, Volume 28, Issue 3, pp 393–395 | Cite as

Towards a philosophy of oncology

Anya Plutynski: Explaining cancer: finding order in disorder. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2018, 280pp, £47.99 HB
  • Olaf DammannEmail author
Book Review

Anya Plutynski’s Explaining Cancer tells a fascinating story of cancer research. Her book provides a highly interesting and unique perspective because she is a philosopher and cancer survivor. She invites the reader to look at cancer through the philosophical lens, introducing philosophical tools, concepts, and broader debates in philosophy by using cancer as the subject of “case studies of scientific practice” (back flap). Her book both explains cancer, and is about explaining it.

The book has a concise introduction, six main chapters, a brief conclusion, and an appendix that summarizes the biological process of cancer initiation and progression. After having set the stage and outlining the book’s roadmap, Plutynski discloses that she was diagnosed with breast cancer some years ago and found herself asking all the questions an otherwise healthy woman would ask herself, starting with: why she got cancer?; and whether she had done something that may have caused it? The book tackles...


Copyright information

© Springer Nature B.V. 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Dept. of Public Health & Community Medicine, Tufts University School of MedicineBostonUSA

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