Book Review: Waging War on Cancer


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The book Waging War on Cancer is not a treatment description or protocol, which I anticipated, but instead the much more compelling account of Dr. Robert Pettit’s lifelong goal of finding a cure for cancer. Beginning as a young boy living on the banks of a river near the Atlantic Ocean, he studied marine life as any boy would, collecting and observing the wide variety of species. It was only later when he became aware of cancer as a disease, as a young man, that he recalled the seeming absence of tumors in the marine life.

His passion to find a cure through study of marine animals, and meanwhile to enjoy life, are well portrayed in the biography by Dr. Robert Byars. A simpler time before internet availability is evident as I read about how just being introduced by a friend–and his obvious intelligence and intellect–landed him one job after another, culminating in Pettit’s pride and joy, the Cancer Research Institute of Arizona State University. His sought after methods and ideas made him popular for many years in the medical research world.

University politics came into play more than once throughout Pettit’s life. He will be an inspiration to all who read of his fight–truly a war on cancer. This book will make you think about the medical research world and how it operates when conflicting personalities are involved.

More information about the author is available at



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