A New War on Cancer
6 x 9
6 x 9
For more than fifty years, we have been waging, but not winning, the war on cancer. We’re better than ever at treating the disease, yet cancer still claims the lives of one in five men and one in six women in the US. The astonishing news is that up to two-thirds of all cancer cases are linked to preventable environmental causes. If we can stop cancer before it begins, why don’t we?
That was the question that motivated Kristina Marusic’s revelatory inquiry into cancer prevention. In searching for answers, she met remarkable doctors, scientists, and advocates who are upending our understanding of cancer and how to fight it. They recognize that we will never reduce cancer rates without ridding our lives of the chemicals that increasingly trigger this deadly disease.
Most never imagined this role for themselves. One scientist grew up without seeing examples of Indian-American women in the field, yet went on to make shocking discoveries about racial disparities in cancer risk. Another leader knew her calling was children’s health, but realized only later in her career that kids can be harmed by invisible pollutants at their daycares. Others uncovered surprising links between cancer and the everyday items that fill our homes and offices.
For these individuals, the fight has become personal. And it certainly is personal for Berry, a young woman whose battle with breast cancer is woven throughout these pages. Might Berry have dodged cancer had she not grown up in Oil City, Pennsylvania, in the shadow of refineries? There is no way to know for sure. But she is certain that, even with the best treatment available, her life was changed irrevocably by her diagnosis. Marusic shows that, collectively, we have the power to prevent many cases like Berry’s. The war on cancer is winnable—if we revolutionize the way we fight.
"In this big-hearted book, Kristina Marusic profiles the everyday champions of the most important battlefront in the ‘war on cancer’: the too-often overlooked movement to prevent environmental illness instead of just to survive it."
Dan Fagin, author of the Pulitzer Prize-winning Toms River: A Story of Science and Salvation
"Extraordinary journalist Kristina Marusic not only makes the case for a new war on cancer, she tells deeply human stories that inspire us to think beyond the defeatist myths of consumerism and confront polluters in our own communities. Best of all, her book helps those of us already diagnosed with cancer see ourselves as determined warriors."
Sandra Steingraber, author, Living Downstream: A Biologist’s Personal Investigation of Cancer and the Environment
"For decades, the ‘war on cancer’ has neglected environmental justice and the need to rid the nation of harmful chemicals. Marusic’s dramatic account puts a human face on the struggle to right this wrong. An excellent book!"
Robert D. Bullard, Director, Bullard Center for Environmental & Climate Justice, Texas Southern University
"Kristina Marusic alerts us to a hidden but deadly crisis: the threat that everyday chemicals pose to our health and that of future generations. Readers can’t help but be drawn into this alarming story, vividly told through the lives of those affected."
Shanna Swan, author of Count Down and Professor of Environmental Medicine and Public Health, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai
"An urgent exposé on the need for truly comprehensive cancer prevention."
Doris Browne, former Program Director, National Cancer Institute and 118th President, National Medical Association
Foreword by Philip J. Landrigan
Chapter 1. Laurel: Safer Nourishment through Science
Chapter 2. Ami: Safer Beauty through Racial Justice
Chapter 3. Nse: Safer Little Ones through Politics
Chapter 4. Bill: Safer Homes and Offices through Market Pressure
Chapter 5. B. Braun: Safer Medical Treatment through Innovation
Chapter 6. Melanie: Safer Neighborhoods through Activism
Epilogue: Moving Beyond Survival
About the Author