Book Written By Peggy Anderson

Dear Auntie, Why Me? A Duluth Woman’s Breast Cancer Story

This is a book that is letters to my aunt and letters back. It is full of pictures drawn by a former UMD Art student, Joel Skinner. It is jam packed full of details and information. The beautifully designed cover is by Mary Boman, Duluth artist who lost her daughter a UMD cancer researcher to cancer.  At times I have felt that it was three books in one in my attempt to answer my question, “Will I live or will I die from breast cancer?”

I wrote the book, Dear Auntie, Why Me? about breast cancer in 2005.  The book was dedicated to fund the Peggy and Jim Anderson Breast Cancer Fund at SMDC which it did fund. Others helped or at least submitted checks toward this fund. The fund was designed to only provide national training for staff in the radiation department, onoclogy department, and surgery department related to breast cancer.

I still have some copies that I sell to raise money for the fund.

I do give “free copies to breast cancer patients.”  The information in this book is intended entirely to educate and help women with a  breast cancer diagnosis.

Check out  my website to learn more about the book at: This website has not been updated in the past few years.

(It has come to my attention that someone has copied information for personal gain from my book  to make a profit off of others. My book is copyrighted. I have not given anyone permission to do so. Those doing so risk legal action. Please contact me with any knowledge of this.)



Dear Auntie, Why Me?

Book Details:

-A 6 by 9 book consisting of 309 pages, written by Peggy Anderson

The cover is by Mary Boman, who lost her daughter to cancer, a UMD researcher a few years back.  One day Peggy ran into Mary at Walgreen’s, and Mary shared her grief.  Peggy was determined to ask Mary, if she ever wrote a book to have her do the cover.  When Peggy thinks of Mary, she thinks of flowers, life, remembrances, and celebrations. She feels Mary’s painted flowers are a gift and a celebration of life as well as remembrances to all that are special in our lives.  Peggy realized from talking to others that grief lasts a long time and is hard to get through.

The illustrations through out the book are by Joel Skinner, a UMD graduate who spends time each day drawing.

-A book in a very unusual format, letters to her Auntie and some replies back.  The book is filled with illustrations, graphs, and charts, and a significant amount of detail on breast health and breast cancer.  The non-fiction letters are perfect for the reader who likes true stories, the comprehensive picture book is there for the visual reader who loves to look at pictures, and the book is loaded with a significant amount of detail for the analytical reader based on lots of sources and research.

The purpose of writing the book came in steps:  Originally this book consisted of letters to her Auntie and some of the replies back.  The book started out as a joke, when her Auntie told her to write a book on the computer, when she couldn’t sleep nights due to severe hot flashes..  It originally started off as letters that would help their own children to understand the symptoms, causes, and ways to prevent breast cancer.  Then the idea of putting these letters into a book came about, so that there could be more documentation on what a cancer patient goes through from diagnosis to remission.  Peggy felt other women could profit from the extensive time and energy she spent on researching  BC.  She had spent a lot of time frustrated by not finding the information that she so desperately wanted to find.  As time went on she wanted to write a book to donate the money to breast cancer training, education, treatment, and diagnosis for SMDC foundation and she also wanted to honor the medical staff that gave their hearts and energy to their difficult jobs in spite of it never showing on their faces.  Peggy, a retired school teacher, then decided to add illustrations and more detail to the book, so that all types of readers could read it.  The reader who wants to truly understand all the steps a patient goes through and the feelings, as well as what other family members go through should read this book. The book is filled with interesting stories  other cancer patients have endured as well as stories from daily life.  Sprinkled throughout the book is a sense of humor as Peggy tells stories “out of school” about her doctors and other medical staff, and many other people she knows in the community.  Her Auntie also tells many interesting stories about relatives and people she knows to help Peggy become more insightful from her wealth of wisdom and to work through her grief over cancer.

Truly a book to learn about breast care and preventing breast cancer.

-A way to understand the struggle a breast cancer survivor goes through

-What cancer families go through as well as what causes cancer.

-This book looks at the causes of breast cancer from Peggy’s experiences to researched causes.

A book that honors the doctors and medical staff that give their heart and soul to this profession day after day with a smile, a laugh,  or a joke.

-Many women will find this book insightful as they look at the causes, ways to prevent breast cancer, signs of breast cancer, treatments  (past and new), facts and statistics they may or may not want to know.

-A book that honors Aunties, life, and all people in all walks of life.

-A voice to the concern that women have when they can’t find information and one that is full of  information in one place.

-It helps the fearful understand the signs of recurrence.

-A book that tells you how to be your own best advocate by questions to ask various doctors and how to keep track of your own progress.

What the author wished she would have known before getting breast cancer.

-There are many numerous topics covered but some include cancer types, mammograms, biopsies, hot flashes, breast MRI’S, the importance of exercise and going to the Center for Personal Fitness, lymphedema, checking your breast and lymph glands, healthy eating, hormone therapy, vitamin, mineral, herbal therapy, stages of grief, what’s new in breast cancer treatments in the United States, a survivor’s journal, how you can help in your community and make a difference in your life and others, faith therapy, quotable information from cancer resources and books to name just a few topics.

