the ultimate elephant in the room-“a biography of cancer”.
damn, heavy reading material this year, right? but it’s truly a feat to pull of the sympathetic personification of one of the scariest entities out there…bigups to mukherjee for reals. it was amazing to hear him do the press for this, from the cbc rounds (the current, strombo) to the new york times-related events. to connect it back to george, though, i wonder about the incomplete shoutout to henrietta lacks on page 339:
“The cells, technically speaking, are immortal. The woman from whose body they were once taken has been dead for thirty years.”
what’s up with that? does oprah have a gag order?
“The answers to these questions are embedded in the biology of this incredible disease. Oncogenes arise from mutations in essential genes that regulate the growth of cells. Mutations accumulate in these genes when DNA is damaged by carcinogens, but also by seemingly random errors in copying genes when cells divide. The former might be preventable, but the latter is endogenous. Cancer is a flaw in our growth, but this flaw is deeply entrenched in ourselves. We can rid ourselves of cancer, then, only as much as we rid ourselves of the processes in our physiology that depend on growth-aging, regeneration, healing, reproduction.” (462)