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The Truth in Small Doses: Why We're Losing the War on Cancer-and How to Win It
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The Truth in Small Doses: Why We're Losing the War on Cancer-and How to Win It

4.20  ·  Rating details ·  135 ratings  ·  26 reviews
In a provocative, eye-opening, and ultimately inspiring history of the war on cancer, a celebrated expert asks why we are losing the battle and how to find victory.

A provocative, eye-opening history of the war on cancer, The Truth in Small Doses asks why we are losing this essential fight and charts a path forward.

OVER THE PAST HALF CENTURY, deaths from heart disease, stro
Hardcover, 512 pages
Published July 16th 2013 by Simon Schuster
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4.20  · 
Rating details
 ·  135 ratings  ·  26 reviews

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Seth Kanor
Jul 02, 2013 rated it it was amazing
I read an early review copy of this meticulously reported, elegantly written book and was blown away. It is hard to believe that a book of this scientific rigor and depth could also be such a gripping narrative. If you are a reader of public health, of science, or if you have been affected in any way by cancer, or if you are simply a fan of masterful non-fiction, this book is not to be missed. Given the enormity of the subject matter, it is an astonishing accomplishment.
Nov 28, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: non-fiction
Clifton Leaf's "The Truth in Small Doses: How We're Losing the War on Cancer - and How to Win It" deals with a topic that has touched many people's lives, including mine (my father passed away from cancer).
Mr. Leaf discusses how funds have been misspent in cancer research, how the nation's most promising young scientists pursue work in other areas, how scientists are reluctant to share information and collaborate enough, and how pharmaceuticals are expensive yet usually ineffective. He points o
Oct 19, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: cancer, health
If you're in the "Cancer Community" you'll find a completely different take on the disease and its challenges in "The Truth in Small Doses". Have you heard we're winning the war on Cancer? Sorry, but no. The death rate really hasn't changed since 1971 because, for all the success with treatment, the number of cancer cases keeps rising.

Using math and demographic data, Leaf makes a good case that we should shift the focus from treatment, which in many cases isn't that effective, to preventing canc
Nick Varchaver
Jul 11, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Leaf's writing is luminous, his reporting deep and profound, his thinking completely original. This book will completely change how you think about our battle against cancer—but it's simultaneously a riveting read, with every sentence a pearl.
K. Lincoln
Apr 09, 2014 rated it it was amazing
I'll start out by saying that I'm reading this from the perspective of a breast cancer survivor near the one year anniversary of my diagnosis.

I've been reading all the books I can about cancer, including Emperor of All Maladies, The Cancer Chronicles, and HER2: The Making of Herceptin.

This is a fine addition, although uncomfortable in its criticism of the "War on Cancer" to the conversation, written in very readable style (I'm a lit major and all my cancer knowledge is self-researched).

Lots of i
William Nist
Jun 28, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: medical
The "War on Cancer" fizzled from it's beginning in 1971. That is the premise of Leaf's book on Cancer and why we have such little progress even today as other areas in Medicine are advancing rapidly (say, Cardiology). The number of cases keeps mounting, and if it were not for earlier detection, the incidence of cancer would also be growing.

This book is a diagnosis of what went wrong and what can be done about it. The dysfunction appears to be in the poor management of the "war" and the growth o
A Malcoski
Jul 02, 2013 rated it it was amazing
A must-read and hopefully, a game changer in how cancer is fought in this country. An entertaining book filled with wonderful stories of how we came to fight the war on cancer and lost the battle in the process. Filled with easy to digest science and facts, Truth is also a scary eye-opener to the flawed culture surrounding the cancer fight. The same universities are awarded grants. Outside-the-box thinking is frowned upon. Hungry med students eager to make a change are met with the uninspired tr ...more
Sheila Read
Jun 13, 2013 marked it as to-read
If I win this book I plan on donating it to the local cancer center.
Angie Hahn
Jan 01, 2018 rated it really liked it
Learned a lot about the pharmaceutical industry and medical research. Was published in 2014 and there have been many changes in the last couple years, so some things are already out-dated.
John Kerastas
Aug 03, 2013 rated it it was amazing
This is an important book about an important topic: “Why we’re losing the war on cancer – and how to win it.”

I give the book five stars for explaining “why we’re losing the war on cancer.”

The statistics Leaf provides to back up his assertion that we’re “losing the war” are absolutely compelling. If you read nothing else, read Chapter I – “Counting” which spells out very clearly that we are not winning the war on cancer.

As I read this section it seemed to me that we’re getting the least bang fo
This book contains great points about reforms necessary in healthcare but contains numerous glaring flaws.

First of all, the objection to how cancer death rates are reported can only be evaluated if we did an age by age comparison- which he doesn't provide. His numbers in no way reject the hypothesis that we are reducing the cancer death rate for all age groups.

