Synopses & Reviews
An unprecedented take on cancer and recovery
Why does cancer have such a deadly hold over our collective imagination? Why do we fear it above all else, even bankruptcy, crime, and sudden death? And why is our dread intensifying, despite the fact that many types of cancer are less common than ever, more curable, and far better understood?
Because cancer has become our malignant metaphor, a billboard for our secret sins. We havent been eating the right food; we have failed to exercise enough; we have buried too much destructive emotion in short, we have brought the disease upon ourselves. Somehow, we have allowed cancer to represent an irreconcilable trifecta of blame and anxiety: it is inevitable, yet preventable and deserved.
But it is time to rewrite the metaphor.
When her beloved brother-in-law is diagnosed with the disease, award-winning science writer Alanna Mitchell throws herself into the latest research and clinical literature, breaking it down into a clear, understandable description of what doctors and scientists know of cancer and its treatments. Clear-eyed and compassionate, Mitchell opens the door to new ways of looking at our most-feared illness.
"Award-winning science writer Mitchell (Sea Sick) attempts to make sense of the fearful hold that cancer has on our collective imagination. After her brother-in-law, John, and daughter, Calista, received diagnoses of cancer, Mitchell set out to explore the stigma of cancer and help her family members weigh the treatment options. While oncologists recommended conventional medical treatments for John's prostate cancer and Calista's thyroid cancer, they didn't have one to address John's aggressive melanoma. With no hope offered, John pursued alternative treatment options, which Mitchell itemizes and critiques. Along the way, she analyzes commonly held notions about cancer, namely that it is inevitable, preventable and deserved; people with cancer are seen as guilty of not doing something to maintain good health, and those who die are blamed for not fighting hard enough. Mitchell argues, that, in fact, cancer is common and random. She emphasizes that people should not put another burden on cancer patients by blaming them for their illnesses. In addition to her clear medical explanations, Mitchell's compassionate attitude will bring comfort to those readers and their loved ones facing a cancer diagnosis. Agent: Sally Harding, The Cooke Agency (Sept.)" Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
Mitchell does a convincing job sorting fact from fiction, diffusing fear, and challenging the manipulative language of fundraisers who aim for pocketbooks rather than intellectual honesty . . . Mitchells research is rooted in science, while her writing remains grippingly personal.” Quill and Quire
"Anyone fearing cancer (probably most of us) will find relief in this compelling book; it's like having a well-informed friend by your side, helping you dodge free radicals. By 'liberating the facts,' Mitchell turns the war on cancer into a hopeful dance." Plum Johnson, author of They Left Us Everything
About the Author
Alanna Mitchell is an award-winning journalist and author who writes about science and social trends. She is a global thinker who specializes in investigative reporting. Her most recent full-length book, Sea Sick: The Global Ocean in Crisis, is an international bestseller that won the prestigious Grantham Prize for Excellence in Reporting on the Environment. Her one-woman play based on that book was nominated for a Dora Award and she toured across Canada. She lives in Toronto, Ontario.