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Who Survives Cancer?

Howard P. Greenwald


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Howard P. Greenwald takes an incisive look at how class, race, sex, psychological state, type of health care, and available treatments affect one’s chance of surviving cancer. Drawing on a ten-year survival study of cancer patients, he synthesizes medical, epidemiological, and psychosocial research in a uniquely interdisciplinary and eye-opening approach to the question of who survives cancer and why.
Scientists, health care professionals, philanthropists, government agencies, and the public all agree that significant resources must be allocated to fight this dreaded disease. But what is the most effective way to do it? Greenwald argues that our priorities have been misplaced and calls for a fundamental rethinking of the way the American medical establishment deals with cancer. He asserts that prevention and experimental therapy have only limited value, whereas the availability of conventional medical care has a greater influence on cancer survival. Class and race become strikingly significant in predicting who has access to health care and thus can obtain medical treatment in a timely, effective manner. Greenwald counters the popular notion that personality and psychological factors strongly affect survival, and he underscores the importance of early detection. His research shows that health maintenance organizations, while sometimes prone to delays, offer low-income patients a better chance of ultimate survival. Greenwald pleads for immediate attention to the inadequacies and inequalities in our health care delivery system that deter patients from seeking early medical care.
Instead of focusing on research and the hope for a breakthrough cure, Greenwald urges renewed emphasis on ensuring available health care to all Americans. In its challenge to the thrust of much biomedical research and its critique of contemporary American health care, as well as in its fresh and often counterintuitive look at cancer survival, Who Survives Cancer? is invaluable for policymakers, health care professionals, and anyone who has survived or been touched by cancer.
 This title is part of UC Press's Voices Revived program, which commemorates University of California Press’s mission to seek out and cultivate the brightest minds and give them voice, reach, and impact. Drawing on a backlist dating to 1893, Voices Revived makes high-quality, peer-reviewed scholarship accessible once again using print-on-demand technology. This title was originally published in 1992. 

University of California Press, 9780520302952, 304pp.

Publication Date: August 14, 2018

About the Author

Howard P. Greenwald is Professor in the School of Public Administration at the University of Southern California and the author of Social Problems in Cancer Control.