Emperor online sale of sale All Maladies: A Biography of Cancer outlet sale

Emperor online sale of sale All Maladies: A Biography of Cancer outlet sale

Emperor online sale of sale All Maladies: A Biography of Cancer outlet sale
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Winner of the Pulitzer Prize and a documentary from Ken Burns on PBS, this New York Times bestseller is “an extraordinary achievement” (The New Yorker)—a magnificent, profoundly humane “biography” of cancer—from its first documented appearances thousands of years ago through the epic battles in the twentieth century to cure, control, and conquer it to a radical new understanding of its essence.

Physician, researcher, and award-winning science writer, Siddhartha Mukherjee examines cancer with a cellular biologist’s precision, a historian’s perspective, and a biographer’s passion. The result is an astonishingly lucid and eloquent chronicle of a disease humans have lived with—and perished from—for more than five thousand years.

The story of cancer is a story of human ingenuity, resilience, and perseverance, but also of hubris, paternalism, and misperception. Mukherjee recounts centuries of discoveries, setbacks, victories, and deaths, told through the eyes of his predecessors and peers, training their wits against an infinitely resourceful adversary that, just three decades ago, was thought to be easily vanquished in an all-out “war against cancer.” The book reads like a literary thriller with cancer as the protagonist.

Riveting, urgent, and surprising, The Emperor of All Maladies provides a fascinating glimpse into the future of cancer treatments. It is an illuminating book that provides hope and clarity to those seeking to demystify cancer.

Review

“This volume should earn Mukherjee a rightful place alongside Carl Sagan, Stephen Jay Gould, and Stephen Hawking in the pantheon of our epoch''s great explicators.”— Boston Globe

About the Author

Siddhartha Mukherjee is the author of  The Emperor of All Maladies: A Biography of Cancer, winner of the 2011 Pulitzer Prize in general nonfiction, and The Laws of Medicine. He is the editor of Best Science Writing 2013. Mukherjee is an assistant professor of medicine at Columbia University and a cancer physician and researcher. A Rhodes scholar, he graduated from Stanford University, University of Oxford, and Harvard Medical School. He has published articles in Nature, The New England Journal of MedicineThe New York Times, and Cell. He lives in New York with his wife and daughters. Visit his website at: SiddharthaMukherjee.com

 

Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.

The Emperor of all Maladies


Diseases desperate grown

By desperate appliance are relieved,

Or not at all.



Cancer begins and ends with people. In the midst of scientific abstraction, it is sometimes possible to forget this one basic fact.… Doctors treat diseases, but they also treat people, and this precondition of their professional existence sometimes pulls them in two directions at once.



On the morning of May 19, 2004, Carla Reed, a thirty-year-old kindergarten teacher from Ipswich, Massachusetts, a mother of three young children, woke up in bed with a headache. “Not just any headache,” she would recall later, “but a sort of numbness in my head. The kind of numbness that instantly tells you that something is terribly wrong.”

Something had been terribly wrong for nearly a month. Late in April, Carla had discovered a few bruises on her back. They had suddenly appeared one morning, like strange stigmata, then grown and vanished over the next month, leaving large map-shaped marks on her back. Almost indiscernibly, her gums had begun to turn white. By early May, Carla, a vivacious, energetic woman accustomed to spending hours in the classroom chasing down five- and six-year-olds, could barely walk up a flight of stairs. Some mornings, exhausted and unable to stand up, she crawled down the hallways of her house on all fours to get from one room to another. She slept fitfully for twelve or fourteen hours a day, then woke up feeling so overwhelmingly tired that she needed to haul herself back to the couch again to sleep.

Carla and her husband saw a general physician and a nurse twice during those four weeks, but she returned each time with no tests and without a diagnosis. Ghostly pains appeared and disappeared in her bones. The doctor fumbled about for some explanation. Perhaps it was a migraine, she suggested, and asked Carla to try some aspirin. The aspirin simply worsened the bleeding in Carla’s white gums.

Outgoing, gregarious, and ebullient, Carla was more puzzled than worried about her waxing and waning illness. She had never been seriously ill in her life. The hospital was an abstract place for her; she had never met or consulted a medical specialist, let alone an oncologist. She imagined and concocted various causes to explain her symptoms—overwork, depression, dyspepsia, neuroses, insomnia. But in the end, something visceral arose inside her—a seventh sense—that told Carla something acute and catastrophic was brewing within her body.

