Episode 54: Barbara Caplan-Bennett on Losing Her Nose to Save Her Life

The physical manifestations of cancer are unique to every journey, and some are more outwardly obvious than others. Our guest this week, Barbara Caplan-Bennett — a published author of several essays, articles, and novels including “Noseworthy”, a memoir about her journey as a melanoma cancer survivor — knows first-hand the impact a skin cancer diagnosis can have on your appearance. In this episode, she gets honest about her diagnoses, recoveries, and the transformative personal sacrifice she made to save her life. Barbara’s unique experiences will have you amazed at her ability to find humor after trauma and the inspiration to use her journey to follow her life’s dream.

In this episode, we’re diving into:

  • Barbara’s unique story about how a weird bump on her nose changed her life
  • What is Mohs technique and how Barbara felt looking in the mirror for the first time after surgery
  • The innocent comments that led Barbara to make a doctor’s appointment
  • The shocking news Barbara received about her nose, and the questions it left her asking about getting back to normal
  • What people don’t tell you about the impact of head and neck surgeries (and what that meant for Barbara’s physical and mental well-being)
  • The freeing moment Barbara got her prosthetic, plus the lesson she learned about ALWAYS asking for exactly what she wants
  • Barbara shares her experience with a Tumor Board — what it is, how she came to be a part of it, and what the doctors concluded about her diagnosis and recovery
  • Why Barbara is finally able to see the light side of her cancer journey (it took a long time!) and how it gave her the opportunity to live her life’s dream
  • Barbara gets real and gives us ALL the interesting details you might be wondering about prosthetic noses 
  • And much more!


Barbara Caplan-Bennett has a degree in Literature from the University of Minnesota and a Certificate in Creative Writing from UCLA.  She has published essays and articles on a variety of subjects, as well as a novel, Nothin’ Left to Lose.  She lives in Chatsworth, California with her husband, Paul, and they are owned by cats, Beckett and Alfie, and Cally the Wonder Dog.

Get your copy of “Noseworthy” on  

Autographed copies (personalized, if desired) of “Noseworthy” are available by emailing noseworthy2020@gmail.com.

Check out the HuffPost article Barbara wrote about her cancer journey, “I Had To Have My Entire Nose Removed Or Risk Dying. Here’s How It Changed My Life.”

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