The Emperor Of All Maladies Summary

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The Emperor of All Maladies by Siddhartha Mukherjee and is shaped as a biography of cancer, published in 2010. Siddhartha Mukherjee is an oncologist at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute. Mr. Mukherjee has become a storyteller of one of the most phenomenal stories in science that has ever been told, the history of cancer. The author talks about the setbacks and victories of cancer treatment. Dating back 550 BC from the Persian Queen Atossa’s breast cancer, which was excised by her Greek slave, to the 20th century’s battles with chemotherapy. Siddhartha Mukherjee gives detailed accounts of patients’ treatments through the ordeal of cancer. He shapes the book as a biography, “an attempt to enter the mind of this immortal illness” (Mukherjee xiii). It is a story…show more content…
Mukherjee puts a point of focus on the terrors of radical mastectomy, which is the removal of the breast tissue, lymph nodes in the armpit, and chest wall muscles, it was considered a deforming surgery. In the early 20th century doctors only knew how to get rid of localized cancer with surgery, if the cancer spread there was no hope. Dr. William Halsted took surgical oncology to the next level by trying to prevent the spreading of cancer by performing an extensive surgery. The radical mastectomy got more and more radical because doctors were racing to see how much of the body they could remove without killing the patient. The radical mastectomy, then turned into the “extraordinarily morbid, disfiguring procedure” (Mukherjee 194). Cancer surgeons thought, falsely, that each time the surgery was radicalized even more, the more successful it would be. “Pumped up with self confidence, bristling with conceit, and hypnotised by the potency of medicine, oncologists pushed their patients and their discipline to the brink of disaster” (Mukherjee 223). Today less invasive surgeries are performed with the better results and less
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