Can Lifelong, Invasive Screening Eradicate Cancer?

John Horgan in Scientific American:

Azra Raza, an oncologist at Columbia, has watched too many people die from cancer. They include her patients and her husband, also a cancer specialist. She has poured her frustration into a new book, The First Cell: And the Human Costs of Pursuing Cancer to the Last.

“No one is winning the war on cancer,” Raza says. Claims of progress are “mostly hype, the same rhetoric from the same self-important voices for the past half century.” Her book details the excruciating suffering endured by her husband and others during largely futile treatment. She proposes a radical “new strategy” that switches from treating cancer to preventing it from occurring.

Oncologist Siddhartha Mukherjee, author of the 2010 bestseller The Emperor of All Maladies (which I wrote about here) calls First Cell a “powerfully written and far-reaching book that will change the conversation around cancer for decades to come.” I, too, admire Raza’s passion and eloquence, but I fear her “new strategy” would make a bad problem worse.

More here.