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How Cancer Works 1st Edition

4.4 out of 5 stars 10 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0763718213
ISBN-10: 0763718211
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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Lauren M. Sompayrac, PhD Department of Molecular, Cellular, and Developmental Biology, University of Colorado, Boulder
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 110 pages
  • Publisher: Jones & Bartlett Learning; 1 edition (December 30, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0763718211
  • ISBN-13: 978-0763718213
  • Product Dimensions: 8.6 x 0.3 x 10.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 11.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #398,222 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
Dr. Sompayrac's book is unique in striking the perfect balance between up-to-date scientific accuracy and entertaining presentation. It flows so naturally and is such a fun to read that one tends not to notice its great learning value. I did not put the book down until its last page and then started from the beginning again. I feel that everyone must read this book!
George N. Dessev, Ph.D.
Retired Professor in Cell and Molecular Biology
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First, in the interest of full disclosure, I'll note that I am Dr. Sompayrac's cousin. But don't let that dissuade you -- I have no trouble giving a bad review of a work if I think it deserves such (see my review of "What the Anti-Federalists Were For" as an example).

Like his previous work "How Pathogenic Viruses Work", Lauren has done a very good job is tacking a complex science and distilling it into a very readable book. His approach to the topic (breaking down normal and abnormal cell division, how DNA mutations arise, relating the multiple mutations required for malignancy, etc.) make the topic understandable to even laymen (which I am one).

For non-professionals seeking to understand cancer (and we all know or loved someone who has had it), this book brings a great deal of perspective. Lauren lists common forms of cancer (leukemia, breast/prostate, lung, etc.) in ways that help us understand the differences in types of cancers, how they may be caused, and why cures are difficult to architect.

Though not as entertaining as his "virus" book (which was more interesting due to the nearly endless variety of viruses and their survival mechanisms), his "cancer" book was equally well thought-out, and almost as well written.

I would recommend this work for two audiences: pre-med students and those considering a career in medicine, and laymen who are hungry for knowledge about cancer. If you survived high school biology and genetics-101, very little of this book will be over your head.
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Excellent book. It provides an overview of the latest advances on cancer research trying to explain its very complex nature. It does so in a clear and direct way. It is amazing how a deep book on such a complex subject can be made so easy to read.

The concepts are explained step by step. The most representative cancers are throughly explained for the layman.
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the book is clearly written. i have little knowledge of chemistry, but Sompayrac organizes the information with reviews, review questions and other strategies to help the reader remember the main concepts. The illustrations are helpful.
My son is a research scientist in triple negative breast cancer, so, in addition to my own interest in how the human body works, i want to understand his work. I also highly recommend the Teaching Company Great Courses offering by David Sadava titled What Science Knows About Cancer.
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This is a very clear book that explains cancer genetics in layman's terms, with many good analogies for non-scientists to understand the basic principles. The bad points: (1) The two-tone blue and grey printing makes it difficult to read at times because the blue has much less contrast than black lettering. This is extremely annoying. The book could have been printed entirely in black ink without loss of figure quality or the needlessly emphasized text (2) The figures are far too simplistic and monocolorized in blue with some bits of grey. These could have been produced far better (3) The book has an unnecessarily large page format so that it doesn't fit with my other books on the shelf (a minor problem) (4) The author uses the word "Indeed" ad nauseam (5) It is too expensive for the amount of information (buy a used copy). Overall, it is a very informative quick overview of cancer. I found the book very readable and learned much from it even though I am a geneticist working in the field of cancer research.
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