On the afternoon of May 19, Carla dropped her three children with a neighbor and drove herself back to the clinic, demanding to have some blood tests. Her doctor ordered a routine test to check her blood counts. As the technician drew a tube of blood from her vein, he looked closely at the blood’s color, obviously intrigued. Watery, pale, and dilute, the liquid that welled out of Carla’s veins hardly resembled blood.

Carla waited the rest of the day without any news. At a fish market the next morning, she received a call.

“We need to draw some blood again,” the nurse from the clinic said.

“When should I come?” Carla asked, planning her hectic day. She remembers looking up at the clock on the wall. A half-pound steak of salmon was warming in her shopping basket, threatening to spoil if she left it out too long.

In the end, commonplace particulars make up Carla’s memories of illness: the clock, the car pool, the children, a tube of pale blood, a missed shower, the fish in the sun, the tightening tone of a voice on the phone. Carla cannot recall much of what the nurse said, only a general sense of urgency. “Come now,” she thinks the nurse said. “Come now.”



I heard about Carla’s case at seven o’clock on the morning of May 21, on a train speeding between Kendall Square and Charles Street in Boston. The sentence that flickered on my beeper had the staccato and deadpan force of a true medical emergency: Carla Reed/New patient with leukemia/14th Floor/Please see as soon as you arrive. As the train shot out of a long, dark tunnel, the glass towers of the Massachusetts General Hospital suddenly loomed into view, and I could see the windows of the fourteenth floor rooms.

Carla, I guessed, was sitting in one of those rooms by herself, terrifyingly alone. Outside the room, a buzz of frantic activity had probably begun. Tubes of blood were shuttling between the ward and the laboratories on the second floor. Nurses were moving about with specimens, interns collecting data for morning reports, alarms beeping, pages being sent out. Somewhere in the depths of the hospital, a microscope was flickering on, with the cells in Carla’s blood coming into focus under its lens.

I can feel relatively certain about all of this because the arrival of a patient with acute leukemia still sends a shiver down the hospital’s spine—all the way from the cancer wards on its upper floors to the clinical laboratories buried deep in the basement. Leukemia is cancer of the white blood cells—cancer in one of its most explosive, violent incarnations. As one nurse on the wards often liked to remind her patients, with this disease “even a paper cut is an emergency.”

For an oncologist in training, too, leukemia represents a special incarnation of cancer. Its pace, its acuity, its breathtaking, inexorable arc of growth forces rapid, often drastic decisions; it is terrifying to experience, terrifying to observe, and terrifying to treat. The body invaded by leukemia is pushed to its brittle physiological limit—every system, heart, lung, blood, working at the knife-edge of its performance. The nurses filled me in on the gaps in the story. Blood tests performed by Carla’s doctor had revealed that her red cell count was critically low, less than a third of normal. Instead of normal white cells, her blood was packed with millions of large, malignant white cells—blasts, in the vocabulary of cancer. Her doctor, having finally stumbled upon the real diagnosis, had sent her to the Massachusetts General Hospital.



In the long, bare hall outside Carla’s room, in the antiseptic gleam of the floor just mopped with diluted bleach, I ran through the list of tests that would be needed on her blood and mentally rehearsed the conversation I would have with her. There was, I noted ruefully, something rehearsed and robotic even about my sympathy. This was the tenth month of my “fellowship” in oncology—a two-year immersive medical program to train cancer specialists—and I felt as if I had gravitated to my lowest point. In those ten indescribably poignant and difficult months, dozens of patients in my care had died. I felt I was slowly becoming inured to the deaths and the desolation—vaccinated against the constant emotional brunt.

There were seven such cancer fellows at this hospital. On paper, we seemed like a formidable force: graduates of five medical schools and four teaching hospitals, sixty-six years of medical and scientific training, and twelve postgraduate degrees among us. But none of those years or degrees could possibly have prepared us for this training program. Medical school, internship, and residency had been physically and emotionally grueling, but the first months of the fellowship flicked away those memories as if all of that had been child’s play, the kindergarten of medical training.

Cancer was an all-consuming presence in our lives. It invaded our imaginations; it occupied our memories; it infiltrated every conversation, every thought. And if we, as physicians, found ourselves immersed in cancer, then our patients found their lives virtually obliterated by the disease. Cancer Ward, Pavel Nikolayevich Rusanov, a youthful Russian in his midforties, discovers that he has a tumor in his neck and is immediately whisked away into a cancer ward in some nameless hospital in the frigid north. The diagnosis of cancer—not the disease, but the mere stigma of its presence—becomes a death sentence for Rusanov. The illness strips him of his identity. It dresses him in a patient’s smock (a tragicomically cruel costume, no less blighting than a prisoner’s jumpsuit) and assumes absolute control of his actions. To be diagnosed with cancer, Rusanov discovers, is to enter a borderless medical gulag, a state even more invasive and paralyzing than the one that he has left behind. (Solzhenitsyn may have intended his absurdly totalitarian cancer hospital to parallel the absurdly totalitarian state outside it, yet when I once asked a woman with invasive cervical cancer about the parallel, she said sardonically, “Unfortunately, I did not need any metaphors to read the book. The cancer ward was my confining state, my prison.”)

