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" Writing anything as an expert is really poisonous to the writing process, because you lose the quality of discovery. "
" 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'. "
" 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. "
" 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.' "
" 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 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? "
" My memory of my household is of one immersed in books and music. I have a very intimate relationship with Bengali literature, particularly Tagore, and my interest besides reading then was music. "
" The history is important because science is a discipline deeply immersed in history. In other words, every time you perform an experiment in science or in medicine, what you're actually doing is you're answering someone, answering a question raised by someone in the past. "
" 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. "
" 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. "
" Some cancers are curable, while others are highly incurable. The spectrum is enormous. Metastatic pancreatic cancer is a highly incurable disease, whereas some leukemia forms are very curable. There is a big difference between one form and another. "
" 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. "
" The gene that enables birds to learn songs can become cancer-causing. There is no normal physiological process that can't be bastardized by the disease. "
" 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. "
" I am a scientist and I am a physician. So I write papers. "
" 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. "
" Cancer is not one disease but many diseases. "
" 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. "
" What does it mean to be an oncologist? It means that you get to sit in at a moment of another person's life that is so hyper-acute, and not just because they're medically ill. It's also a moment of hope and expectation and concern. "
" 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. "
" 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. "
" Good physicians are rarely dispassionate. They agonize and self-doubt over patients. "
" 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. "
" Most discoveries even today are a combination of serendipity and of searching. "
" 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. "
" 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. "
" 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. "
" Robert Sandler is a child who died when he was three years old, and he is a child who was the first child that we know of to be treated with chemotherapy. "
" We know cancer is caused ultimately via a link between the environment and genes. There are genes inside cells that tell cells to grow and the same genes tell cells to stop growing. When you deregulate these genes, you unleash cancer. Now, what disrupts these genes? Mutations. "
" Every era casts cancer in its own image. "