By James T. Patterson

Cancer is that "loathsome beast, which seized upon the breast, drove its lengthy claws into the encircling tissues, derived its sustenance via sucking out the juices of its sufferers, and not even comfortable its carry in death," a turn-of-the-century doctor recorded. Even at the present time melanoma impacts the preferred mind's eye with dread. In a sophisticated and penetrating cultural historical past, James Patterson examines reactions to the disorder via a century of yank life.

The smooth American preoccupation with melanoma was once obvious through the largely publicized ailment and loss of life from that affliction of Ulysses S. provide in 1885. understanding of the ailment quickly figured seriously within the public cognizance, and person reactions to it proceed to bare broader tensions inside American society. Patterson examines responses to melanoma via researchers and physicians, quacks and religion healers, by way of the multitude who've heard sensational media studies of "cures," in addition to via many that have had firsthand stories with the disease.

Optimistic attitudes of many specialists distinction sharply with the skepticism of enormous segments of the population--often the fewer prosperous and the fewer educated--that reject the claims of clinical technology and withstand the recommendation or, a few argue, the paternalistic dictates of the government-supported melanoma learn institution.

Expanding expectancies of a treatment from a convinced clinical occupation; the increase of a government-supported melanoma institution coping with a wide learn empire; the emergence of a "cancer counterculture"; a brand new emphasis on prevention via keep watch over of our surroundings and the self; and the non-public fears and pessimism of thousands of usa citizens shape a telling background of yankee social styles. even if the difficulty is smoking, toxins, or common checkups, attitudes towards melanoma replicate extra basic perspectives on medication, public coverage, and affliction, in addition to on loss of life and death. This century has witnessed either a biomedical revolution and a greatly elevated function of the country within the deepest lives of voters; yet now not everybody has got the clinical package deal, and lots of have little religion in executive intervention.

Readers attracted to the cultural dimensions of technological know-how and drugs in addition to historians, sociologists, and political scientists might be enlightened and challenged via The Dread Disease.

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