As a doctor learning to tend cancer patients, I had only a partial glimpse of this confinement. But even skirting its periphery, I could still feel its power—the dense, insistent gravitational tug that pulls everything and everyone into the orbit of cancer. A colleague, freshly out of his fellowship, pulled me aside on my first week to offer some advice. “It’s called an immersive training program,” he said, lowering his voice. “But by immersive, they really mean drowning. Don’t let it work its way into everything you do. Have a life outside the hospital. You’ll need it, or you’ll get swallowed.”

But it was impossible not to be swallowed. In the parking lot of the hospital, a chilly, concrete box lit by neon floodlights, I spent the end of every evening after rounds in stunned incoherence, the car radio crackling vacantly in the background, as I compulsively tried to reconstruct the events of the day. The stories of my patients consumed me, and the decisions that I made haunted me. Was it worthwhile continuing yet another round of chemotherapy on a sixty-six-year-old pharmacist with lung cancer who had failed all other drugs? Was is better to try a tested and potent combination of drugs on a twenty-six-year-old woman with Hodgkin’s disease and risk losing her fertility, or to choose a more experimental combination that might spare it? Should a Spanish-speaking mother of three with colon cancer be enrolled in a new clinical trial when she can barely read the formal and inscrutable language of the consent forms?

Immersed in the day-to-day management of cancer, I could only see the lives and fates of my patients played out in color-saturated detail, like a television with the contrast turned too high. I could not pan back from the screen. I knew instinctively that these experiences were part of a much larger battle against cancer, but its contours lay far outside my reach. I had a novice’s hunger for history, but also a novice’s inability to envision it.



But as I emerged from the strange desolation of those two fellowship years, the questions about the larger story of cancer emerged with urgency: How old is cancer? What are the roots of our battle against this disease? Or, as patients often asked me: Where are we in the “war” on cancer? How did we get here? Is there an end? Can this war even be won?

This book grew out of the attempt to answer these questions. I delved into the history of cancer to give shape to the shape-shifting illness that I was confronting. I used the past to explain the present. The isolation and rage of a thirty-six-year-old woman with stage III breast cancer had ancient echoes in who swaddled her diseased breast in cloth to hide it and then, in a fit of nihilistic and prescient fury, possibly had a slave cut it off with a knife. A patient’s desire to amputate her stomach, ridden with cancer—“sparing nothing,” as she put it to me—carried the memory of the perfection-obsessed nineteenth-century surgeon William Halsted, who had chiseled away at cancer with larger and more disfiguring surgeries, all in the hopes that cutting more would mean curing more.

Roiling underneath these medical, cultural, and metaphorical interceptions of cancer over the centuries was the biological understanding of the illness—an understanding that had morphed, often radically, from decade to decade. Cancer, we now know, is a disease caused by the uncontrolled growth of a single cell. This growth is unleashed by mutations—changes in DNA that specifically affect genes that incite unlimited cell growth. In a normal cell, powerful genetic circuits regulate cell division and cell death. In a cancer cell, these circuits have been broken, unleashing a cell that cannot stop growing.

That this seemingly simple mechanism—cell growth without barriers—can lie at the heart of this grotesque and multifaceted illness is a testament to the unfathomable power of cell growth. Cell division allows us as organisms to grow, to adapt, to recover, to repair—to live. And distorted and unleashed, it allows cancer cells to grow, to flourish, to adapt, to recover, and to repair—to live at the cost of our living. Cancer cells can grow faster, adapt better. They are more perfect versions of ourselves.

The secret to battling cancer, then, is to find means to prevent these mutations from occurring in susceptible cells, or to find means to eliminate the mutated cells without compromising normal growth. The conciseness of that statement belies the enormity of the task. Malignant growth and normal growth are so genetically intertwined that unbraiding the two might be one of the most significant scientific challenges faced by our species. Cancer is built into our genomes: the genes that unmoor normal cell division are not foreign to our bodies, but rather mutated, distorted versions of the very genes that perform vital cellular functions. And cancer is imprinted in our society: as we extend our life span as a species, we inevitably unleash malignant growth (mutations in cancer genes accumulate with aging; cancer is thus intrinsically related to age). If we seek immortality, then so, too, in a rather perverse sense, does the cancer cell.

