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Cancer: A love story – Lauren Segal

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Cancer: A love story – Lauren Segal

Lauren Segal discusses her book Cancer: A love story. (Camera & editing: Darlene Creamer)

27th October 2017


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When Lauren Segal receives a call from her husband one wintry morning in 2014, the furthest thing from her mind is her biopsy results. For two years she’s been living a cancer-free existence after a double mastectomy that has put her in the clear. The call shatters the foundation of her world – the lump she thought was scar tissue is malignant. Her cancer is back.

Cancer: A Love Story is the intimately searing memoir of a four-time cancer survivor. The book magnificently tracks Lauren’s journey to come to terms with the untold challenges of facing the dreaded disease. Forced to face her needle phobia, the author leads the reader into her crumbling world as she confronts the terrors of treatment – from debilitating chemo to nuking radiation. Death is her uninvited companion.


But in the midst of her lonely horror, in a quest for deeper meaning, Lauren discovers the unexpected gift of awareness of unanticipated opportunities that cancer presents – to confront her unmasked humanity – her fears, strengths and weaknesses.

“Throughout my arduous journey into the world of cancer, I have discovered that proximity to death brings with it a new proximity to life. I have learned that luck and unluck, happiness and distress, hope and despair are tightly coiled into a life well lived.”


Lauren’s story removes the enormous stigma that still surrounds breast cancer; it tackles the deep fear surrounding diagnoses and treatment and it encourages us to take control of our health. It ultimately triumphs by showing the reader how a person in any unwanted life situation can come out on the other side. The book also provides vital insights for professionals involved in the care of cancer patients and a hugely informative section on chemo tips for those undergoing treatment.

Responses to the book

‘Exquisitely rendered, achingly tender and simply unputdownable.’ Jenny Crwys-Williams, Radio talkshow host

‘Lauren Segal’s writing is compelling, fluent and vital. The unexpected triumph of her inspiring book is its ability to portray her battle with cancer as a gift – albeit an unwanted one – rather than a curse.’Mark Gevisser, author

I have read this magnificent memoir (twice). This is not just “another” cancer memoir. On a literary level, the author achieves a vibrant homage to the power of literature. But its greatest asset is Lauren’s remarkable narrative talents: she writes with a scalpel of honesty, her prose is direct and fresh. The tale is engrossing and harrowing and bears an immediacy in the telling that profoundly touched me. What a work! Gorgeous, funny, complex and unsparing. I loved it.’ – Dr Simon Fortin, writer, actor and scholar

About the author

Lauren Segal has co-authored five books: One Law One Nation; Great Lives, Pivotal Moments; Mapping Memories; Number Four; the Making of Constitution Hill and Soweto: A History.

She is a passionate and adventurous married woman and mother of two children. Lauren currently works as a museum curator; her most recent project was curating and designing the new Johannesburg Holocaust and Genocide Centre. She heads up Trace, a research, design and exhibition company, currently in the early stages of designing the Museum of the Constitution at Constitution Hill. Trace has also curated several high-profile exhibitions including A Prisoner in the Garden for the Mandela Foundation and Gandhi for the City of Johannesburg.

Inspired by her own journey into self-discovery and healing, Lauren is currently studying part-time to become a psychoanalyst.

Cancer: A love story is published by Jacana Media


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