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All Quotes by author - Siddhartha Mukherjee
" A breast cancer might turn out to have a close resemblance to a gastric cancer. And this kind of reorganization of cancer in terms of its internal genetic anatomy has really changed the way we treat and approach cancer in general. "
" A strong intuition is much more powerful than a weal test. Normals teach us rules; outliers teach us laws. For every perfect medical experiment, there is a perfect human bias. "
" Because I work on leukemia, the image of cancer I carry in my mind is that of blood. I imagine that doctors who work on breast cancer or pancreatic cancer have very different visualizations. "
" Cancer has enormous diversity and behaves differently: it's highly mutable, the evolutionary principles are very complicated and often its capacity to be constantly mystifying comes as a big challenge. "
" Cancer is not just a dividing cell. It's a complex disease: It invades, it metastasizes, it evades the immune system. "
" Cancer is not one disease but many diseases. "
" Cell culture is a little like gardening. You sit and you look at cells, and then you see something and say, 'You know, that doesn't look right'. "
" Each of us knows a few or several young people whose lives have been devastated by cancer. I don't mean to be nihilistic about it, but it is very much an active killer of people now. "
" Every era casts cancer in its own image. "
" Good physicians are rarely dispassionate. They agonize and self-doubt over patients. "
" I am a scientist and I am a physician. So I write papers. "
" I began wondering, can one really write a biography of an illness? But I found myself thinking of cancer as this character that has lived for 4,000 years, and I wanted to know what was its birth, what is its mind, its personality, its psyche? "
" I believe the biggest breakthroughs on cancer could come from brilliant researchers based in India. "
" I could write a thesis on the physiology of vision. But I had no way to look through the fabric of confabulation spun by a man with severe lung disease who was prescribed 'home oxygen', but gave a false address out of embarrassment because he had no 'home.' "
" If something is good, more is not necessarily better. Not always. "
" If there's a seminal discovery in oncology in the last 20 years, it's that idea that cancer genes are often mutated versions of normal genes. "
" If you take 100 breast-cancer samples, 100 types of cancer have 100 different hallmarks of mutated genes. You could be nihilistic and say, 'Oh, God, we'll never be able to tackle this!' But there are deep, systematic, organizational principles at work in all that diversity. "
" I had seen cancer at a more cellular level as a researcher. The first time I entered the cancer ward, my first instinct was to withdraw from what was going on - the complexity, the death. It was a very bleak time. "
" I left Delhi in 1989 and remember very little of how life used to be then. Increasingly, in my recent visits to Delhi, I've started to realize that the city has become intellectually very lively. It makes me want to discover the city over and over again. "
" I'm human, we all are - all doctors are - and grieving is a natural part of medicine. As a doctor, grieving is a natural part of medicine. If you deny that, again, you'd get into this trap of curing and victory. I think grief is very important. "
" In a spiritual sense, a positive attitude may help you get through chemotherapy and surgery and radiation and what have you. But a positive mental attitude does not cure cancer - any more than a negative mental attitude causes cancer. "
" I once set myself a deadline: half a chapter a week, 20 minutes a day. The thought froze me instantly, like literary Botox. I returned to my non-schedule: sleeping, writing 20 minutes, and then back to sleep. Breakfast in bed, with juice congealing on the sill: pages and pages began to pour out again. "
" I think the cardinal rule of learning to write is learning to read first. I learned to write by learning to read. "
" I think the way we think about cancer, the way we treat cancer, has dramatically changed in the last century. There is an enormous amount of options that a physician can provide today, right down from curing patients, treating patients or providing patients with psychic solace or pain relief. "
" I think when we use 'stress', we are often using a kind of dummy word to try to fit many different things into one big category. "
" I think you would have to be a nihilist to say that we are not making progress on cancer, just like you'd have to be hubristically optimistic to say that we have conquered cancer. "
" It turns out that the very genes that turn on in cancer cells perform vital functions in normal cells. In other words, the very genes that allow our embryos to grow or our brains to grow, our bodies to grow, if you mutate them, if you distort them, then you unleash cancer. "
" I wanted to explore cancer not just biologically, but metaphorically. The idea that tuberculosis in the 19th century possessed the same kind of frightening and decaying quality was very interesting to me, and it seemed that one could explore the idea that every age defined its own illness. "
" Mary Lasker was an entrepreneur; she was a socialite. She was kind of a legendary networker. She became interested in saying, 'Well, you know, if these diseases don't have political support we'll never conquer them.' And she made, really, cancer her special cause. "
" Most days, I go home and I feel rejuvenated. I feel ebullient. "
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