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Book and Media Reviews
August 10, 2011

Cancer Mortality and Morbidity Patterns in the U.S. Population: An Interdisciplinary Approach

Author Affiliations

Author Affiliation: The University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center, Houston (mbondy@mdanderson.org).

JAMA. 2011;306(6):657. doi:10.1001/jama.2011.1130

This book, written by a group of authors from various disciplines, is an example of and a call for interdisciplinary research and innovation in biomedical studies. It goes far beyond a discussion of statistics in relation to biology and health, and it also covers far more than just US patterns, although these topics are at its core.

Much of the book reads like a novel, especially the opening chapters on the history and prehistory of human cancer and the evolution and description of cancer models—all covered in a manner richer and more flexible than is typical in epidemiologic textbooks. The book uses new models and unique human population data, and it relates or couples mechanisms at the cellular and population levels over time and age. Accordingly, it is the first book of its kind to describe interdisciplinary approaches to biomedical studies. It views analyses of biomedical data sets, such as cancer morbidity and mortality, from a different and richer perspective than classic epidemiologic overviews that use mathematical modeling methods, including methods providing insights into probable mechanisms of human carcinogenesis.

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