The emperor of all maladies is an apt name for this book as it talks about cancer and we all know the rising burden of cancer on healthcare. It is hard to tame the complex biological process which manifests in multitudes of forms. Yet for a layman we use one single word to describe it. The author explains at length the long journey of understanding and attempt of humans to overcome the disease. From the rather medieval methods of treatment in the early part of the 20th century trying to conquer the disease to present day acknowledgement of it being too complex to tame.
One of the key points that I derived from the book is that we know less about biology at the cell level and when clinicals look at diseases in a traditional manner they have ignored the link with genetics. The progress we have made in the last 30-40 years in solving cancer has primarily come from deeper understanding of cellular pathways and genetics.
The key message from the author here is to focus on elongation and quality of life for a cancer patient rather than eradicating cancer. As he explains cancer is fundamental to know our complex biological processes which are designed to eliminate harmful elements without impacting others. If you are interested in the deep waters of one of the long standing medical challenges for our species then this book is for you to take a dive and explore.
Reviewed by Sachin Gaur, Executive Editor, InnoHEALTH Magazine