What we're reading ... February 12, 2010

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Each week the staff of CURE shares some of what they've been reading the past week with our readers. Please let us know what you think and what you've been reading, too!Cancer Research

The New York Times book review on "The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks" by Rebecca Skloot caught my eye and made me want to buy the book. It tells the true story of Henrietta Lacks, a woman who died of cervical cancer in the 1950s and whose cells were taken without permission and eventually developed into drugs to treat numerous diseases, such as polio, leukemia, and the flu. Lacks left behind five children, and Skloot documents their story, which the reviewer describes as "the interplay of race, poverty, science and one of the most important medical discoveries of the last 100 years."

Lena Huang

Fitness & Nutrition Editor

Book Review

I just finished Glenn Rockowitz's book Rodeo in Joliet, his autobiographical romp through what should have been the last three months of his life. I didn't even care that he never told us what kind of cancer he had because his irreverence kept me gasping and laughing. Diagnosed at 28, two weeks before the birth of his son and one week before his dad is given an equally chilling diagnosis, Rockowitz grabs cancer by the udder. You have to read the book to see what I mean.

Kathy LaTour

Editor-at-Large & cancer survivor

Keeping Faith

"Suffering Well: Faith Tested by Pastor's Cancer" shares the story of Matt Chandler, a 35-year-old pastor with brain cancer. Clark, whose faith was shaken only once when he asked, "Why me?" uses his faith to get him and his family through a trying time--one that may not have a happy ending, in the traditional sense.

"Whatever happens, he says, is God's will, and God has his reasons. For Chandler, that does not mean waiting for his fate. It means fighting for his life."

He says he believes that, although his life is in God's hand, Chandler also has responsibilities--to use his brain, to take advantage of technology, to walk in faith and hope, and to pray for healing. It's only one look at how cancer survivors use faith and spirituality to get them through a life-threatening illness.

For more stories on how survivors' faith and spirituality, whether it comes from an organized religion or a belief that there is a higher power, helped them through cancer, look for CURE's upcoming article "Keeping the Faith," due out with the Spring issue next month.

Elizabeth Whittington

Managing editor,

No Smoking

A Seattle Times blog on philanthropies highlighted a huge grant to stem the number of lung cancer cases in Africa: Gates Foundation ramps up tobacco control efforts in Africa. According to the World Health Organization, tobacco will kill more than 8 million people in 20 years, with 80 percent in developing countries. However, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation is working to lower that percentage with a $7 million grant to the American Cancer Society and a $10 million grant to the World Health Organization--both aimed at lowering tobacco-related cancer in Africa.

Bunmi Ishola

Editorial assistant