The Emperor of All Maladies

I am reading a great book!!! The Emperor of All Maladies: A Biography of Cancer by Siddhartha Mukherjee

I listened to an interview on Public Radio over a week ago and decided to purchase the Kindle version of the book on my iPad. (I love my iPad Kindle app! These devices are very one hand friendly.) Because of the holiday, I did not start until last night. It reads like an historical novel – the main character being cancer. It is a fascinating description of the people who have been instrumental and legendary in the discovery and treatment of cancer; as well as informative about the disease of cancer. It is neither chronological nor technical. It tells the story of this pervasive illness that has affected so many lives.

An interesting tidbit is that one of the first incontrovertible cases of cancer in history (documented by Arthur Aufderjeide, a professor specializing in paleopathology at the University of Minnesota Duluth, in 1990) is of an osteosarcoma, a thousand year old cancer preserved in the arm of the mummified remains of a woman in her mid-thirties, found in a shallow clay grave in the southern tip of Peru.

The reason I find this so incredible is that sarcoma is one of the “orphan” cancers, accounting for less than 1% of all malignancies, often misdiagnosed and not well known by the public or the medical profession. Being a sarcoma survivor, albeit soft tissue and not bone, I find this fascinating.

This is not a short book, it has over 13,697 pages on my Kindle and I have read only 1500 of them. However, I am looking forward to discovering other interesting stories to pass along. I know, a little knowledge is a dangerous thing. I am not planning to become an expert.

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