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This Meetup is cancelled

February Nonfiction Meetup: "The Cancer Chronicles"

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  • Price: $1.00 /per person

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  • Please join us for the February nonfiction pick, "The Cancer Chronicles: Unlocking Medicine's Deepest Mystery."

    Booklist Review

    Science writer Johnson (The Ten Most Beautiful Experiments, 2008) tackles cancer on a technical and personal level. He concludes that cancer is a disease of information. Although a single renegade cell can kindle a tumor, that cell still has hurdles to overcome avoiding apoptosis (programmed cell death) and growing its own blood supply (angiogenesis). Cancers can be caused by chemicals, radiation, and viruses, but certain behaviors are instigators, too. Tobacco use accounts for as many as 30 percent of cases. A sedentary lifestyle and obesity increase your chances of the disease. Dinosaurs with malignancies, rebellious mitochondria, and other attention-grabbing characters populate the book. Sadly fascinating are the rare medical personnel who've accidentally inoculated themselves with cancer cells and acquired the disease (including a woman who developed colon cancer in her hand). Johnson's discussion of the science of cancer is entwined with two tales of loss. Despite aggressive treatment, his youngest brother dies from cancer of the head and neck. His wife is diagnosed with uterine cancer and recovers, but their 17-year marriage ends.--Miksanek, Tony Copyright 2010 Booklist

    Publisher's Weekly Review

    It's his wife Nancy's grueling fight against a rare and "rabid" uterine cancer that prompts science writer Johnson (The Ten Most Beautiful Experiments) to delve into the efforts to study, treat, and beat what Siddhartha Mukherjee dubbed "The Emperor of All Maladies." This elegant and insightful chronicle is at once intensely personal and meticulously studious, focusing not just on one cancer, but on the evolution of all cancers. He finds it "comforting... knowing that cancer has always been with us, that it is not all our fault, that you can take every precaution and still something in the genetic coils can become unsprung." Cancer, he explains, can be blamed on "factors that have been present for a long time" (the disease beset even prehistoric dinosaurs). In fact, researchers are finding that any one case of cancer may have multiple causes, whether environmental, hereditary, or "elusive. bad luck." Cancer, he concludes, "is a phenomenon" that is "mostly random." Yet we are getting a clearer picture of how it works: cancer's "metabolic puzzle" may lie in "how the body stores and uses energy. Insulin, estrogen, obesity, cancer-all are tied in to the same metabolic knot." This is extraordinary scholarship delivered with an intimate poignancy. Agent: Esther Newberg, ICM. (Aug. 30) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

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    Please also visit our page on getting books at local libraries.

    We generally get a HUGE number of RSVPs and a low turnout.  This is fine, but it would be nice if you could change your RSVP to "no" if you decide you can't come.

    Thank you!

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  • Laura

    I'm feeling a bit sick, too, but I plan to be there if the other five of you are still planning to show up!

    February 19, 2014

  • Caryn

    Sorry to miss this, but I'm feeling under the weather today.

    February 19, 2014


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