Death of Cancer

The Death of Cancer –
After Fifty Years on the Front Lines of Medicine, A Pioneering Oncologist Reveals Why the War on Cancer Is Winnable — and How We Can Get There, Vincent T. DeVita, 2015

This book is intended for the layman, for anyone who wants to know more about cancer. The author talks of experiences in the clinic, treating patients, and in the research lab, investigating medicines. He discusses how he discovered that medicines can be combined for use in chemotherapy. I like that his lab emphasized the scientific method, at a time when other research hospitals seemed unscientific.

The author is the researcher who discovered how to treat Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. This type of cancer was the first one for which a cure was discovered, and the author was the first to be bold enough to use the word ‘cure’ when speaking at conferences. He discusses the politics of cancer research, how a research institute can become single-minded in focussing on radiation or surgery to the exclusion of other valid types of treatment. And how politics can determine which institute gets funding, while another more ‘advanced’ institute can be left with inadequate funding (we are talking of large amounts of money, billions of dollars).

The book is well written and engaging, you will not want to put it down. Perhaps it is mostly ‘history’ and not appropriate for mention here, along with books on new technology. But the author has a very current message about the policies of the FDA, which lag far behind the advances of modern medicine. He makes his point real at the start of the book, by talking of the recent death of a friend due to the conservatism of the FDA and of hospital staff.

Get it here at OPL     Amazon Review

Carleton Library     University of Ottawa

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