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Breast Cancer survivor turns journey into book looking at America's obsession with breasts

Photo courtesy Leslie Lehr
Author and breast cancer survivor Leslie Lehr with her book "A Boob's Life".

Acclaimed book which mixes history and humor could become HBO series.

It’s devastating news. It’s word that you’ve been diagnosed with breast cancer.

"My doctor called me on Labor Day, and I was kind of freaked out she was calling me on a holiday. I remember being in the office, and everything else was a blur."

What started as a routine test turned into much more for Leslie Lehr.

"A mammogram. And, had I not gotten it, I would have been dead for sure by the next mammogram." said Lehr. "Three weeks later, it had tripled in size."

That news nine years ago triggered a barrage of tests for Lehr, followed by two surgeries.

Then, the part time Ventura County, part time Los Angeles County resident discovered what she thought was the end of her battle with breast cancer was just beginning its most difficult phase.

"I just remember being in his (the doctor's office) and he said you are going to lose your beautiful hair, and that's when I burst out crying." said Lehr. "I didn't even imagine I'd have to do through chemo."

She went through chemotherapy and radiation treatment, and had to take additional medications for five years. She credits some of the new cutting-edge treatment with saving her life.

Lehr’s treatment ended four years ago, but she’s technically still not completely clear of cancer yet.

The experience turned her into a breast cancer awareness advocate. It also prompted her to re-evaluate her relationship with her breasts.

She’s a writer, and the author of more than a half dozen books, so she decided to turn her attention to the subject of breasts.

"A Boob's Life-How America's Obsession Shaped Me And You is literally about about the obsession I have had with my breasts my entire life I didn't even realize until after I had breast cancer." said Lehr.


She says as she was getting out of the shower one day she noticed one of her breasts was wonky, and started thinking about surgery.

That led to the book, which she said started as a result of her wrangling with the cosmetic surgery question.

Lehr mixes history and humor in her look at America’s, and her personal obsession with breasts.

It was released last spring, and garnered national attention on shows like Good Morning America. It led to actress Salma Hayek optioning it for a possible HBO Max series.

The author says while the book mixes her journey with breast cancer, social commentary, and humor, she hopes one of the big takeaways is the empowerment of women.

As for her personal journey with breast cancer, she hopes sharing it will encourage others to go get what could be a life-saving mammogram.

"I'm just really grateful, really grateful every day. The fact that I'm breathing is such a miracle," said Lehr. "Every day is a gift."

Lance Orozco has been News Director of KCLU since 2001, providing award-winning coverage of some of the biggest news events in the region, including the Thomas and Woolsey brush fires, the deadly Montecito debris flow, the Borderline Bar and Grill attack, and Ronald Reagan's funeral.