The Quest for its Viral and Bacterial Causes
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About the author
Claudia Cornwall is the author of four books including Letter from Vienna: A Daughter Uncovers Her Family’s Jewish Past, winner of the Hubert Evans Non-Fiction Prize in British Columbia for 1996, and At the World’s Edge: Curt Lang’s Vancouver, 1937-1998, which was short-listed for the 2012 City of Vancouver Book Award. She has been published in many Canadian magazines and newspapers. A long-time contributor to Reader’s Digest, she has written a popular annual series on medical breakthroughs. She teaches writing courses at Douglas College and Simon Fraser University.
Catching Cancer introduces readers to the investigators who created a medical revolution—a new way of looking at cancer and its causes. Featuring interviews with notable scientists such as Harald zur Hausen, Barry Marshall, Robin Warren, and others, the book tells the story of their struggles, their frustrations, and finally the breakthroughs that helped form some of the most profound changes in the way we view cancer. Claudia Cornwall takes readers inside the lab to reveal the long and winding path to discoveries that have changed and continue to alter the course of medical approaches to one of the most confounding diseases mankind has known. She tells the stories of families who have benefited from this new knowledge, of the researchers who made the revolution happen, and the breakthroughs that continue to change our lives.
For years, we’ve thought cancer was the result of lifestyle choices, environmental factors, or genetic mutations. But pioneering scientists have begun to change that picture. We now know that infections cause 20 percent of cancers, including liver, stomach, and cervical cancer, which together kill almost 1.8 million people every year. While the idea that you can catch cancer may sound unsettling, it is actually good news. It means antibiotics and vaccines can be used to combat this most dreaded disease. With this understanding, we have new methods of preventing cancer, and perhaps we may be able to look forward to a day when we will no more fear cancer than we do polio or rubella.
Rowman & Littlefield Publishers
; March 2013
240 pages; ISBN 9781442215221Read online
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Title: Catching Cancer
Author: Claudia Cornwall
Introduction: In the Face of General Opinion
1: More than a curiosity
2: Palmer Beasley Discovers a Silent Epidemic
3: Harald zur Hausen Solves the Riddle of Cervical Cancer
4: Barry Marshall, Robin Warren and Helicobacter pylori
5: Paul Ewald Stalks the Stealth Infections
6: Gene Hunters
In the press
Cornwall’s 2010 Canadian Reader’s Digest article had an intriguing premise: that some cancers are 'caught' by patients because of specific infections. In this book, Cornwall (At The World’s Edge) expands her thesis, delving into the fitful search for microbial causes of cancer by highlighting the work of seven remarkable scientists (including several Nobel Prize winners) who, noticing 'some small aberration from the ordinary,' have managed to inch us that much closer to conquering a scourge that kills 7.5 million people annually. Dr. Palmer Beasley (who died of cancer after Cornwall’s interview with him, but before the publication of the book) put forth provocative evidence identifying chronic hepatitis B as an important cause of liver cancer; Harald Zur Hausen posits a correlation between human papillomavirus and cervical cancer, and suggests that a vaccine might prevent it; Barry Marshall and Robin Warren uncover the role of the H. pylori bacteria in gastritis, ulcers, and stomach cancer; researcher Paul Ewald helps scientists understand why pathogens are linked to cancers; and husband-wife team Yuan Chang and Patrick Moore found a new technique to identify viruses. Because finding an infectious agent allows doctors to do something about it, Cornwall insists that the work of these researchers may someday make 'catching' cancer less scary.