How, precisely, a future generation might learn to separate the entwined strands of normal growth from malignant growth remains a mystery. ( J. B. S. Haldane liked to say, “is not only queerer than we suppose, but queerer than we can suppose”—and so is the trajectory of science.) But this much is certain: the story, however it plays out, will contain indelible kernels of the past. It will be a story of inventiveness, resilience, and perseverance against what one writer called the most “relentless and insidious enemy” among human diseases. But it will also be a story of hubris, arrogance, paternalism, misperception, false hope, and hype, all leveraged against an illness that was just three decades ago widely touted as being “curable” within a few years.



In the bare hospital room ventilated by sterilized air, Carla was fighting her own war on cancer. When I arrived, she was sitting with peculiar calm on her bed, a schoolteacher jotting notes. (“But what notes?” she would later recall. “I just wrote and rewrote the same thoughts.”) Her mother, red-eyed and tearful, just off an overnight flight, burst into the room and then sat silently in a chair by the window, rocking forcefully. The din of activity around Carla had become almost a blur: nurses shuttling fluids in and out, interns donning masks and gowns, antibiotics being hung on IV poles to be dripped into her veins.

I explained the situation as best I could. Her day ahead would be full of tests, a hurtle from one lab to another. I would draw a bone marrow sample. More tests would be run by pathologists. But the preliminary tests suggested that Carla had acute lymphoblastic leukemia. It is one of the most common forms of cancer in children, but rare in adults. And it is—I paused here for emphasis, lifting my eyes up—often curable.

Curable. Carla nodded at that word, her eyes sharpening. Inevitable questions hung in the room: How curable? What were the chances that she would survive? How long would the treatment take? I laid out the odds. Once the diagnosis had been confirmed, chemotherapy would begin immediately and last more than one year. Her chances of being cured were about 30 percent, a little less than one in three.

We spoke for an hour, perhaps longer. It was now nine thirty in the morning. The city below us had stirred fully awake. The door shut behind me as I left, and a whoosh of air blew me outward and sealed Carla in.

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Top reviews from the United States

Aaron McLoughlin
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
read it after your treatment
Reviewed in the United States on September 25, 2016
Last April I was diagnosed with acute leukaemia. After a stem cell transplant I am coming up for a year. When you are told you have cancer you are bewildered. You are also very angry. I asked myself was there something I had done in my past that was going to... See more
Last April I was diagnosed with acute leukaemia. After a stem cell transplant I am coming up for a year.

When you are told you have cancer you are bewildered. You are also very angry. I asked myself was there something I had done in my past that was going to deprive me seeing my two sons grow up into happy young men and dads. The first two weeks go by in a weird nightmare. Day 17 your hair falls out. Your peeing orange from the chemo drugs, which have put me off lucozade for life. You double check all your insurances are up to date and update a well to make sure my wife does not have any hassles with the tax authorities. At the age of 44 you are very angry. You realise you are likely going to die. You are angry because you have no idea what is doing it. What you planned for when you were older is all meaningless. But, thanks to certain stubbornness and amazing treatment and care, and a generous sift of life from a German donor of life giving stem cells, I am alive.

This book helps explain many of the questions I had. It does it in a way that makes sense if you don''t have a degree in science. What was until recently a death sentence is no longer the case. The battle against cancer was waged by intrepid individuals, and this book explains the war so far. It outlines the causes of cancer, whether it is a virus, bacteria, induced by smoking or chemicals, or just our own body playing up and turning on itself. It explains how our own understanding is still basic but advancing year by year, and treatments, if not cures, are being found for many, although not all cancers.

