The Truth in Small Doses
Why We’re Losing the War on Cancer—and How to Win It
This is the ninth Note on cancer we’ve done so far. I picked this book up after Travis Christofferson referenced it a couple times in Tripping over the Truth. Clifton Leaf is a great writer and the Editor-in-Chief of Fortune magazine. He tells us that nine years before he wrote this book he began his reporting on cancer with a five-word question: How did we get here Specifically, Leaf wanted to know: How did we get to a point, 40+ years after Nixon declared War on Cancer, where the real death rate is, essentially, the same as it was in the 1950s? That’s a great question. And, he provides a powerful look at what’s gone wrong and how to fix it. Big Ideas we explore include the power of taking a different route to the summit, the truth (but only in small doses), dogma vs. science, the power of prevention, and the power of counting—aka, the truth in large doses.
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“Others may contend that reporting on the lack of progress made against cancer steals precious hope from those who need it most. With each life saved, with each report of success, they say, comes renewed hope for those newly diagnosed and for their loved ones.
I do not dispute the raw power of hope. I have felt it myself, believed in its magic to help me though my own bout with cancer long ago. I have seen my mother rely on it, wield it, call it forth in the darkest hours of her own fight. None of us, perhaps, could live without it.
But for hope to be more then mere wishing, it needs vision; it needs a commitment of will; it needs a clear perspective on where we are and where we need to go.
And for that, it helps to know how we got here.”