The author feels women need to look at their own bodies, life style choices and environmental toxins to find the causes of their cancer.

Most importantly a book that lets women know that they should check their breasts and lymph nodes for cancer.  Early localized breast cancer if often curable if caught early enough and at an early stage.

-Peggy is a voice for others but she knows the concerns women have and wants all their voices to be heard in unison.  She has become passionate about breast education and feels women need to become their own advocates by knowledge. Peggy feels women need to be informed about the signs, causes, and ways to prevent breast cancer! 

Cost: $21.45 with taxes. The money is being donated to SMDC after taxes by the author.

The book is not a Harry Potter but one that can have an effect on woman’s breast health and breast cancer.  You will leave this book with a stronger faith, a better understanding of breast health and cancer, and people who make a difference in other people’s lives.  It will help you to ponder, cry, laugh, wonder, reflect, and understand all there is to know about this topic in one book.

Thank you for supporting this cause.  Only together can we make a difference and our voices be heard.

The Author, Peggy Anderson



Purchasing/Ordering Information

Book: Dear Auntie, Why Me? By Peggy Anderson

Summary: This books is on the signs, causes, and ways to prevent breast cancer as told by a Duluth woman with breast cancer. It includes letters to her Auntie and replies back. The book deals with numerous topics that all women encounter in their lives from the value of exercise, healthy eating, environmental toxins and other subjects. This books is full of numerous illustrations, charts, pictures, and positive affirmations they shared. It is packed full of information on ways to prevent breast cancer that she wished she would of known before her diagnosis. This book is of value to any type of cancer patient as well.

Purchasing: Download the form. Send a check or money order for $21.45 to:

Peggy Anderson Publishing


5204 Otsego St.

Duluth, MN 55804

Orders can be faxed to: 1-218-525-3539

Credit Cards: Run off form. Fax or mail me the form. Call me with all the information.

Postage: $2.00 covers uninsured postage, book rate in the United States. If you want insured, please add additional postage.

Proceeds: The proceeds of this book are donated to SMDC Foundation for Breast Cancer after taxes are paid.


Duluthian shares her breast cancer story to educate women
Sarah Fleener
Budgeteer News
Last Updated: Friday, July 22nd, 2005 11:03:27 AM


Despite being a self-described private person, Duluthian Peggy Anderson spills her guts for the greater good in her breast cancer story, “Dear Auntie, Why Me?”
The book, a compilation of letters, narratives and cold-hard facts, is a comprehensive guide to breast cancer awareness with a personal touch. “I wanted the book to be something that would help our daughters know what a cancer patient goes through,” Anderson said.
In Anderson’s mind, she feels people don’t talk about cancer enough, and she would like the book to open up dialogue. She said many are affected by cancer, but don’t allow themselves to go through the grieving process. “I’ve now met women who have been grieving the loss of their breasts for 15 years,” Anderson said.
The idea for the guide came from the very aunt who counseled Anderson through the cancer. “She is a really good friend, a sounding board, a counselor and she always has words of wisdom,” Anderson said of her aunt.
The book is not only the story of Anderson’s struggle, it is a medical reference. “I wanted it to be more than just a lot of medical jargon,” she said. So with the consultation of doctors and cancer groups, Anderson began researching the facts she wished she had known.
“When I found out I had breast cancer, I knew nothing about it,” she said. Anderson read every book she could get her hands on and spent hours combing the Internet. “I was like a fiery dragon trying to gobble up all the information,” she said.
The medical aspect of the book focuses on detection, which Anderson believes is as good as prevention. “Early detection is treatable,” she said.

Mixed in with the facts and letters are illustrations, done by a University of Minnesota Duluth art student, Joel Skinner. The sketches guide a woman through self-breast exams, identify cancer signs and show different means of reconstruction. Anderson said.
The illustrations are important because they offer a simple, descriptive guide. “Woman need to be vigilant about taking care of themselves,” she said. “This shows them how to do it.”
When all the different parts have come together, the book covers a number of topics including mammograms, hot flashes, the importance of exercise and healthy eating, hormone therapy, grieving, alternative therapy and faith therapy.
“I hope that this book will help to save more lives in our community through early detection,” she said. “This is not just a breast cancer story, it’s a book about prevention.”
Proceeds from the book will go to the St. Mary’s Medical Center Foundation for cancer education and research. Anderson said by making the contribution she’s honoring her doctors for their tireless effort. The book also honors aunties the world over.
Though trying, the struggle with breast cancer and writing the book has inspired Anderson to do many new things. She is now involved with the YWCA and Relay for Life and will be rowing for breast cancer awareness in the Dragon Boat races this August.
Anderson is also working on a her next book, “The ABC’s of Breast Cancer,” as well as pocket guide to identify signs of reoccurrence.
The book, “Dear Auntie, Why Me,” costs $21.44, with taxes and is for sale at J.W. Beecroft in Superior, Sweet Pea in Two Harbors, and a number of local book stores in Duluth. They can also be purchased from the author by calling 525-1905.