Sunday, December 1, 2013

George Johnson's "Cancer Chronicles..."

I often describe myself  as a cancer information "hound". I am always sniffing out new information about cancer in general and gynecologic cancers in particular.

I first heard about George Johnson's new book Cancer Chronicles Unlocking Medicine's Deepest Mystery in September. George Johnson is an accomplished science writer. He has been published in the New York Times, National Geographic and  Scientific American and wrote nine books. When I learned that he was prompted to learn more about cancer and write this book when his wife Nancy was  diagnosed with uterine papillary serous carcinoma I knew I had read the book. So I put my name on the  reserve list at my local library.

Last week my name moved to the top of the list and I picked up the book. I began reading it as soon as I got home.. The first chapter with its' discussion of cancer in dinosaurs (spinal bones from Hadrosaurus skeletons exhibit cancer.) drew me right in to the book.

Johnson covers topics from epidemiology and the structure of DNA to clinical trials, risk factors and mutations. He discusses how chemicals and environmental issues originally thought to cause cancer have been found to play a less prominent role. The book is an interesting mix of history ( he speaks of  Madame Curie in a section on radiation) and recent studies of herceptin, hedgehog genes and translational research. His wife's journey through surgery and treatment are woven into the factual information he provides.

Johnson never forgets who his audience is. He explains difficult concepts in a way that any cancer patient, survivor or caregiver can understand. He provides 60+ pages of notes and sources at the end of the book.

I highly recommend this book and regret having to return this copy to the library. I guess I will just have to buy my own copy.

More information about the book and author can be found at

Every Day is a Blessing!

1 comment:

Annie C. said...

I also got the book from my local library last month and thought it was excellent! A lot of important information presented in a clear manner!