I learned that was once a death sentence is not the case today. I am looking forward to see my sons become men. This book gave me clarity, it gave me hope.
334 people found this helpful
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Suzee2
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Excellent - Highly recommended
Reviewed in the United States on December 1, 2017
A beautifully written, fascinating, well researched, and, ultimately, sobering look at cancer. I bought this book because I have recently been diagnosed with breast cancer. I wanted a deeper understanding of cancer than I could find on the usual cancer websites patients... See more
A beautifully written, fascinating, well researched, and, ultimately, sobering look at cancer. I bought this book because I have recently been diagnosed with breast cancer. I wanted a deeper understanding of cancer than I could find on the usual cancer websites patients are directed to. This book delivered in spades. It delves into the history of cancer - our understanding of it and treatment through the ages. It goes into the biology of cancer and how scientists have come to understand more about it. It talks about recent advances in treatment and how they were discovered and brought to market. Most importantly, the author does it all with an amazing sense of the impact on individuals affected by cancer. He is a medical oncologist who tells the stories of his patients'' battles with cancer. It''s a fascinating story told with so much humanity and so much humility. He makes very clear what a devastating disease this is, how complex it is, and what a wily opponent cancer is. As a cancer patient I wanted a deeper understanding of cancer, and I got it. But it is such a sobering book that I doubt I will sleep any better for having read it. It''s an amazing and beautifully written book, one of the best I have ever read. I highly recommend it.
20 people found this helpful
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Chris
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Outstanding historical review of a terrible disease
Reviewed in the United States on May 10, 2017
This book was outstanding, and one that should be read with care for anyone working in oncology. Although factually interested, I felt the book was slightly dry while reviewing the early history of cancer care. The change in prose was palpable as it transitioned to modern... See more
This book was outstanding, and one that should be read with care for anyone working in oncology. Although factually interested, I felt the book was slightly dry while reviewing the early history of cancer care. The change in prose was palpable as it transitioned to modern oncology, where the author gave detailed, emotional accounts of his own patient interactions. The last 200 pages were phenomenal and often describes why I chose oncology as a profession. It gives beautiful descriptions of the grit patients have to endure such debilitating disease; transcending the physical body into a higher understanding.
32 people found this helpful
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Ionut Trestian
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
An insider''s view of cancer
Reviewed in the United States on January 26, 2015
I only read this book because Ken Burns produced a documentary on it that is coming out in the Spring of 2015. I really love Ken Burns documentaries, hence the interest. Across the book, there is only one common character, cancer. Although cancer is not a single disease but... See more
I only read this book because Ken Burns produced a documentary on it that is coming out in the Spring of 2015. I really love Ken Burns documentaries, hence the interest. Across the book, there is only one common character, cancer. Although cancer is not a single disease but a collection of several diseases characterized by uncontrolled growth and spread of cells in the body, the book portrays cancer as a great villain, lurking in the shadows, ready to strike at any time. What makes this story different and far from dry is the way S. Mukherjee tells it: "the story of leukemia - the story of cancer - isn''t the story of doctors who struggle and survive, moving from one institution to another. It is the story of patients who struggle and survive, moving from one embankment of illness to another. Resilience, inventiveness, and survivorship — qualities often ascribed to great physicians — are reflected qualities, emanating first from those who struggle with illness and only then mirrored by those who treat them. If the history of medicine is told through the stories of doctors, it is because their contributions stand in place of the more substantive heroism of their patients."

Across the book, we are also introduced to ways of fighting or stalling the advance of cancer: radical surgery and radical mastectomy, X-rays, cytotoxics, monoclonal antibodies, tyrosine kinase inhibitors and S. Mukherjee explains really well how all of the above function (or don''t function in some cases). One of the strengths of the book is that it gives a behind the scenes look at how certain drugs or procedures came to be (Druker''s struggles with developing imatinib) or how other procedures were proven to be too radical and changed such as Halsted''s radical mastectomy.

The fight to find a cure for cancer has triggered enormous social forces in the 20th century and in the book we are introduced to some of the main characters: Sidney Farber and the Jimmy Fund, Mary Lasker and the American Cancer Society both determined to enact policy changes that will get more resources allocated to the war against cancer. These are just a few figures in this war, but there were other forces as well that fought for cigarette labeling for example, or more personal struggles related to compassionate drug use.

S. Mukherjee ends the book on a more positive note. All throughout the book we get the impression that primitive forces are battling a very complex disease, using disfiguring surgery or drugs that oftentimes end up causing cancer themselves. The final few chapters are not so gloomy, he takes a molecular biologist''s view of the disease and explains our current understanding of the processes and pathways involved and you do get the impression that by 2050 we will be able to target the specific pathways and mutations that make up a particular form of cancer.
57 people found this helpful
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Joseph Sciuto
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Monumental!
Reviewed in the United States on January 8, 2019
Siddhartha Mukherjee''s "The Emperor of all Maladies: A Biography of Cancer" is one of the most important books I have ever read. Winner of the Pulitzer Prize, it is an astonishing achievement that traces the history of cancer back over 2,000 years to the present (2009). It... See more
Siddhartha Mukherjee''s "The Emperor of all Maladies: A Biography of Cancer" is one of the most important books I have ever read. Winner of the Pulitzer Prize, it is an astonishing achievement that traces the history of cancer back over 2,000 years to the present (2009). It is beautifully written, easy to read and understand, informative, and it shines an illuminating light on the many scientists, researchers, doctors, nurses, philanthropists and patients that have all played such major roles in the fight against a disease with so many different faces and transformations... An adversary like none other.

