A WORLD WITHOUT CANCER

The Making Of A New Cure And The Real Promise of Prevention

Margaret I. Cuomo, MD

A provocative and surprising investigation into the ways that profit, personalities, and politics obstruct real progress in the war on cancer—and one doctor’s passionate call to action for change.

As a diagnostic radiologist who has watched patients, friends, and family suffer with and die from cancer and who was deeply affected by the enraged husband of one patient, Dr. Margaret I. Cuomo is inspired to seek out new strategies for waging a smarter war on cancer.

This year, about 1.6 million new cases of cancer will be diagnosed and more than 1,500 people will die per day.

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A provocative and surprising investigation into the ways that profit, personalities, and politics obstruct real progress in the war on cancer—and one doctor’s passionate call to action for change.

As a diagnostic radiologist who has watched patients, friends, and family suffer with and die from cancer and who was deeply affected by the enraged husband of one patient, Dr. Margaret I. Cuomo is inspired to seek out new strategies for waging a smarter war on cancer.

This year, about 1.6 million new cases of cancer will be diagnosed and more than 1,500 people will die per day. We’ve been asked to accept the disappointing strategy to “manage cancer as a chronic disease.” We’ve allowed pharmaceutical companies to position cancer drugs that extend life by just weeks and may cost $100,000 for a single course of treatment as breakthroughs. Where is the bold leadership that will transform our system from treatment to prevention? Have we forgotten the mission of the National Cancer Act of 1971 to “conquer cancer”?

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  • Rodale
  • Hardcover
  • October 2012
  • 288 Pages
  • 9781609618858

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About Margaret I. Cuomo, MD

Margaret I. Cuomo, MD, is a board certified radiologist. She is the daughter of former New York Governor Mario Cuomo and Mrs. Matilda Cuomo, and sister to Governor Andrew Cuomo and ABC’s Chris Cuomo. She resides in New York.

Discussion Questions

In the introduction, Dr. Cuomo tells a story about breaking the news to a patient that her cancer may have returned and explores how difficult both delivering that news and hearing it can be. Have you or someone you loved had a cancer scare or received a cancer diagnosis? How compassionately or professionally did the doctor deliver the news?

Why do you think some people avoid cancer screenings? Are they confused by the recommendations? Are they fearful that something might be wrong? Are they just too busy? Do you think that cancer screenings actually save lives?

What could be some of the reasons why cancer treatments have grown more and more expensive and yet not become any more effective? Is there any way to improve their effectiveness and keep costs under control? Do you think that finding new ways to prevent and cure cancer could provide new opportunities for the health care industry to earn profits?

When you think of “dealing” with cancer, the focus is often on the treatment. But Toni and Doug’s story in Chapter 7 reminds us of many factors, costs, and strains patients and their families must cope with. Can you put yourself in Toni’s place? How would you balance the desire to live with the agony of the treatments? Do you think that Toni’s doctors should have given her the option to consider palliative care?

Chapter 10 outlines the many harmful substances in our environment and even in our food that may be endangering our health and are increasing our cancer risk. What steps should be taken by our government to protect us?

Health care has become a major political and social issue. What is problematic about the way healthcare is approached in the United States? What do you think are the consequences of accepting cancer as an impossible-to-defeat inevitability, treating it as a chronic disease rather than trying to prevent or eliminate it?

Why do you think that despite the decades of grave warnings we’ve been given about tobacco, almost 20% of the adult population still smokes? What can be done to reduce this statistic? Do you think that the medical community and government have done enough to help end smoking?

What are some specific ways that the government can encourage healthier living? How can new 21st-century technologies play a role? To what extent do you believe the government should guide or intervene in the health choices of citizens? Should schools play a greater role in teaching our children about healthier lifestyles?

Shree Bose, the young science student featured in Chapter 15, was motivated to research cancer after her grandfather was diagnosed with the disease. Do you think scientists who have personal experiences with cancer approach their work differently?

Dr. Cuomo reports on research that shows we could prevent 50 percent of all cancers with the information we have right now. Then she outlines the ways in Chapters 10-13. What are the steps that are hardest for you to follow and why? What have you learned from this book that you will apply to your own life?