Medical Politics, History and Cancer 
Author Message
 Medical Politics, History and Cancer

The 29 June 1997 issue of the New York Times Book Review
Section features a book review by Roy Porter (Wellcome
Institute for the History of Medicine) at Stephen Hall's new
book "A Commotion in the {*filter*}," a book about the immune
system and the fight against cancer.  It is excellent
medical history.

   The review states:

   Cancer has become the American disease.  About 1.4
million new cases occur each year, and a half-million people
die of it anually.  After a century in which cancer research
has received billions of tax dollars and attracted the
talents of top scientists, the situation is little less
bleak than before.  Lung, colon, {*filter*}, prostate and the
other major cancers continue to have appalling fatality
rates and hardly better rates of remission than decades ago.
True, there have been some victories, notably with leukemia
in children, but at no time this century could any sobor
analyst the cancer war was actually being won with the
routine weaponry in the arsenal:  surgery, chemotherapy and
radiation.  Combined {*filter*}s from all three might grant
extra months or years to many, but proven cures remained the

   The review goes on to explain why research into
immuniology was branded quackery for so long, even as a
surgeon like William Coley was convinced the immune system,
not surgery was the key to cancer remissions.  

   Personality cults among doctors have harmed cancer
research after Nixon put the big bucks into the system, all
to no avail.  

   How are we doing? Sir David Weatherall, Regius Professor

   We seem to have reached an impasse in our understanding
of the major killsers of Western society,
particularly...cancer;  cancer patients can be patched up,
but maye only at the price, he observes, of the spiraling
cost of health care which threatens to cripple our economy.  

   It looks like a book worh reading or why we are where we
are today.

Thu, 16 Dec 1999 03:00:00 GMT
 [ 1 post ] 

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