Queen Anne resident Dena Taylor beat breast cancer over a decade ago, and her new memoir, “I Don't Wanna Be Pink,” details her life during the year following her diagnosis while calling out the commercialization she sees surrounding the disease.

She said the term, “pink washing” explains what she is talking about, saying that there is little transparency in the donations from “pink sales” that businesses make from cashing in on breast cancer-themed products. While many businesses do have an honest desire to help in the fight, she said there are better, more direct ways to donate.

“If you are going to donate money to, say, a retailer or something that says part of their proceeds are going to go to benefit breast cancer research, simply ask the question, 'How much of it is going?'” she said.

Just as important, she said, people should ask which organizations the money is going to and what their organizations are going to do with it.

“How much goes to their operating costs?” she said. “How much goes to actual research? Then consider the possibility of donating directly to those organizations versus to that retailer.”

Taylor didn’t write the book to take down the pink machine. She wrote it because there were few, if any, breast cancer memoirs that addressed all of the issues and topics that affected her during her treatment, she said.

Few of the books she read dealt with what it was like to date and be single with breast cancer, Taylor said; not to mention health insurance headaches from being a freelance writer.

She also didn’t want to embrace being a poster child for the “movement of the pink,” but balanced that desire with the hope of helping others.

“I thought maybe this [book] will be helpful to share if I even help one person,” she said.

“I Don't Wanna Be Pink” started as a series of journal entries that helped her organize her thoughts and feelings while going through such a traumatic season in her life. Those entries became the inspiration for a series of essays about her experience, which she eventually retooled as the self-published memoir.

She said her main message to anyone going through tragedy would be that there’s no right way; each person makes their own choice how to react and go on living.

In the book, she embraces how impactful a diagnosis is, and affirms everyone’s right to face it how they may.

“At the end of the day you have cancer,” she said. “And sitting with that phrase and thinking about that, it's like saying those words and how heavy that is. You can do whatever you want. You should respond to it in whatever way makes you feel comfortable and strong and supported.”

“I Don't Wanna Be Pink” details her dating life during her treatment, the support of family and friends, and the reaffirmation of her travel lust.

Her need to travel isn’t all about sightseeing, however. She found that helping others with their fight was just as important as her own. She said that spending time helping others in Tanzania in turn helped her.

Taylor also speaks to those who, like her, received a bilateral mastectomy, and the chemotherapy that follows.

Taylor had to endure six rounds of chemotherapy administered every three weeks. After that, she received her reconstruction surgery. Though she does detail this important medical journey, she said the book is more than just another breast cancer memoir.

“What I would say about the book is that people should definitely share it with someone they think would find the story of comfort and insightful and helpful in any way,” she said.

“I Don’t Wanna Be Pink” can be purchased here, from Amazon.com or at participating retailers.