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The Cancer Chronicles: Unlocking Medicine's Deepest Mystery 1st Edition
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Top Customer Reviews
If you're looking for a positive, upbeat, "let's beat Cancer!" kind of book, this probably isn't it. Johnson says that while we've made significant strides, our understanding of why it happens and how to treat it still has a long way to go. He points out that studies are frequently flawed and inconclusive, and recommendations that eating fruits and vegetables or any particular food will help prevent cancer do not hold up under more rigorous testing. There is some correlation that exercise and maintaining a healthy body and diet helps, but the benefits are often small and disputed. And as he discusses the effects of drinking water tainted with chemical pollutants he illustrates very well why it is so difficult to *prove* causation. Even if a specific chemical or activity can be linked to a 30% increase in cancer (which sounds very dramatic), if your odds were only 1.2% in the beginning it only translates to new odds of 1.Read more ›
I read the 280+ pages of The Cancer Chronicles hoping maybe to discover a new treatment, or a novel approach or cutting edge therapy to combat this vicious disease that has plagued all living creatures since life began on earth. Tumors have been found in fossils of dinosaurs.
Sadly I found nothing new; the promised "explosive new ideas" touted by the publicity hype were neither new nor explosive, but just fizzled. Most of it was common routine knowledge in the medical field. On page 17, I learned that "mammals appear to get more cancer than reptiles or fish. Domesticated animals seem to get more cancer than their cousins in the wild. And people get the most cancer of all." It is a great piece of information with which to stomp your friends at trivia.
Even some information was inaccurate; the author confuses the function of free radicals with antioxidants.
The book touches on the genesis of cancer, mostly unknown except for a few causative relationships such as smoking and environmental hazards (Eg. asbestos) associated with mainly with lung cancers. It correctly challenges the myths of unproven causal links between cancer, the environment or diet. Many studies are inconclusive, flawed or biased.
Screening tests like mammograms, PSA and CA 125 are not specific or sensitive enough for an absolute diagnosis and often result in a false positive, leading to unnecessary, often radical, treatment. Ideally, early diagnosis and treatment lead to cure; best examples of screening are Pap smears and colonoscopy that can detect pre-cancerous lesions and allow early therapy.Read more ›
I'd summarize the main points as follows:
1. Cancer is not a disease. It is a process. "You don't have cancer. You are cancering".
2. Cancer is a tragic (but predictable) consequence of entropy.
3. Cancer is as old as multicellular life. Signs of cancerous tumors have been found in fossils of dinosaurs, birds, hominids, etc.
4. Cancer doesn't come from (in any significant measure) from the poisonous actions of unregulated corporations.
5. Metasthasic cancer doesn't have a cure. Big pharma has been more successful in selling false hopes than in extending the lives of cancer patients. The impact of even the most advanced medicines is still measured in weeks, not in years.
6. Universal screening is also questionable. The cost-benefit of mammograms and PSA, for example, is dubious. To say the least.
7. Cancer research is not underfunded. Billions of dollars are spent annually in the US, Europe and elsewhere in the hope of a definitive breakthrough that has not happened yet and won't happen soon.
8. Smoking and lack of physical activity are consistently associated with cancer (through various pahtways, direct and indirect).
9. Cancer and socioeconomic progress go hand in hand. Cancer is associated with longer lives, better nourishment, obesity, and so on.
10. Modern health systems are affected by the tyranny of hope (to use Katy Butler's felicitous expression).Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This is by far the best written popular science book on cancer I have ever read. It looks at the disease from a broad science perspectve, with the evolution of species as a... Read morePublished 3 months ago by degenerandom
This book provides a great overview of cancer, its development, and evolvement of treatment methods. It's an easy read for people without too much medical knowledge.Published 4 months ago by pinkpiggy23
My daughter needed this for a college class - much better pricing than on campusPublished 14 months ago by Wendy G.
The author provides a great historical overview of cancer research ranging from paleo-oncology through modern cellular and sub-cellular research in cancer.Published 15 months ago by PJM
Having witnessed 6 struggles with cancer between my two parents and worked in a Comprehensive Cancer Center in the 90's I can tell you this should be a must read. Read morePublished 17 months ago by Amazon Customer
A lot of interesting information about cancer but not what I was seeking. It's an interesting story leaving me feeling sorry for the author. Read morePublished 17 months ago by M.Williams
This is not an enlightening book, it is rambling and pointless, the worst sort of narrative non-fiction. Read morePublished 18 months ago by doug korty