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" When you immerse yourself in medicine you realise that hope is not absolute. It's not that simple. "
" Why did I write 'The Emperor of All Maladies?' A 56-year-old woman with an abdominal sarcoma, having undergone two remissions and a relapse, asked me to describe what she was battling. By the time I had finished answering her, I realised that I had written 600 pages. "
" I think the cardinal rule of learning to write is learning to read first. I learned to write by learning to read. "
" There's a phrase in Shakespeare: he refers to it as the 'hidden imposthume', and this idea of a hidden swelling is seminal to cancer. But even in more contemporary writing it's called 'the big C'. "
" Unlike other diseases, the vulnerability to cancer lies in ourselves. We always thought of disease as exogenous, but research into cancer has turned that idea on its head - as long as we live, grow, age, there will be cancer. "
" Good physicians are rarely dispassionate. They agonize and self-doubt over patients. "
" There's a rising cancer trend and, as I said, one of the major contributors is the overall ageing of the population - we aren't dying of other things, so we're dying of cancer. "
" We don't know why, but pancreatic cancer has a very interesting physiological link to depression. There seems to be a deep link, and we don't know what it is. "
" Cancer is not one disease but many diseases. "
" 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. "
" Sidney Farber was a pathologist. He was called a doctor of the dead. He was a pathologist who sort of lived in the basement of the children's hospital in Boston, and he became very interested in childhood leukemia. And Farber began to inject this drug, aminopterin, into young kids, in order to see if he could get a remission. "
" 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. "
" The trick to my writing, it turned out, was doing so exclusively in bed. The minute I even dared to discipline myself and write at the desk, I produced mounds of nonsense. Yet, sitting in bed, I wrote easily, effortlessly, fluidly. I became the master of perfect indiscipline. "
" We now have poured in an enormous amount of resources into cancer. The National Cancer Institute Project, you know, runs about $5 billion a year. That's a large amount of money, but let's not be grandiose about the amount of money we're actually spending on a problem that is attacking us at the most fundamental level of the human species. "
" 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 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.' "
" We may have to learn to live with cancer rather than die of it. It means a big change in our mindset and how we do research. We haven't quite reached there yet. "
" One day, I had a patient who was going through chemotherapy who came to me and said, 'I'm going to go on with what I'm doing, but I need you to tell me what it is that I'm fighting.' "
" The idea that cancer genes are sitting inside each and every one of our chromosomes, just waiting to be corrupted or inactivated and thereby unleashing cancer, is, of course, one of the seminal ideas of oncology. "
" 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. "
" There is a very moving and ancient connection between cancer and depression. "
" Probably the most important reason we are seeing more cancers than before is because the population is ageing overall. And cancer is an age-related disease. "
" 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. "
" There is a duality in recognising what an incredible disease it is - in terms of its origin, that it emerges out of a normal cell. It's a reminder of what a wonderful thing a normal cell is. In a very cold, scientific sense, I think a cancer cell is a kind of biological marvel. "
" Postwar U.S. was the world's leader in science and technology. The investment in science research was staggering. "
" 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. "
" Writing anything as an expert is really poisonous to the writing process, because you lose the quality of discovery. "
" Nearly every one of the genes that turns out to be a key player in cancer has a vital role in the normal physiology of an organism. The genes that enable our brains and blood cells to develop are implicated in cancer. "
" I believe the biggest breakthroughs on cancer could come from brilliant researchers based in India. "
" Cancer is not just a dividing cell. It's a complex disease: It invades, it metastasizes, it evades the immune system. "
" 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. "