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The first cell : and the human costs of pursuing cancer to the last

by Raza, Azra,

Format: Print Book 2019
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With the fascinating scholarship of The Emperor of All Maladies and the deeply personal experience of When Breath Becomes Air , a world-class oncologist examines the current state of cancer and its devastating impact on the individuals it affects -- including herself.
We have lost the war on cancer. We spend $150 billion each year treating it, yet -- a few innovations notwithstanding -- a patient with cancer is as likely to die of it as one was fifty years ago. Most new drugs add mere months to one's life at agonizing physical and financial cost.
In The First Cell , Azra Raza offers a searing account of how both medicine and our society (mis)treats cancer, how we can do better, and why we must. A lyrical journey from hope to despair and back again, The First Cell explores cancer from every angle: medical, scientific, cultural, and personal. Indeed, Raza describes how she bore the terrible burden of being her own husband's oncologist as he succumbed to leukemia. Like When Breath Becomes Air , The First Cell is no ordinary book of medicine, but a book of wisdom and grace by an author who has devoted her life to making the unbearable easier to bear.
Prologue : cancer and its discontents
Introduction : from last to first
Omar : the nobleness of life is to do thus
Per : sand piles and cancer
Lady N : a loaded gun
Kitty C : what wound did ever heal but by degrees?
JC : one touch of nature makes the whole world kin
Andrew : was honesty a choice?
Harvey : death stared him in the face, and he stared right back
Aftermath : give sorrow words
Epilogue : the dawn has already arrived.

Published Reviews
Publisher's Weekly Review: "Raza, a Columbia University professor of medicine and practicing oncologist, offers a passionate account of how humans grapple with the scourge of cancer. She masterfully explains how her research science work intersects with her job treating dying patients on a daily basis: "Nowhere is the science of medicine replaced by the art of caring as in the final days of a terminal illness." She also explains why using animal models to search for new cancer treatments is unlikely to work, as cancer is so variable and dependent on the specific environment in which it grows. Meanwhile, most new cancer drugs, if they work at all, add months to life and are accompanied by severe costs, both financial and physiological. Her message is as simple as it is paradigm-shifting: rather than trying to kill every last cancer cell, medicine needs to focus on finding the first occurring cancer cells. Progress is being made on this front, she shows, but only a small percentage of available research dollars are being spent on it. Showing that compassion is just as important for cancer patients as the drugs administered to them, Raza's deeply personal work brings understanding and empathy to the fore in a way that a purely scientific explication never could. Agent: John Brockman, Brockman Inc. (Oct.)"
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Additional Information
Subjects Cancer -- Prevention.
Cancer -- Popular works.
Publisher New York :2019
Edition First edition.
Language English
Description xii, 347 pages : illustrations ; 24 cm
Bibliography Notes Includes bibliographical references (pages 299-325) and index.
ISBN 9781541699526
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