beatles into the story of her cancer. But it was serious as well. A patient—especially a woman—questioning male surgeons was revolutionary for the time. The Invisible Worm, she stated, was not solely about a lumpectomy but rather personal choice.