Cancer exists in nearly every animal and has afflicted humans as long as our species has walked the earth. In Rebel Cell: Cancer, Evolution, and the New Science of Life's Oldest Betrayal
(Benbella Books, 2020), Kat Arney reveals the secrets of our most formidable medical enemy, most notably the fact that it isn't so much a foreign invader as a double agent: cancer is hardwired into the fundamental processes of life. New evidence shows that this disease is the result of the same evolutionary changes that allowed us to thrive. Evolution helped us outsmart our environment, and it helps cancer outsmart its environment as well—alas, that environment is us.
Rebel Cell is a story about life and death, hope and hubris, nature and nurture. It's about a new way of thinking about what this disease really is and the role it plays in human life. Above all, it's a story about where cancer came from, where it's going, and how we can stop it.
Matthew Jordan is a professor at McMaster University, where he teaches courses on AI and the history of science. You can follow him on Twitter @mattyj612 or his website matthewleejordan.com.