Hope and Suffering: Children, Cancer, and the Paradox of Experimental Medicine

  • ISBN 9780801888311

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Gretchen Krueger's poignant narrative explores how doctors, families, and the public interpreted the experience of childhood cancer from the 1930s through the 1970s. Pairing the transformation of childhood cancer from killer to curable disease with the personal experiences of young patients and their families, Krueger illuminates the twin realities of hope and suffering. In this social history, each decade follows a family whose experience touches on key themes: possible causes, means and timing of detection, the search for curative treatment, the merit of alternative treatments, the decisions to pursue or halt therapy, the side effects of treatment, death and dying-and cure. Recounting the complex and sometimes contentious interactions among the families of children with cancer, medical researchers, physicians, advocacy organizations, the media, and policy makers, Krueger reveals that personal odyssey and clinical challenge are the simultaneous realities of childhood cancer. This engaging study will be of interest to historians, medical practitioners and researchers, and people whose lives have been altered by cancer.
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