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Genetics and Society - Book Report/Review Example

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The Role of Genetics in the Cure of Cancer The Emperor of All Maladies: An Autobiography of Cancer Mutation Instructor Date Over the years, there have been significant advances in the field of genetics. Ideally, this has brought the human race closer to developing lasting solutions for the age old cancer dilemma…
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Download file to see previous pages It is perhaps on this premise that Mukherjee, an oncologist wrote his self-titled “The Emperor of All Maladies: An Autobiography of Cancer”. By considering it an autobiography, Mukherjee allowed that the once controversial and less spoken of cancer could finally receive a voice. According to the book, cancer is a disease that takes the lives of many people all over the world (Mukherjee 8). However, the topic is and has never been spoken of largely because of the void of information on it etiology and prognosis. The book thus presents information on the history of cancer with excerpts of the earliest time in history at which it was discovered to the various advances that have been made on the subject over time. Initially, there was no cure that was documented for one of the first forms of cancer to have been discovered. Breast cancer was one of the earliest form of cancers to have been discovered by Egyptian physicians according to information obtained from a papyrus dated 1600BC (Mukherjee). Due to lack of appropriate terminology and understanding of the disease at the time, the condition is merely described as a “bulge with no treatment”. And the situation is so acute such that no information is presented in any medical literature about the condition for periods dating 2000 years from this initial discovery (18). Advances in genetics in the early 19th century can be used to explain the increased understanding of the disease. With the dynamic discovery and understanding of the body's smallest units referred to as “cells”, it became apparent that the disease could be managed (29). These advances had positive effects on society because those suffering from the disease could have some measure of hope. This hope was initially that of mere understanding that quickly had ethical implications. This is because it was mere understanding of the condition at the time but with little information or knowledge of how to manage the condition. In the book, it is depicted that patients were brought into the hospital for medical attention only to be discussed elaborately then sent home for lack of any medical assistances (41). One cannot, however, blame them at the time for taking such actions, however, ; it can be argued that their actions were unethical. The mere presence of information presented false hope to patients with the condition when measures for management were not available. The social sciences can be used to develop a procedural explanation of the events that were encountered on the journey towards the realization of a cure of cancer. People were growing weary and desperate for a cure for the disease. And with fewer funds and attention being given towards war and other social disasters, there were more funds available for research into cancer (53). It was obvious at the time that little was known about the disease that warranted the government decision to provide funds for research. Social motivation by money warranted unethical actions by scientists and researchers at the time. Fuelled by the desperation of patients with cancer to find a cure, researchers undertook a plethora of experiments on individuals with little consideration for their social well-being (64). This period realized various research centers set up all over the country that were on the form of cells purposed to confine subjects who were undergoing various treatments. Various fundamental freedoms were either curtailed or abused ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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