Monday, April 11, 2011

The Emperor

I have to recommend an unusual book.  It is called The Emperor of All Maladies by Siddhartha Mukherjee and it is 'biography of cancer' through the ages.   Cancer is around all of us and many are affected by it either directly or at least indirectly in a very close fashion. This book tells the story of cancer's diagnosis, treatment and understanding through the ages.

There is a reference in Egyptian writings of someone having what sounds like cancer and there is reference to a disease in the book of Exodus in the Old Testament that might have been cancer.  The books talks about how it has been understood and how it has been treated through the ages and in some places, it is not a pretty picture.  We've done some dumb things in the treatment of all diseases through the ages and many of those things had no impact or actually hurt those affected with the disease.  The book also talks about how victims are treated by the medical community and by their own family and how it can affect a person very deeply from the time of the diagnosis forward for the rest of their lives.  There are some really moving stories in the book.

I must say that the closing chapters describe the more recent understanding of the deep mechanics of cancer and its genetic roots. I left the book feeling like we are making some real progress with cancer treatment and understanding.

The Emperor of All Maladies: A Biography of Cancer

1 comment:

  1. Would be nice to make some progress! Too many people taken too soon.