The Cancer Chronicles

The Cancer Chronicles: Unlocking Medicine’s Deepest Mystery
© 2013 George Johnson
304 pages

As a kid,  Cancer was an ominous abstract monster, mentioned only in whispers,  that struck without warning and left no survivors.   You just hoped it didn’t happen to you.  I don’t know it’s the changing times or just the process of adulthood, but cancer is mentioned far more and more casually now, and I’ve some experience with it in my own family, so I wanted to learn a little more about it. The Cancer Chronicles  combines the author’s personal journey with cancer,  beginning when evidence of metastasis is discovered in his wife,  with a review of how humanity has grown in its understand of cancer over the centuries.  There is no one cancer demographic:  everyone, in every society, regardless of creed, caste, or skin color,  carries a bundle of risk factors for different cancers – and every action, every step taken, every food  eaten,  can simultaneously aid or diminish different cancer risks.  Johnson’s review reiterates that cancer is not one disease, but a multitude of diseases,    erupting from a variety of different failures – and sometimes utilizing the body’s defenses against it.   Perhaps we can take some marginal comfort in that cancer is universal,  affecting all kinds of animals through the ages. Humans are the most cancer-ridden creature on the planet, though, so  it may be a small help at best.   In the end, there’s not much we can do to load the dice in our factor, other than keeping moving and  at a healthy weight.  It seems a crapshoot.  

About smellincoffee

Citizen, librarian, reader with a boundless wonder for the world and a curiosity about all the beings inside it.
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5 Responses to The Cancer Chronicles

  1. Mudpuddle says:

    being an older person it’s continually a spectre lurking in the depths… lost mom to it… people do live with it now, though… a sister-in-law has been terminal for five years or more; she just keeps keeping on…

    • I’ve had several relatives die of lung cancer, and another very close to me has prostate cancer. That can be lived with for years and years as far I know, but with cancer on both sides I’m somewhat fatalistic.

  2. Marian says:

    That sounds like a difficult book, but realistic. We don’t even have a universal cure for common skin diseases like acne. Genetics also plays a big role, outside of lifestyle.

    My grandma is a two-time cancer survivor, along with her many other health problems. She has had depression at times, but for the most part, I’ve never heard her complain or act bitter. I guess those kinds of problems are inevitable; I just hope to deal with them with as much grace as she does.

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