If you’ve read The Emperor of All Maladies, you already know a little about the Philadelphia chromosome, but this book goes into more depth on it and focuses exclusively on this form of cancer, bringing in some case studies and describing the scientists and physicians who were intimately involved in the research and the long road to a treatment for the cancer caused by the Philadelphia chromosomal translocation. It’s a fascinating story and well written — actually oddly gripping, if you find research like this interesting. Like a lot of the best books describing research, it made me want to get out there and do some of my own, and maybe someday be as instrumental in saving lives as some of the scientists mentioned.
I was asked with The Emperor of All Maladies if I thought the book would be a stressful read for someone who is afraid of cancer. So the same report for The Philadelphia Chromosome: I think some of the treatments and symptoms described are pretty awful, as you’d expect, but it doesn’t tend to get deeply personal or emotional about them, and the cancer caused by this particular mutation is actually extremely treatable. You might even find it a good place to jump on with learning more about cancer to demystify and undemonise it a little for that reason.