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.
This was an exhausting listen. I could only stand it for an hour at a time. For those who don't hearing about shocking situations, however, I can highly recommend it. The author is an excellent writer, and includes himself, and some of his patients, in the story.
Since my mother and both her parents parents died of cancer, this subject interests me intensely. My generation has been more careful about this, and this part of the cancer success story.
The hysteria of America in general about this, however, is another matter - and is clearly revealed in this history.
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.)
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.
This is a wonderfully written and engaging book, which covers vast ground in the field of cancer research and treatment. A must read for anyone interested in understanding the history and politics of the medical system and what the medical professionals and patients go through to make advances in the "cure." It is a difficult read, at times, and very emotional, and well worth the effort and time to appreciate the complexities of medicine both in the past and in current history. I found this book quite fascinating and helpful. Highly recommend.