Rolling Out

Katrece Nolen details her breast cancer battle in hopes of helping others

Writer chronicles her journey with breast cancer in new book
Katrece Nolen details her breast cancer battle in hopes of helping others
Katrece Nolen (Photo credit: Kelci Nolen)

Katrece Nolen, the daughter of educators, is a fierce health advocate for women and 10-year breast cancer survivor. Her journey began with a stage 3 diagnosis at the age of 38, a turning point that ignited her passion for health and education equity. With the unwavering support of her husband, Nolen confronted the challenges of chemotherapy, mastectomy, and several rounds of radiation. She’s appeared on “Good Morning America,” and has been featured in The Washington Post, Huffington Post, and USA Today. Nolen is committed to empowering and inspiring others.

During a recent interview with rolling out, Nolen discussed her new book, I’ve Been Diagnosed, Now What?: Courageously Fighting Cancer in the Face of Fear, Uncertainty and Doubt.

Katrece Nolen details her breast cancer battle in hopes of helping others
Photo provided

What inspired you to write this book?

After my cancer diagnosis, I realized the stark survival odds. Having timely access to treatment and support was crucial for me. Witnessing disparities, especially in families of color, inspired me to write this book. It’s a guide to help them navigate similar challenges based on my own journey.

How important is it for Black writers to tell their stories?

As a Black author, I believe it’s crucial to share our experiences. In health care, cancer disparities for our community are a stark reality. Our unique challenges must be acknowledged, offering hope and guidance to fellow Black patients navigating their cancer journeys.

What did you like best about writing this book?

The best part of writing this book was gaining insights from my family, understanding their experiences as caregivers and supporters during my cancer journey.

What should readers expect from the book?

Expect to dive into my cancer journey, witnessing it from my perspective and that of my entire family. Throughout the book, I share survivor secrets that I’ve learned at every phase of this transformative journey.

Was it a deliberate decision to write this book?

Absolutely, it was a deliberate choice. There’s a significant lack of stories like mine, highlighting the unique experiences of people of color navigating the health care system with a cancer diagnosis. I noticed a shortage of books authored by Black women who’ve faced cancer themselves, and I wanted to change that narrative. The story of Henrietta Lacks, for instance, could have been told entirely differently if in her own words or those of her family.

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