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A conversation about the history of cancer

Cancer is the second leading cause of death in the United States, and the latest figures show that an estimated 11.7 million Americans are currently battling some form of the disease.

Although the prevalence of cancer is widely known, it may surprise you to learn that the diagnosis and treatment of the disease stretches back more than 5,000 years. In the video above, Columbia University oncologist Siddhartha Mukherjee, MD, discusses how a void in patients and physicians' understanding of the origin and history of cancer motivated him to write a biography of the seemingly immortal illness.

His book, The Emperor of All Maladies, was released in November. On Friday, Mukherjee will speak locally at Kepler's Books in Menlo Park.

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