Today I finished a book on my Kindle that was so good that I want to share it on my blog as well. It’s Siddharta Mukherjee’s The Emperor of all Maladies – A Biography of Cancer. The 2011 Pullitzer Prize winning book written by an oncologist is a history of cancer, a history of the disease (or actually the many diseases that are all called cancer), our understanding of cancer and how treatments developed over the years.
It was a fantastic book to read, but because it’s quite a thick book it took me about 3 weeks to get through. I mainly read late at night and as the book is quite theoretical at some points, that is not always the best time to read it. But I enjoyed it very much and have a much better understanding of what cancer and cancer treatments are all about. A new world opened itself up for me, not always a pretty world, but a world that 1 out of 4 people eventually end up in.
The fight against cancer is something that we might never win, but we understand our enemy a lot better than just 25 years ago. As Mr. Mukherjee puts is, cancer is a distorted version of ourselves. Cancer genes are mutated genes of normal genes. Cancer genes seem to be immortal and they keep on growing into a possibly more perfect version of ourselves. Scary in a way, but if we would ever find out what makes cancer immortal, it may also lead to new breakthroughs in other areas of biology and medicine. One of the things I take away from the book is that, in general, we are not able to beat cancer and may never be, but