It might be easy for people to want to shy away from a book about cancer, but Mr. Mukherjee''s approach is so uniquely humane, as many reviewers have noted, that the burden and heartache of this disease (maladies) are almost secondary to the information and history that is so brilliantly presented.

A MONUMENTAL ACHIEVEMENT.
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Mark B Gerstein
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Thoughts on Mukherjee''s Emperor of All Maladies: Learned about the science of cancer
Reviewed in the United States on December 29, 2019
I had heard that The Emperor of All Maladies – written by award-winning oncologist Siddhartha Mukherjee – is a “must-read” about cancer. I was not disappointed. The book is fascinating, examining all aspects of the disease in the framework of a broad story arc. Mukherjee... See more
I had heard that The Emperor of All Maladies – written by award-winning oncologist Siddhartha Mukherjee – is a “must-read” about cancer. I was not disappointed. The book is fascinating, examining all aspects of the disease in the framework of a broad story arc. Mukherjee did an excellent job interspersing captivating language and vignettes – such as a quote from Susan Sontag about illness being the dark side of life – with science and history on an all-important disease.

The book provides a comprehensive history of cancer, beginning from its first identification by the Greeks (as “oncos” ) to the present. The detailed descriptions of the development of chemotherapy, radiation, and surgery treatments were engrossing. I was struck by the importance of blood cancers for the development of the first chemotherapeutic agents, as well as the importance of surgeons such as William Halsted in devising various ways to remove tumors.

I was interested to learn about the early work on epidemiology and prevention in relation to lung cancer. Richard Doll and Austin Bradford Hill pioneered a new approach to epidemiological statistics to link cigarette smoking and cancer. These researchers deserve high praise for making this critical link and changing the field of epidemiology.

Mukherjee also discusses other aspects of cancer, including the development of a massive apparatus for cancer funding with institutions such as the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and the Jimmy Fund, and how these came together successfully to raise millions of dollars to fight the disease.

The only thing I felt the book was missing was a section describing how recent developments in cancer immunotherapy fit into the whole discussion. Nonetheless, I whole-heartedly recommend the book.
2 people found this helpful
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Susan M. Baumann
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Comprehensive and Intelligent
Reviewed in the United States on July 5, 2015
I read this book after being treated with chemo, radiation and surgery for stage II breast cancer. The author''s writing is luminous, passionate and powerful. What could have been a dry textbook of voluminous facts becomes an awe-inspiring journey through the history and... See more
I read this book after being treated with chemo, radiation and surgery for stage II breast cancer. The author''s writing is luminous, passionate and powerful. What could have been a dry textbook of voluminous facts becomes an awe-inspiring journey through the history and future of cancer. The author''s comprehensive knowledge and sharp intelligence make this book a riveting and compelling page-turner of mammoth scope and extraordinary detail. As a cancer survivor, I highly recommend this book to anyone touched by the disease.
34 people found this helpful
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ArtFan
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Incredibly well written
Reviewed in the United States on February 24, 2016
I picked the book up because I have an interest in cancer for several reasons. First, 1/3 of all humans die from cancer. Second, from a scientific perspective it is a fascinating, challenging and complex topic. This is an extremely well written, well planned out... See more
I picked the book up because I have an interest in cancer for several reasons. First, 1/3 of all humans die from cancer. Second, from a scientific perspective it is a fascinating, challenging and complex topic.

This is an extremely well written, well planned out and organized book. I''m almost as much in awe of the author''s command of the English language as I am of the skill he had in organizing the material. If anyone else were to do a history of cancer, they truly could not match the quality of this book. I say this because the author strikes a perfect balance between focusing on details when needed and focusing on the big picture when needed. And he presents the material in such a way that the key points really stick with you. You walk away with an excellent understanding of the disease - certainly much more than the layman and probably more than some medical professionals - and a comprehensive understanding of how human beings have tried, and continue to try to understand this disease.

