David Agus is a professor of medicine and engineering at the USC Keck School of Medicine and heads USC’s Westside Cancer Center and the Center for Applied Molecular Medicine. He discusses his book The End of Illness (Free Press).
About the book…
Can we live robustly until our last breath? Do we have to suffer from debilitating conditions and sickness? Is it possible to add more vibrant years to our lives? In The End of Illness, David B. Agus, MD, one of the world’s leading cancer doctors, researchers, and technology innovators, tackles these fundamental questions, challenging long-held wisdoms and dismantling misperceptions about what “health” means. With a blend of storytelling, landmark research, and provocative ideas on health, Dr. Agus presents an eye-opening picture of the human body and all of the ways it works—and fails—showing us how a new perspective on our individual health will allow each of us to achieve that often elusive but now reachable goal of a long, vigorous life.
When Dr. Agus decided to pursue a career in oncology, many of his mentors questioned his choice. Why, they asked, would a promising young doctor want to enter a field known for its inescapably grim outcomes? But it was precisely the lack of progress that inspired Dr. Agus to join the war on cancer. He moved away from the modern methods of the medical establishment, which aim to reduce our afflictions to a single point. Instead, as he does in this book, Dr. Agus argues for the adoption of a systemic view—a way of honoring our bodies as complex, whole systems. This outlook informs how we can avoid all illnesses—not just cancer. Dr. Agus empowers us to take charge of our individual health in personal, customized ways we could not have imagined before.
This indispensable book is not only a manifesto—a call for revising the way we think about health—it’s also filled with practical but impossible-to-ignore suggestions, including:
- How taking multivitamins and supplements could significantly increase our risk for cancer over time.
- Why sitting down most of the day, despite a strenuous morning workout, can be as bad as or worse than smoking.
- How sneaky sources of daily inflammation—from high heels to the common cold—can lead to a fatal heart attack, and even rob us of our sanity.
- How three inexpensive medications—aspirin, statins, and an annual flu vaccine—can substantially change the course of our health for the better.
- How taking shortcuts to health via blending fruits and vegetables, and sometimes even by purchasing what we think is “fresh,” could be shortchanging our health.
- The single most important thing we can do today to preserve our health and happiness that costs absolutely nothing.
Dr. Agus also offers insights and access to breathtaking and powerful new technologies that promise to transform medicine in our generation. In the course of offering recommendations, he emphasizes his belief that there is no “right” answer, no master guide that is “one size fits all.” Each one of us must get to know our bodies in uniquely personal ways, and he shows us exactly how to do that so that we can individually create a plan for wellness.
The End of Illness is a bold call for all of us to become our own personal health advocates, and a dramatic departure from orthodox thinking. This is a seminal work that promises to revolutionize how we live.