Cancer is a subject which is difficult to write about - to avoid either too much abstractness or too depressing reality. In One in Three: A son's journey into the history and science of cancer.
Adam Wishart skillfully interlaces the story of his father's illness with a look at the history of cancer and its treatments. Thus the history and science never gets too far from personal experiences, while at the same time the story of his father's cancer - which isn't glossed over in any way - doesn't become too depressing. The result is a book which really is difficult to put down.
The book starts with the early ideas about cancer, and goes on to explain how it became increasingly prevalent during the 20th century, examining the possible reasons for this - are pollutants to blame, or is it primarily to do with smoking? Wishart introduces the various treatments which have been discovered, starting with surgery, and going on to radiation therapy and chemotherapy as well as taking a look at alternative therapies. There is also a chapter on the problems with the USA's 'War on Cancer' in the 1970's. The later chapters look at discoveries concerning the genetic basis of cancer, and the treatments which it is hoped that these will lead to.