Secondly, he falls far short of showing that we need to be less cautious about treating pre-cancer; his claims that pharmaceuticals are r
Sep 07, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: first-reads
I am always dubious of books that have the word "TRUTH" in large letters on the cover (a tactic employed by people with strong opinions that may or may not be based in reality), but by the end of this book the author had convinced me that the "War on Cancer" needs some serious reform. Be warned, this is not a light read. In order to support his thesis, Leaf first endeavors to convince the reader that progress on this front is minimal at best and regressive at worst. There were times that I felt ...more
Matt Heimer
Sep 04, 2013 rated it it was amazing
You wouldn't think that a book of this nature would make ideal vacation reading, but I picked up my copy while on a cruise ship, and found myself almost unable to put it down for three days. Cliff Leaf (who's a friend and former colleague of mine) finds a remarkable narrative balance: He includes just enough hard science (and there's plenty) to give a not-especially-knowledgeable reader an introduction to the workings of cancer research and the grim bio-mechanics of cancer itself. But at the sam ...more
Anup Sinha
Jun 03, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Outstanding book by Clifton Leaf on what is a most profound issue. Leaf is not a doctor or a researcher, nor does he have any scientific background that I can determine but that just makes it more impressive. In fact, he takes the angle of a very intelligent person (financial writer by trade) who has been touched by cancer himself and is looking at a dysfunctional system from outside. He is willing to make observations that people in the field would be scared to, or perhaps, too blinded. There's ...more
Aug 29, 2013 rated it liked it
A powerful indictment of our cancer industry that has made marginal progress at great expense in fighting this disease(s). From a broken grant-funding process, to an over-abundance of caution on the part of drug companies, to a failure to focus on prevention and "preemption" of disease. A severely flawed clinical trial process that selects for drugs that are often no better than existing treatments, lack of standards that make comparing data almost impossible, inability of researchers to acquire ...more
Dorothy Steffens
Thank you Good Reads for sending this book to me for free. A very detailed account of the journey that scientists, pharmaceutical companies, universities and researchers searching for a cure for cancer. One of the deadliest diseases there is and with all the years of work, a cure is still a long way off. the progress seems to focus on early detection and levels of remission. The research is well documented with recognizable and well known professionals in the medical field. I recommend this read ...more
Oct 07, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: science-health, owned
I'm giving the book a 5-star rating because the author did an excellent job of writing this book. In reading it however, I found myself fairly disturbed and angered by current state of the current "war on cancer."

On a positive note, the author did have some great stories about the intrepid scientists in the old days of the fight against cancer, and has created a great action plan for leaders to follow in order to make our fight a more effective one.

In the end though, the book shook off whatever
Nov 07, 2015 rated it really liked it
The author uses the mavericks in the cancer biological science as examples of how we are currently stifling progress through bureaucracy and micromanagement.  Leaf contends that we have lost sight of the goal of the "war on cancer" and have instead fixated on increasing budgets and funding.  Certainly more resources cannot hurt but surprisingly little has come from the billions spent since the Cancer Act of the early 1970s.  He argues that an urgent shift in management and strategy is needed.  T ...more
Mina Park
Jul 02, 2013 rated it it was amazing
I cannot wait until this book is in my hands. Unfortunately, we live in an age where cancer touches everyone's lives. No longer is it something that just happens to someone else nor are you able to observe from a distance with a sense of detachment. I applaud Clifton Leaf for breaking it down for us so we can grasp what we are up against but more importantly, for providing us with hope which is essential in winning the war with cancer!!
Jun 14, 2013 rated it really liked it
I received this book free thru the Good Reads program.
This book is a real eye-opener and shocker.
Very well written, easy for the layperson to understand
Cant say I wasnt getting depressed reading this.
I highly recommend this book to any one interested in the subject
Thank you.
Mark Meyer
Jul 31, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction, medical
I received a free copy of this book through First Reads and was a little shocked, a little mad, a little motivated and a little inspired at what is inside these pages. A well written, right on-time book about a subject we are all too familiar with.
Aug 31, 2013 rated it liked it
I found Emperor of Maladies much more interesting.
Laura Saunders
Feb 01, 2014 rated it really liked it
Very powerful arguments on why we have not been able to prevent, treat or cure cancer.
Dec 21, 2013 rated it liked it
Well written and documented, but leaves the reader feeling unfulfilled. Maybe that's the idea. It did not provide information that was new.
rated it it was amazing
May 31, 2015
Saúl Moreno
rated it really liked it
Sep 04, 2013
Farah Reslane
rated it it was amazing
Mar 24, 2016
Hanadi M.
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Jan 15, 2017
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Dec 03, 2018
Sep 05, 2015 rated it really liked it
this book can be summed up by saying we need to be engineering cures to cancer
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