I work in a Cancer Center, and am helping a parent through chemo right now, and thus I hesitated to get this book, but am glad I did. Some parts, such as the first use of chemo on leukemia are incredible, and are a perfect image of how research works. The part where the first researcher to actually cure patients with chemo gets fired by the NCI is a perfect image of how research administrators work. Some of the later chapters on genetics get a bit dense, but the authors approach holds it together. Recommended for anyone dealing with cancer in their family, or anyone trying to understand why we have not conquered this diseases as we have others.
This book is a history of cancer treatment and research over the past two millenia. The topic might not seem interesting to many and downright fearful to others, the book is an amazing compilation of the agonizing and titanic struggle to understand this insidious disease. The book does not dwell on the painful, difficult suffering of those with the disease; it is not a tear jerker. In many ways, the book is uplifting and encouraging because the reader identifies with those who have struggled to understand and deal with this baffling condition. The first two-thirds of the book are accessible to anyone interested in the topic, but the last one-third has considerable discussion of the scientific progress in understanding the disease during the twentieth century. This last section might be a hard slog for those who do not have a scientific or medical background, but even if a person is not able to comprehend all the biological considerations, most people would be in awe of the persistence and insights of the researchers. A fascinating book for all in the medical field. Very good narration, despite some mispronunciations of some scientific terms. Highly recommended.
I hesitated on choosing this book, having read reviews stating it was technical and best suited for those with a medical background. I found such to be totally without merit. As long as you know that living things are made up of many cells, and that those living cells divide, you're ready for a great read.
The author presents the history of cancer in a very understandable, and interesting way. From the first mention of the malady in literature, to autopsies on mummified bodies, to accounts of present day patients, you will enjoy and learn.
This book is better than just good, a solid "4+.".Also, the narrator is the best I've listened to. I am a bit deaf, and his articulation was clear, clean and easy to understand.
This book is a pretty interesting study of the history of the treatment of cancer. It contains some unfortunate side trips and some of the detail of cellular biology was a little hard to follow. I thought the reading was only ok. It was overly dramatic in parts where the material itself was plenty dramatic enough. It didn't require embellishment. All in all pretty informative. (Knowledge of biology not required to fully
appreciate the book.)
Computer Programmer and Worship Leader. Have enjoyed reading since my mom got me hooked on Nancy Drew and Agatha Christie prior to my teen years. My brother got me hooked on audio books after I started having a longer commute to work. Love a variety of genres.
This book was very thorough and well written, but it is not for the "casual" reader. The author is not averse to using plenty of medical jargon, and those who tend to get lost in these situations may find themselves nodding off in parts of the book.
Having said that, there is a wealth of great information, interesting stories and intriguing statistics in this book. Although I had realized we've been making progress in the war against cancer, I didn't realize how steady it had been over the last 20 years.
As interesting as the story of cancer itself is, the history of the treatment of cancer is even more fascinating. The almost barbaric early methods of treatment were quite troubling - hard to believe some of them went on so long!
For those with medical or biological science backgrounds, this book will likely be riveting and thoroughly comprehended. For those of us (myself included) who are play in the shallow end of these disciplines, there is much to be gained from this book, but there is also a healthy percentage that will go over your head. Well worth the read!
I like the author's statement that this is a "biography" of cancer. It isn't just a history of the disease and our attempts to cure it, control it or live with it and hopefully not die from it, but it is approached as a living entity which I suppose it truly is. Saddest part for me was the attempt to cure breast cancer with hugely disfiguring surgery which ultimately was proven to be ineffective, but only after multitudes of women had undergone the surgery, only subsequently to relapse and die. Most hopeful and encouraging was the account of the fight against leukemia, which at one time, once diagnosed, was a death sentence, and which now, after much research and many frustrating treatment trials, frequently yields to a cure. The author's compassion and concern for his patients and all of the people through history affected by this disease really shines through. His account of the pre-historic woman whose fossilized remains indicated that she must have suffered from bone cancer and endured much pain really connected her as a human being to his readers.
This is a great book!! However, they chose a horrible narrator. He reads very slow, and draws out words. I love audio books, but this one is hard to listen to with him narrating.
I listened to this book while alternating with reading it. For a non-medical person I found the detail to be overwhelming. The names seemed to all get jumbled up after a while. I found it very difficult to follow. I believe this was written for those who already have some knowledge of the history of cancer research because otherwise it is just too much to swallow. I found my mind wandering frequently and it was an effort and a relief to get through it.
I heard the reviews and now after reading this book I have to say they were right. This is a very good read. Really enjoyed this book.
THE PATIENTS, THE DOCTORS, AND THE SCIENTIST ARE THE FRONT LINE WARRIORS BUT THE DEPTH OF OTHER LIKELY AND UNLIKELY FIGHTERS BEGINS WITH EGYPTIAN MUMMIES. BATTLES CONTINUE ON MANY FRONTS. EACH IS DEFINED WITH MATICULOUS AND UNDERSTANDABLE DETAIL. CANCER IS A PART OF OUR NATURE. WE WILL WIN SOME AND LOSE SOME.