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The Emperor of All Maladies: A Biography of Cancer Paperback – August 9, 2011
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Top Customer Reviews
Enter oncologist Siddhartha Mukherjee who almost parentally takes us by the hand to give us the courage to open with him the door to that dark and foreboding closet in order to see what is really lurking inside. Since eventually most of us are going to have to wrestle with this monster anyway -- either as a victim or as a loved one of a victim -- looking intelligently and closely into that dark closet does diminish fear and enhance wise perspective. And on this incredible journey into the depths of that darkness, what an absolutely marvelous guide is this modern day Virgil called Siddharta Mukherjee as he leads us on this long and often harrowing journey through the swarth that cancer has cut through mankind throughout time.
Mukherjee is a veritable kaleidoscope.Read more ›
In the United States one in three women and one in two men will develop cancer in their lifetime. Dr Siddhartha Mukherjee, a medical oncologist, has written a definitive history of cancer. It may be one of the best medical books I have read. Complex but simple in terms of understanding. A timeline of a disease and those who waged the wars. In 1600 BC the first case of probable breast cancer was documented. In the thousands of years since, the Greek word, 'onkos', meaning mass or burden, has become the disease of our time. Cancer. The title of the book, is "a quote from a 19Th century physician" Dr Mukherjee had found inscribed in a library book that "cancer is the emperor of all maladies, the king of our terrors".
As a health care professional and as a woman who is six years post breast cancer, Cancer has played a big part in my life. I used to walk by the Oncology clinic, and quicken my pace. I used to give chemotherapy to my patients, before it was discovered that the chemo was so toxic that it needed to be made under sterile conditions and given by professionals who specialized in Oncology. Dr Mukherjee, wisely discusses cancer in the context of patients, those of us who suffer. After all it is because of the patients, the people who have gone before us, who have contracted some form of cancer, they are the base of this science.
Dr Mukherjee started his immersion in cancer medicine at the Dana Farber Cancer Institute in Boston. He relates the beginning of the study of ALL, Acute Lymphocytic Leukemia, by Dr Sidney Farber in 1947. Dr Farber, a pathologist at the time decided to change his focus and start caring for patients.Read more ›
Whether the reader is a basic scientist or sociologist, a patient or healthcare provider, a philosopher or philanderer, this book will appeal, entertain and educate.
A remarkable achievement.
In "The Emperor of All Maladies," we meet a variety of patients, doctors, scientists, and activists. We also hear the voices of such iconic figures as Susan Sontag, author of "Illness as Metaphor," and Alexander Solzhenitsyn, whose "Cancer Ward" is a desolate and isolating "medical gulag." Cancer is such a complex subject that it can only be understood by examining it in all of its facets: through myths, the anguish of its victims, and the untiring efforts of its adversaries, both past and present, some of whom were well-meaning but horribly misguided. Mukherjee says in his author's note that he has made an effort to be "simple but not simplistic." In this he has succeeded.
Ancient physicians thought that such invisible forces as "miasmas" and "bad humors" caused cancers. Many years of experimentation, studies of human anatomy, laboratory work, and clinical trials have shown cancer to be a "pathology of excess" that originates from the uncontrolled growth of a single cell. Cancer is "unleashed by mutations--changes in DNA that specifically affect genes that incite unlimited cell growth." What treatment to use--surgery, radiation, chemotherapy, or a combination of these approaches--is rarely an easy decision.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Gives you a full understanding of cancer without putting you to sleep.Published 1 day ago by Richard A. Herman
Gives the reader insight to where we have been and what the future might hold in the fight to find a cure. It reads like a dramatic novel and is easy to follow and understand.Published 2 days ago by Debbi
Truly a history and biography of a disease that many of us will get to know personally. Read it before you need it.Published 6 days ago by Laura Jones
Fascinating story. Well written. I can't believe that it took 100 years for surgeons to recognize that the radical, disfiguring radical mastectomy surgery approach was equal to a... Read morePublished 8 days ago by martha
Well written, illuminating, thought provoking history of our understanding of cancer.Published 12 days ago by David K. Arch
This well written history of the human struggle to cure cancer is a review of centuries of political and scientific victories and defeats. Read morePublished 13 days ago by Beverly J. Bradley
This is a well-written exciting book about the history of cancer. It isn't tedious or depressing, despite its subject matter.Published 14 days ago by Renee Harwick
I found this book to be very intense, interesting, and extremely informative. Author Siddhartha Mukherjee has put together a very comprehensive review of medicine's history... Read morePublished 14 days ago by dave ferree