The Emperor of all Maladies – Siddhartha Mukherjee

The Emperor of all Maladies – A biography of Cancer is a book by Dr. Siddhartha Mukherjee. I just finished reading it and it is definitely a very illuminating manuscript for a person as removed from medical society as myself. The book traces the chronology of cancer and how it has evolved to become today what it is. The sheer effort in writing the book must have been monumental and the research and the background work shines through the pages. It is in an infornative and fiction-like way at once that Dr. Mukherjee takes us through the intricate world of cancer – right from its prevention to detection to cure to remission to the unending battle against it.

For me, reading about something as naturally powerful as a human body right down to its single cell and its components is very humbling. How intricate, delicately balanced, compelx and intelligent our bodies are is what Dr. Mukherjee talks about in the second half of the book. From attacking a beast about which nothing is known with radical surgeries and intense chemotherapies to evolving to a very specific non toxic treatment today is the cancerous journey covered in this book. Also chronicled are the political struggles which got Cancer as much attention as it has today. It also portrays the struggles of the patients: physical, emotional and social.

The most ironic thing being that cancer cells live exactly like normal cells do. They just do it more vitally and with extreme fecundity.

It was a truly educational experience to have read this book. I recommend it!!


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