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  • #22698
    Jonathan
    Participant

    This afternoon, I read a very provocative piece by the essayist Malcolm Gladwell in the December 14 New Yorker called “Tough Medicine: a disturbing report from the front lines of the war on cancer.” The essay is really a review of the new book “The Death of Cancer”, by Vincent DeVita, who has been a major research oncologist over the past 50 years (ex-president of ASCO, and many major positions, including the NCI, Memorial Sloan Kettering, and Yale). I’m now about a third of the way through the book. The essay and book are both excellent. DeVita is clearly getting a great deal off his chest after many years of frustration. He is very critical with the entire health care establishment in the way cancer patients are managed and treated. His basic argument is that the science behind oncology now is sufficient to treat most cancers effectively, but the main hurdles to the best utilization of these tools for saving patient lives are human organizational restrictions that have developed by insurance agencies, the FDA, Pharma, IRBs, and most physicians. He argues that many thousands, even hundreds of thousands, of lives are being lost because of the development of restrictive regulations and adherence to “standard treatment” procedures that govern not only clinical trials but restrict subsequent treatment options. Gladwell isn’t so sure he’s totally convinced by DeVita, but it’s a very, very interesting perspective and book, easy to read. I highly recommend it to everyone.

    Best,

    Jonathan

    #68049
    MathewR
    Participant

    Jonathan, thanks for your post. I’ve been “reading” this (really listening to the audiobook) over the past week. Very interesting from a “how the system works (and why its broken)” standpoint. I’m up to the part where De Vita is railing against the FDA. I had to “pause” for another book that was released this week–When Breath Becomes Air by Dr. Paul Kalanithi. Dr. Kalanithi was a Stanford neurosurgeon who was diagnosed with Stage IV lung cancer as he was entering into his last year of residency (at age 36). He is a phenomenal writer. I’d recommend the book to any Stage IV cancer patient. If you want a preview of his writing, Google his name–there is an excerpt from the book on the New Yorker website. He also wrote several pieces for the NY Times within the past 2 years.

    #68050
    msue5
    Participant

    Matthew

    Funny I just read a review of the book you referred to yesterday and checked to see if my library has it. They don’t but I can suggest a purchase of it and they will order it and automatically reserve it for me. My own personal book service!

    Mary Sue

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