Once a certain death sentence and often a cause for shame, cancer is now a treatable disease. "Cancer" provides a broad introduction to this complex family of diseases, tracing the fascinating history of scientific discoveries that led to today's sophisticated treatments.

This extraordinary new volume, coauthored by three leaders in cancer research and surgery at Harvard Medical School, uses scientifically accurate yet accessible language to give readers a firm grounding in such essential concepts as angiogenesis and the genetics of cancer. In addition to information about types of cancer, diagnosis, and treatment, "Cancer" places special emphasis on new frontiers in research, psychological aspects of a cancer diagnosis, and quality-of-life issues for those living with disease. Useful features include a comprehensive glossary, a timeline of milestones in cancer research, and an appendix for students on how to pursue a career in science or medicine.


Iignore all the doomsaying nonsense. I’m in a business where the odds of ever
earning a living are a zillion to one, so I know it can be done. I know the impos
sible can become possible

—Marcia Wallace

Wallace, an Emmy Award-winning actress, commenting on her husband’s
diagnosis of pancreatic cancer. People Magazine (March 2, 1992).

The word “malignant” comes from the Latin combination of “mal” meaning “bad” and “nascor” meaning “to be born.” Malignant then literally means “born to be bad.” This implies that cancer is inevitably programmed into cells and prevention is doomed to fail. Today we know that many cancers are preventable and treatable with early diagnosis and proper care.

There are many common cancer myths that persist into modern times, such as these: cancer is contagious, cancer is a death sentence, biopsy can make a cancer spread, curses can cause cancer, cancer is God’s will, dying is preferable to surgery, and air can cause cancer to grow (Pories, et al., 2006). Although we have not yet won the “war against cancer” we have made immense progress . . .

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