Kate Pickert was 35 when she was diagnosed with an aggressive form of breast cancer. She had no risk factors for the disease: She’s young, doesn’t have any of the genes associated with breast cancer, has no family history, or any of the lifestyle risk factors (like obesity and heavy alcohol use). Her diagnosis felt like a mystery or bad luck, but as a health care journalist, she wanted to get to the bottom of why her experience felt so different from the way the breast cancer is commonly understood in the U.S.

“Being a reporter was so helpful to me, both in figuring out my treatment plan, finding my doctors, and doing research, but it also allowed me to see both my own experience and the story of what came before me,” Pickert says. “I was really interested in how we got to me sitting in the chemotherapy infusion chair.”

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