Learn more Shop now Shop now Shop now Shop now Shop now Shop now Learn More Shop now Learn more Click Here Shop Kindle Amazon Music Unlimited for Family Shop now Shop Women's Shop Men's

Customer Review

on 20 October 2013
I had high hopes for this book. It got some good reviews in the heavier weeklies, and the subject deserves a new, wide ranging treatment. All we get in the media are pharma press releases and their attendant post code lottery stories. Nice, I thought, to get an overview.

And the book does give some very deep insights about origins:

Cancer isn't a disease - it's natural, and a condition which all multicellular organisms can experience, way back to the dinosaurs. "The price of evolution"
It results from a combination of cell mutation and cell division; there are a lot of similarities to the way bacteria behave when they're faced with a stress agent like an antibiotic.

Apart from the chemicals in tobacco or marijuana smoke, there is very little evidence to support the assertion that chemicals in food or the environment cause cancer: one exception is alcohol and cancers of the mouth or throat. Similarly there isn't a good link between radiation and cancer, except for very high doses which have a local effect. All these things may cause increased mutation, but mutation on its own doesn't lead to cancer.

A cancerous growth has a very difficult time establishing itself in a body: it benefits if we encourage it.

Cancer can be encouraged by factors which enhance cell growth: hormones especially oestrogen; insulin (which is why obesity and diabetes lead to higher incidences.

The statistics suggest that the incidence of cancer is not increasing unusually. We just don't die of other causes.

There's other good stuff, too. I really enjoyed the description of large science conferences: the poster sessions resemble the souks of Marrakesh, long interwoven corridors of goodies, and students waitng to pounce to tell you about them. The plenary sessions are like the square in the evening, evryone crowds round to hear the story tellers. And the annotations are comprehensive.

But I found the book unstructured and therefore hard going, and I'm a professional scientist. It jumps about and lacks an overall routemap. It could do with better signposts.

And I suspect that it will disappoint many readers, who might be looking for guidance on treatment, or a sharing of experience about the emotions of having the condition. This is a brave attempt to grasp the whole of the subject. Unfortunately the author isn't up to it.

Possibly someone should ask Steve Jones to have a go at it.
0Comment| 8 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse| Permalink
What's this?

What are product links?

In the text of your review, you can link directly to any product offered on Amazon.com. To insert a product link, follow these steps:
1. Find the product you want to reference on Amazon.com
2. Copy the web address of the product
3. Click Insert product link
4. Paste the web address in the box
5. Click Select
6. Selecting the item displayed will insert text that looks like this: [[ASIN:014312854XHamlet (The Pelican Shakespeare)]]
7. When your review is displayed on Amazon.com, this text will be transformed into a hyperlink, like this:Hamlet (The Pelican Shakespeare)

You are limited to 10 product links in your review, and your link text may not be longer than 256 characters.

Please write at least one word
You must purchase at least one item from Amazon to post a comment
A problem occurred while submitting your comment. Please try again later.

There was a problem loading the comments at the moment. Please try again later.