Handbook seeks to explain how to tackle cancer

04:02 PM Nov 07, 2021 | PTI |

New Delhi: A new book aims to act as a useful handbook of information that explains enough concepts and terms related to cancer for readers to begin developing an understanding of the subject.


”Life after Cancer: An Essential Guide for Patients and Caregivers” by Dr. Mrinal Kaushik and Aditya Wig is billed as a first-of-its-kind accessible manual for every possible question one can have about cancer treatments and care in India.

Cancer is a vast, complicated topic, and involves an even vaster body of complicated research. The medical literature, like all specialized information, makes use of a great deal of jargon.

Terms like ‘sarcoma’, ‘adenoma’, ‘myelosuppression’ and ‘metastasized’ make it easier for doctors to refer to complex concepts while speaking to each other, but for those without degrees in medicine, such terminology is often unintelligible.

This book attempts to present some of that medical information in a language that is easier for the layperson to understand.


Over the years, India has seen a burgeoning number of cancer cases, so much so that it has morphed into an urban lifestyle disease. However, it remains a disease only partially understood, with families and patients often scrambling to find the right sources of information in the country.

In this guide, senior pharmacologist Dr. Kaushik and Wig, a content development consultant at the World Bank, attempt to clear common misconceptions about the disease and deconstruct cancer within the Indian context.

The book lists out the most harmful carcinogens that affect us and how they take a toll on our bodies while also containing a list of treatment options with their pros and cons.

It also deals with the softer psychological aspects of managing the disease – for instance, the toll chemotherapy takes on families and how caregivers can manage their patients’ as well as their mental health during this tough time.

Both the authors come from families that have been affected by cancer.

Dr. Kaushik worked with Dr. Ram Manohar Lohia Hospital in New Delhi and spent decades studying this subject and sharing his knowledge with those affected by cancer. He passed away a few years ago.

The book, published by Bloomsbury India, is drawn mostly from the copious notes he had assembled, with many sections written in his own words.

The book is divided into three sections. The first offers a brief introduction to cancer and introduces some of the concepts needed to understand this condition – the cell, the cell cycle, what DNA and RNA are, what mutations are, what a carcinogen is, and so on.

The second section describes some of the many known carcinogens in everyday modern life, and the cancers they are associated with. The third gives a brief overview of treatment, with a strong focus on chemotherapy.


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