A Quest for Knowledge Inspired by a Devastating Loss

Janet Maslin reviews One in Three: A Son’s Journey into the History and Science of Cancer by Adam Wishart, in the New York Times Book Review:

Screenhunter_07_feb_16_0020For Adam Wishart’s father, it began as back pain. X-rays revealed a crumbling of neck vertebrae. Surgery repaired the vertebrae but uncovered a tumor, a byproduct of cancer that had originated elsewhere in his body. Doctors could not pinpoint its source.

Mr. Wishart’s father was a vigorous 72 when his illness was first diagnosed. But he began to look markedly older. He walked with a shuffle and developed difficulty in handling simple tasks. His skin grew pallid, his brain sluggish. Even as his decline became inevitable, his family vacillated between hope and fear.

The son’s way of dealing with his father’s death was to become as knowledgeable as he could, and to pass that knowledge on to readers. As the title of “One in Three” makes clear, he has a captive audience. “One in three of us,” he writes, “will develop the disease in our lifetimes.” And many of us will struggle to grasp the science, history and physiology of what happens.

More here.