GM food preferable to chemical ones: Indian American oncologistJanuary 25th, 2011 - 4:16 pm ICT by IANS
New Delhi, Jan 25 (IANS) There are many kinds of “organic” food flooding the market, but they are actually produced using chemicals, says Indian American oncologist Siddhartha Mukherjee, author of a much-talked about book on cancer, adding he would prefer GM food instead.”I tend to think that genetically-modified food is safer than chemically-modified food. I know it is controversial but GM food is a step ahead of chemically-modified food,” Mukherjee, the author of ‘The Emperor of All Maladies: A Biography of Cancer’, said during a talk in the national capital Monday.
Several studies from different parts of world suggest that GM food may expose people to greater risk of cancer and have been termed a potential health hazard.
“There are so many food items listed as ‘organic’ in the market, but when you read the fine print you know it is not organic at all and all kinds of chemicals have been used. However, we have a large number of people to feed and so we cannot go organic all over. Till we live in this imperfect world, I would rather have GM food than chemically modified ones,” he said.
Mukherjee’s book which attempts to trace the history of cancer through several stories related to the disease, its diagnosis, and research and discovery of various therapies, was nominated for the reputed National Book Critics Circle Award in the non-fiction category Monday.
Mukherjee, an oncologist and cancer researcher, was born and brought up in Delhi. His one of its kind book has also been shortlisted among the top 10 non fiction books by Time magazine.
“Cancer was there long before the name was coined. Hippocrates first named it ‘Karkinos’, the Greek name for crab as he imagined the malignant tumour to resemble a crab with the blood veins going out like crab’s legs, this is where it got associated with the astrological sign Cancer and came to be known by the name,” Mukherjee said tracing the history of the diseases.
Asked about the inspiration for writing the book, Mukherjee recalled a patient undergoing chemotherapy asking him what she was fighting.
“She had been undergoing chemotherapy for six and a half years, and said that she was willing to go on but wanted to know what was happening. There I felt the need for letting people know what was the history of the diseases, what they were actually fighting,” he said.
He, however, prefers calling the book a ‘biography’ rather than history of the disease as according to the author, it is more about his experience and research about the disease.
“It is impossible to trace the history of cancer, it started much before the disease was known about. It is rather a biography as it is based on research and experience,” he said.
He added that his voluminous book was reduced to a third of what it was in his manuscript to suit the readers’ demands.
“My publishers said no one reads more than 500 pages, so I bargained and got it increased to 600 pages, and made the pages thinner so that it looks lesser,” he quipped.
About 10 million people are diagnosed with cancer every year worldwide, and tobacco use contributes to 25-30 percent of cancer deaths. In India, around one million people are diagnosed with cancer every year.
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- Cancer typifies unmoored instability: Pulitzer winner - Apr 19, 2011
- How to slay 'the emperor'? Ask Indian American cancer specialist - Dec 12, 2010
- Indian American doctor eyes stem cell bomb against cancer - Nov 10, 2010
- Wake-up call on breast cancer in India (Feature) - Oct 28, 2010
- India witnessing rise in pancreatic cancer, say doctors - Oct 06, 2011
- Parliamentary panel seeks probe into Bt Brinjal (Second Lead) - Aug 09, 2012
- New strategy to fight cancer drug resistance discovered - Jun 21, 2010
- Mukherjee 'delighted' his book among top 100 best non-fiction - Aug 31, 2011
- Awareness key to beating breast cancer, say experts (Feb 4 is World Cancer Day) - Feb 03, 2012
- Study shows that a new experimental cancer drug delays breast tumor growth - Jun 05, 2012
- Can GM mosquitoes wipe out dengue? - Oct 24, 2010
- British 'smart bomb' to target cancer - Jun 30, 2012
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