The Death of Cancer

Author:
Vincent T. DeVita, Elizabeth DeVita-Raeburn
Publisher:
Farrar, Straus and Giroux
Category:
Medicine

This book appeared in Advance Copy, a column in which NASW book editor Lynne Lamberg asks NASW authors to tell how they came up with the idea for their book, developed a proposal, found an agent and publisher, funded and conducted research, and put the book together. She also asks what they wish they had known before they began working on their book, what they might do differently the next time, and what tips they can offer aspiring authors. She then edits the A part of that Q&A to produce the author reports you see here. Publication of NASW members’ reports in Advance Copy does not indicate NASW’s endorsement of their books. NASW welcomes your comments, and hopes this column stimulates productive discussions. To join the discussion or submit your book, visit Advance Copy.

Cancer touches everybody’s life in one way or another. But most of us know very little about how the disease works, why we treat it the way we do, and the personalities whose dedication got us where we are today. For fifty years, Dr. Vincent T. DeVita Jr. has been one of those key players: he has held just about every major position in the field, and he developed the first successful chemotherapy treatment for Hodgkin’s lymphoma, a breakthrough the American Society of Clinical Oncologists has called the top research advance in half a century of chemotherapy. As one of oncology’s leading figures, DeVita knows what cancer looks like from the lab bench and the bedside. The Death of Cancer is his illuminating and deeply personal look at the science and the history of one of the world’s most formidable diseases. In DeVita’s hands, even the most complex medical concepts are comprehensible.

Cowritten with DeVita’s daughter, the science writer Elizabeth DeVita-Raeburn, The Death of Cancer is also a personal tale about the false starts and major breakthroughs, the strong-willed oncologists who clashed with conservative administrators (and one another), and the courageous patients whose willingness to test cutting-edge research helped those oncologists find potential treatments. An emotionally compelling and informative read, The Death of Cancer is also a call to arms. DeVita believes that we’re well on our way to curing cancer but that there are things we need to change in order to get there. Mortality rates are declining, but America’s cancer patients are still being shortchanged ― by timid doctors, by misguided national agendas, by compromised bureaucracies, and by a lack of access to information about the strengths and weaknesses of the nation’s cancer centers.

With historical depth and authenticity, DeVita reveals the true story of the fight against cancer. The Death of Cancer is an ambitious, vital book about a life-and-death subject that touches us all.

Nov. 2, 2015

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