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Cancer: The Evolutionary Legacy

BMJ 2000; 321 doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/bmj.321.7256.305/a (Published 29 July 2000) Cite this as: BMJ 2000;321:305
  1. Muiris Houston, general practitioner
  1. Ashbourne, County Meath, Republic of Ireland

    Mel Greaves


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    Oxford University Press, £19.99, pp 272

    ISBN 0 19 262835 6

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    Have you ever wondered about the lottery of cancer? I do not mean the much discussed variation in availability of treatment, but rather the random way in which carcinoma picks its casualties. While some of my patients have had an explanatory history of excessive smoking or an occupational exposure to a noxious substance, many of those struck down by this modern scourge seem to have been “chosen” indiscriminately.

    As a disciple of Darwinian medicine, Greaves's day job as professor of cell …

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