I think a lot of people should read this book. First of all to expel the myths and misunderstandings that people have about cancer. Second, to have a much better understanding of doctors and medical profession, including their limitations. And third because we all have been, will be, or know someone who is affected.
13 people found this helpful
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Top reviews from other countries

Sam Cat
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Outstanding
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on March 12, 2020
My 10 year old daughter has Leukaemia. This book has fascinated me. I have found it both deeply disturbing and strangely comforting at the same time. It is beautifully written and thoroughly engaging, which considering the subject matter, somewhat surprised me. This is no...See more
My 10 year old daughter has Leukaemia. This book has fascinated me. I have found it both deeply disturbing and strangely comforting at the same time. It is beautifully written and thoroughly engaging, which considering the subject matter, somewhat surprised me. This is no beach read, but will draw you in and leave you feeling optimistic and incredibly grateful to the doctors, researchers and brave people who dared to push the boundaries in the search for a cure. Some impressively tenacious people have got us to where we are now and how they came to this point is utterly mind-blowing.
7 people found this helpful
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Alasdair Fraser
4.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Fascinating Review
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on May 15, 2021
This is an approachable and sympathetic look at the development and progression of cancer therapies from the earliest recorded cases through to the state of the art in 2011. It is well written and referenced, and is very useful from a teaching perspective, explaining...See more
This is an approachable and sympathetic look at the development and progression of cancer therapies from the earliest recorded cases through to the state of the art in 2011. It is well written and referenced, and is very useful from a teaching perspective, explaining complex concepts in a clear way using effective analogies. It is well worth reading by any scientist or clinician with an interest in cancer. My only slight criticism is that it is very US-centric, skating over the huge influence UK, European and Asian science had on cancer diagnosis and treatment. And as an immunologist I would have liked more on the transformative effects immunotherapy has had on targeted cancer treatment. However I would thoroughly recommend this book to anyone who wants to understand the anatomy, history and treatment of cancer.
One person found this helpful
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Krishna Ahir
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Disturbing yet very informative read...
Reviewed in India on April 22, 2019
This book is an eye opener, chilling read and brings cancer into a fresh perspective which all of us want to avoid. The phrase out of sight out of mind is dismissed once you read this book. As someone without knowledge of medical science, I found this book easy to...See more
This book is an eye opener, chilling read and brings cancer into a fresh perspective which all of us want to avoid. The phrase out of sight out of mind is dismissed once you read this book. As someone without knowledge of medical science, I found this book easy to understand and follow yet it was one of the most difficult books to sit down and read, primarily due to the intensity of the subject. Many words or adjectives come to mind after reading this book, including detailed, long, very intense, upsetting, disturbing, depressing yet informative. I think the most accurate description would be highly informative. Author has filled the pages with years of experience and his complete knowledge of the subject. Reading this book ensures a better understanding of cancer and how it has affected the journey of medicine in treatment of cancer. From the beginning of the story Author dives into history of cancer and the way it is portrayed as the story goes, it seems more like an actual person and not an illness. More like a super powerful villain who is here for human extinction or advancement of human race. It’s literally do or die situation for human race against cancer. “In writing this book, I started off by imagining my project as a “history” of cancer. But it felt, inescapably, as if I were writing not about something but about someone. My subject daily morphed into something that resembled an individual—an enigmatic, if somewhat deranged, image in a mirror. This was not so much a medical history of an illness, but something more personal, more visceral: its biography.” –Siddhartha Mukherjee Author reveals how cancer has been around much longer than we thought by showing examples of exhumed corpses from ancient Egypt and other archeological sites. Once mankind realized how aggressive and fast growing cancer is, the historical treatments were equally zealous and intense with the goal to find a cure and get rid of the cancerous tissue as soon as they can. Cancer is an expansionist disease; it invades through tissues, sets up colonies in hostile landscapes, seeking “sanctuary” in one organ and then immigrating to another. It lives desperately, inventively, fiercely, territorially, cannily, and defensively—at times, as if teaching us how to survive. To confront cancer is to encounter a parallel species, one perhaps more adapted to survival than even we are.―Siddhartha Mukherjee The emperor of Maladies – the title captures ones interest and this no doubt has proven to a book which sticks with you even after you finish reading it. To conclude, the book sheds new light on the future of war on cancer, Medicine and science has come a long way in the past decades and new treatments continue to be discovered and tested. The war on cancer is far from over, however based on the knowledge from this history; we surely are equipped to face it head on. "We are so close to a cure for cancer. We lack only the will and the kind of money and comprehensive planning that went into putting a man on the moon" -Dr. Sidney Farber
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DS
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Brilliantly scary masterpiece
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on May 27, 2018
No words can do justice to the raw emotions that pour out through this masterpiece. The reader is taken on a roller coaster ride through the annals of history as mankind struggles against the primordial malady of cancer, seemingly outwitting it at multiple junctures, only...See more
No words can do justice to the raw emotions that pour out through this masterpiece. The reader is taken on a roller coaster ride through the annals of history as mankind struggles against the primordial malady of cancer, seemingly outwitting it at multiple junctures, only to be sternly reminded of the brilliance of natural evolution of life in its most naked and dangerous form- A multicellular beast of a disease with mol Cupar foundations in a single celled anomaly.
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autodidact
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Informative Historical Account of Cancer Treatment
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on December 10, 2014
I am indebted to a reviewer (Sinohey) of ''The Cancer Chronicles'' for pointing me to this book. Cancer is an illness which every one of us is likely to come into contact with; certainly, several close relatives of mine have died of one form or other of the disease and other...See more
I am indebted to a reviewer (Sinohey) of ''The Cancer Chronicles'' for pointing me to this book. Cancer is an illness which every one of us is likely to come into contact with; certainly, several close relatives of mine have died of one form or other of the disease and other (very close) relatives have been treated successfully, whilst another is undergoing treatment. This book does an excellent job, as far as my knowledge extends, in providing a historical guide to the ways in which cancer has been treated and the growing understanding of what cancer actually is. The two have not necessarily gone hand in hand, and it is comparatively recently that the understanding of the biology of cancer has produced targeted treatments. The flip side of that understanding, though, is that it is quite likely there will never be a magic ''cure'' for cancer. In some ways, as the book explains, everyone''s cancer at the genetic level is unique, though it appears there are certain genes which are likely to be drivers of cancer. But with an aging population, cancer may be, like wrinkles, a feature of old age. The good news is that cancers that affect the young have been the ones where the treatment has been most effective. Some of the chapters in the book that deal with the biology of cancer at the chromosome level are a little hard going for a non-biologist. A diagram may have been useful in places. But, ultimately, the book is worth the effort and the information within it should help dispel some of the fear and dread that surrounds mention of the disease.
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Emperor online sale of sale All Maladies: A Biography of Cancer outlet sale

