Book Review of The Emperor of All Maladies: A Biography of Cancer

The Emperor of All Maladies: A Biography of Cancer
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The Emperor of All Maladies is a fitting 'biography' for this set of diseases that commands our scientific and clinical efforts as well as our imagination and fears. Dr. Siddhartha Mukherjee, fellowship-trained at Harvard, provides a comprehensive overview of cancer. Beginning in ancient Egypt, where it was recognized as the malady with no cure, the story quickly jumps to a riveting account of how scientists, clinicians, and motivated activists have marshaled tremendous resources into a "War against Cancer," especially in the United States. It makes clear how the complex cancer landscape had come about. Readers who found molecular biology dry might find it more interesting and intelligible in service of a larger story of hope, frustration, and discovery. Real patients, including Mukherjee's own patient Carla, provide the human dimension. I highly recommend this book to those interested in the history of medicine or affected by cancer.