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The Cancer Chronicles Unlocking Medicine's Deepest Mystery

by George Johnson

eBooks of the Month Popular Science The Real World

The Cancer Chronicles Unlocking Medicine's Deepest Mystery Synopsis

Shortlisted for the Royal Society Winton Prize for Science Books 2014.

When the woman he loved was diagnosed with a metastatic cancer, science-writer George Johnson embarked on a journey to learn everything he could about the disease and the people who dedicate their lives to understanding and combating it. What he discovered is that a revolution is now under way - an explosion of new ideas about what cancer really is and where it comes from. He combs through the realms of epidemiology, clinical trials, laboratory experiments and scientific hypotheses, to reveal what we know and don't know about cancer, showing why a cure remains such a slippery concept. His luminous accounts describe tumors that evolve like alien creatures inside the body, paleo-oncologists who uncover petrified tumors clinging to the skeletons of dinosaurs and ancient human ancestors, and the surprising reversals in science's comprehension of the causes of cancer, with the foods we eat and environmental toxins playing a lesser role. Perhaps most fascinating of all is how cancer borrows natural processes involved in the healing of a wound or the unfolding of a human embryo and turns them against the body. Throughout his pursuit, Johnson illuminates the human experience with elegiac grace, bearing witness to the punishing gauntlet of consultations, surgeries, targeted therapies and other treatments. Provocative and intellectually vibrant, The Cancer Chronicles will challenge everything you thought you knew about the disease - and provide hope for tomorrow and the future.

The Cancer Chronicles Unlocking Medicine's Deepest Mystery Press Reviews

'Rich and sweeping...this is a book for anyone whose life has been touched by cancer, which is just about everyone' -- Barbara Ehrenreich


'Compact, elegant...gripping... Everyone who is concerned about cancer - that is every thinking adult - should read The Cancer Chronicles' -- Charles C. Mann


'A highly captivating book that meticulously explains the current scientific understanding of cancer' Times Literary Supplement


'A fascinating compilation of selected discoveries in cancer research that helped shape his deeper understanding of the disease process' -- Mary L. Disis Science


'Johnson elegantly tells a fascinating chronological tale of cancer' British Journal of General Practice

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All versions of this book

ISBN: 9780099556053
Publication date: 28/08/2014
Publisher: Vintage
Format: Paperback

Book Information

ISBN: 9780099556053
Publication date: 28th August 2014
Author: George Johnson
Publisher: Vintage
Format: Paperback
Pagination: 304 pages
Genres: eBook Favourites, Popular Science, The Real World,
Categories: Popular medicine & health, Oncology, Medical research,

About George Johnson

George Johnson writes regularly about science for the New York Times. He has also written for National Geographic, Slate, Discover, Scientific American, Wired, and The Atlantic, and his work has been included in The Best American Science Writing. A former Alicia Patterson fellow, he has received awards from PEN and the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and his books were twice finalists for the Royal Society's book prize. He appears regularly on Science Faction on and writes the blog Fire in the Mind for Discover. He lives in Santa Fe.

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