Book Review: The End of Illness
The picture truly surprised you. You must’ve been 15 when it was taken, maybe a little older. You were smiling at something (you can’t remember what), the sun was shining on your face and you looked like you were having fun.
But what struck you was how healthy you looked. You weren’t exhausted, not aching somewhere, not fretting about a doctor’s visit. Arthritis was not an issue. You were miles from cancer and heart disease.
Is it possible to feel like that again? To avoid major sickness? According to David B. Agus, MD, it is. In his new book, The End of Illness (c.2012, Free Press), he explains.
Imagine a war that lasts 40 years.
That’s what we’ve had since President Nixon declared the War on Cancer in 1971, and the battle still rages. In the years 1950-2007, says Agus, the cancer death rate didn’t change much. It’s been around for thousands of years, there are “millions of kinds of cancers,” and we may never be able to cure it.
The key, though, is to remember that cancer is preventable – as are many diseases.
The first, most important thing to do to achieve the end of illness is to “get to know yourself,” says Agus, and to “be your own doctor first.” Health-wise, what’s different for you this year? What are your specific concerns?
Next, consider getting a DNA test to determine your genetic risk factors, so you can actively avoid problems. Keep up on the latest research but understand that the internet isn’t always the smartest place to find it.
Stick to a schedule. Buy comfortable shoes and don’t play football. Check into getting a proteomic analysis and get your medications tailored.
And if all else fails, do nothing but watch. Your body may be healing itself.
It struck me, as I was reading The End of Illness, that this book might have been shelved in the science fiction section a few years ago. What author David B. Agus presents here is as cutting-edge as it gets, even though he admits that there are still many unknowns and some things we may never have answers to.
But that’s what makes this book so intriguing: what we do know has come to the point of near-science fiction. Agus makes the argument for individual medicine from individual mapping, done through technology that looks at the “list of ingredients” that forms each of us. One-size-fits-all care is no longer effective and personalized medicine starts at home with things you can do today.
Unfortunately, what Agus leaves out is possible cost. Will healthy living will come at a healthy price? I couldn’t help but wonder…
Still, this is a book that will make you think. You’ll want to annotate it, flag parts of it, and take it to your doctor’s office on the next visit. Then, with The End of Illness, you could be the picture of health.