The Emperor of All Maladies – Siddhartha Mukherjee

Feb 28

The Emperor of All Maladies – Siddhartha Mukherjee

If reading a book can be an endurance event, this Pulitzer Prize winner by Siddhartha Mukherjee(an oncologist) was my Olympic Trial in literature. The book is a detailed compilation of the history of Cancer. I prepared myself for 600 pages of crying. I am known as the “Family Crybaby” and my youngest brother survived a bout with the Evilness that is Cancer.

There would be no crying.

This “Biography” of Cancer has patients sprinkled here and there; but overall it was a giant book report on the origins, diagnoses, and subsequent treatments of all different forms of the disease. Dr. Mukherjee was extremely thorough. Pretty sure I actually held myself when he described the horrors that women who have had breast cancer have had to endure. I am not a big fan of going to the doctor; after this read I am even less of a fan. The book is littered with pissing contest after pissing contest: surgeons vs. radiologist vs. oncologists. I need more teamwork, docs.

There have been great strides in Cancer reasearch. This is an important book; I am glad to now possess a minimal understanding of The Cancer. According to the author, cancer is constantly morphing….beating out current cures. So the scientists and doctors must wake daily to a new battle, with a new enemy. There will be no “cure all”; as Cancer is varied in form and still not easily diagnosed until it is too late. You cannot dwell in fear; all you can do is your best to prevent yourself from the known causes and get screened for early detection when possible. I am hoping my Super Smart Fiance and his equally intelligent Mother can explain the science aspects to me at our impending book club. I get next pick….I am thinking love story, as a palate cleanser.

I am thankful to the core to be able to learn a little bit about Henry Kaplan….the doctor/scientist who first used radiation to cure Hodgkin’s. That guy is my favorite scientist of all time.

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