Demystifying Cancer Biology is a mini-textbook with a difference – written in clear, easy-to-understand language, this eBook will break down the barriers to understanding the complex world of the cellular and molecular biology of cancer.
Cancer biology is a highly specialized subject area that is rife with jargon and acronyms, and it requires a strong foundation in understanding the processes underlying cell growth, division, survival and movement. Demystifying Cancer Biology will help the reader build this foundational knowledge through the use of everyday analogies and metaphors.
As a lecturer, I structure my cancer biology teaching around Hanahan and Weinberg's classic review article describing the six fundamental hallmarks of cancer (Hanahan and Weinberg, 2000) because it gives students a broad understanding of the science of how cancer cells successfully colonize the host. However, I often found that students struggled to understand it because of the introduction of new terminology and the heavy use of jargon.
Ever the scientist, I decided to experiment with re-writing elements of this review article as blog posts, illustrating the hallmarks of cancer using everyday analogies and metaphors to help break down their barriers to understanding. By drawing comparisons between the characteristics of cancer cells with concepts students would be familiar with, such as likening the growth of cancer cells with the process of making pizza, students were able to grasp the basic concept in advance of the lecture and more readily keep up during the lectures.
The feedback I received from my students was fantastic and so I have extended this series of blog posts and brought them together into an edited eBook, available for free to anyone with an interest in learning more about the biology of cancer.
As a writer, I am passionate about communicating science clearly. As a researcher, I love to inspire and engage my students in learning more about what cancer is and how we can find ways to prevent its spread – the major cause of cancer-related deaths. As an educator, I believe in providing a variety of learning tools to make learning accessible to all. So, I have decided to record an audio version of this mini-textbook, which readers can access by following the link inside the book.
From students in the biological sciences through to cancer healthcare professionals, Demystifying Cancer Biology is an ideal beginner's guide that will break down the barriers to understanding the complexities surrounding cancer biology and the science behind its 'success'.