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Summary of Malignant: How Cancer Becomes Us – 1st Edition
From publisher University of California Press:
Cancer can kill: this fact makes it concrete. Still, it’s a devious knave. Nearly every American will experience it up-close and all too personally, wondering why the billions of research dollars thrown at the word haven’t exterminated it from the English language. Like a sapper diffusing a bomb, Jain unscrambles the emotional, bureaucratic, medical, and scientific tropes that create the thing we call cancer. Scientists debate even the most basic facts about the disease, while endlessly generated, disputed, population data produce the appearance of knowledge. Jain takes the vacuum at the center of cancer seriously and demonstrates the need to understand cancer as a set of relationships–economic, sentimental, medical, personal, ethical, institutional, statistical. Malignant analyzes the peculiar authority of the socio-sexual psychopathologies of body parts; the uneven effects of expertise and power; the potentially cancerous consequences of medical procedures such as IVF; the huge industrial investments that manifest themselves as bone-cold testing rooms; the legal mess of medical malpractice law; and the teeth-grittingly jovial efforts to smear makeup and wigs over the whole messy problem of bodies spiraling into pain and decay. Malignant examines the painful cognitive dissonances produced by the ways a culture that has relished dazzling success in every conceivable arena have twisted one of its staunchest failures into an economic triumph. The intractable foil to American achievement, cancer hands us — on a silver platter and ready for Jain’s incisively original dissection — our sacrifice to the American Dream–
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