Emperor online sale of sale All Maladies: A Biography of Cancer outlet sale

Emperor online sale of sale All Maladies: A Biography of Cancer outlet sale

Emperor online sale of sale All Maladies: A Biography of Cancer outlet sale

Emperor online sale of sale All Maladies: A Biography of Cancer outlet sale

Emperor online sale of sale All Maladies: A Biography of Cancer outlet sale

Emperor online sale of sale All Maladies: A Biography of Cancer outlet sale

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Emperor online sale of sale All Maladies: A Biography of Cancer outlet sale

Emperor online sale of sale All Maladies: A Biography of Cancer outlet sale

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Emperor online sale of sale All Maladies: A Biography of Cancer outlet sale

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Emperor online sale of sale All Maladies: A Biography of Cancer outlet sale

Emperor online sale of sale All Maladies: A Biography of Cancer outlet sale

Emperor online sale of sale All Maladies: A Biography of Cancer outlet sale

Emperor online sale of sale All Maladies: A Biography of Cancer outlet sale

Emperor online sale of sale All Maladies: A Biography of Cancer outlet sale

Emperor online sale of sale All Maladies: A Biography of Cancer outlet sale

Emperor online sale of sale All Maladies: A Biography of Cancer outlet sale

Emperor online sale of sale All Maladies: A Biography of Cancer outlet sale

Emperor online sale of sale All Maladies: A Biography of Cancer outlet sale

Emperor online sale of sale All Maladies: A Biography of Cancer outlet sale

Emperor online sale of sale All Maladies: A Biography of Cancer outlet sale

Emperor online sale of sale All Maladies: A Biography of Cancer outlet sale

Emperor online sale of sale All Maladies: A Biography of Cancer outlet sale

Emperor online sale of sale All Maladies: A Biography of Cancer outlet sale

Emperor online sale of sale All Maladies: A Biography of Cancer outlet sale

Emperor online sale of sale All Maladies: A Biography of Cancer outlet sale

Emperor online sale of sale All Maladies: A Biography of Cancer outlet sale

Emperor online sale of sale All Maladies: A Biography of Cancer outlet sale

Emperor online sale of sale All Maladies: A Biography of Cancer outlet sale

Emperor online sale of sale All Maladies: A Biography of Cancer outlet sale

Emperor online sale of sale All Maladies: A Biography of Cancer outlet sale

Emperor online sale of sale All Maladies: A Biography of Cancer outlet sale

Emperor online sale of sale All Maladies: A Biography of Cancer outlet sale

Emperor online sale of sale All Maladies: A Biography of Cancer outlet sale

Emperor online sale of sale All Maladies: A Biography of Cancer outlet sale

Emperor online sale of sale All Maladies: A Biography of Cancer outlet sale

Emperor online sale of sale All Maladies: A Biography of Cancer outlet sale

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