Saturday 6 December 2014

Yen Uruvaagirathu Putrunoi? (Tamil Book on Cancer) by Padmahari: Book Review

None in my family had cancer before. So I am safe.

I am too young to even know about cancer. Cancer usually affects people of ages above 50.

I don’t smoke or drink. I live in a hygienic environment. I don’t see any reason to develop cancer.

Beware! Several people who lived with such hopes have succumbed their lives to this deadly disease sooner or later.

Cancer is just. It doesn’t judge you based on your age, habits or genes. It just loves you if it likes you! The only help we can do to ourselves is be aware of it. Early diagnosis has helped many cancer patients get rid themselves off of cancer. And sometimes, prevention is possible too. But as said before, awareness is the key! Cancer has become a popular disease today, so it gives a familiar feeling in general. But trust me, even an averagely aware person will find it hard to explain what exactly cancer is or point out its symptoms.

That’s what the author of this book, also my good friend, batch mate and the sole inspiration behind Pages from Serendipity – Padmahari – has envisaged for his book. Yen Uruvaagirathu Putrunoi? educates enough about cancer in Tamil that a common man should know. The book covers wide areas on cancer. The author being a cancer researcher provides scientific evidences to clarify most common questions and misconceptions about the disease.

The last I studied biology last was in my 10th class. How will I comprehend a book on cancer?

The author knows that. That not everyone in this world could be biology geniuses. The book is written in simple language. The depth on the subject is just good enough for the general public. So, it’s ok, you need not have heard anything about cancer before.

None I know has ever had cancer. Of what use will this book to me?

One fine day, my father suffered a heart attack with 100% blockage. Will you believe that he walked himself up a few kilometers to get admitted in the hospital? The doctors were surprised too. He later said that he had read somewhere before that taking long deep breaths helps at the time of the attack. And that’s what he did throughout the way to the hospital. One may never know what future holds within. If not for you, your knowledge and awareness might be of help to somebody someday. And it shall prevent you from ransacking google at some need-of-the-hour time.

What’s in the book?

The book includes several chapters. Listed below is a compilation of the major takeaways:

Basics of cancer: The first few chapters answer a few important questions. What is cancer? What causes cancer? What are the symptoms and diagnostic techniques? At the end of these chapters, you would definitely be able to explain what exactly cancer is.

Organs affected by cancer: 18 cancer kinds are described in detail. Brain tumor, mouth cancer, stomach cancer, liver cancer, lung cancer, breast cancer, prostate cancer, cervical cancer and bone cancer are a few among them. For each cancer kind, the types, causes, symptoms, diagnosis and treatment methods are explained in detail along with relevant images of the organs.

Cancer treatment: General therapy methods; their advantages and disadvantages are discussed elaborately. Also, a glimpse of other recent procedures like laser, vaccination, gene therapy and nanotechnology is provided.

Foods and lifestyle habits related to cancer: I found this interesting and useful as well. Will you believe cancer is related to the usage of cell phones, television, microwave oven, deodorants, mental depression, hair dyes, vasectomy, breast milk, coconut water, red wine, garlic and vitamin A? The author keeps in front several scientific findings on such researches. Also, unknown truths about the relation between cancer and many of the food ingredients in our everyday diet is discussed.

Celebrities and cancer: Did you know Nelson Mandella was diagnosed for prostate cancer at the age of 83? And that he is one of the many brave hearts who fought cancer. Note that he lived up till last year, that is for another 12 years after the onset of cancer. Inspiring stories of other celebrities too take their places in the book.

FAQs and other useful information: Is cancer contagious? Can a cancer patient marry or have sex? Can cancer lead to impotency? What details should one ask a doctor if diagnosed for cancer?

And many such questions find answers here. Useful organizations, websites, statistics and so much else are covered.

For instance, did you know that in India,

A cancer patient and one of the attendants can avail 75% discount of the train fares and 50% discount of the flight fares covering travels from their native places to the place of treatment?

Author’s Message to the Readers

What’s been said time and again through all means and modes, is what our author reinforces too – Lots of fruits and vegetables in the diet, half an hour exercise a day, strong will along with awareness – is all that’s needed to keep away from cancer!

I can’t read Tamil. What do I do?

The least you can do is gift this book to someone you know who can read Tamil :) Personally, I would suggest to write to the author directly, requesting for a translation.


Yen Uruvaagirathu Putrunoi?

is the real vaccination against cancer for all of us!

This review was originally posted in my personal blog Pages From Serendipity on June 1, 2014

Title: Yen Uruvaagirathu Putrunoi?
Author:  Padmahari
Publisher: Blackhole Media Publication Limited
Pages: 224

Author Connect

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About the Author

Padmahari is presently a postdoctoral researcher at MUSC College of Dental Medicine, South Carolina. His current research work is on Oral cancer and Oral cancer stem cells. He holds a PhD in Stem Cell Biology from Hiroshima University, Japan and a Master’s degree in Biotechnology from Bharathidasan University. Noteworthy is his PhD paper which won the award “Best paper of the Journal, 2011″ (Hiroshima Journal of Medical Sciences). He is also a gold medalist and university first rank holder for his Master’s degree.

Padmahari hails from Meliruppu village of Cuddalore district in Tamilnadu. He is enthusiastic about bringing scientific and medical research findings done across the world, to the easy understanding of the commoners in Tamil language. He began this endeavour through his blog, Melirupaan which is now a collection of more than 300 scientific researches in simple Tamil. The content and popularity of his blog led way to a part-time career in writing for a Tamil weekly column in Illaignar Malar of the popular magazine, Dinathanthi. He has successfully completed 112 weeks of the science column “Ariviyal Aachariyangal” in Ilaignar Malar comprising of 220 science articles today and continues his writing for Dinathanthi. He has also written the Science scan part of the Tamil Malayala Manorama Year Book 2014.

His d├ębut book, Paaliyal – Inraiya Aivugal Kooruvathu Enna? (Tamil) became the most popular among the books from the publishers. It gives a glimpse of the recent research findings on sex, without being provocative.

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