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The Price of Experience: Ripping through individualistic approaches to cancer care

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Issue 2402
The Price of Experience: Writings on Living with Cancer by Mike Marqusee

The Price of Experience: Writings on Living with Cancer by Mike Marqusee


Cancer is met with much fighting talk these days. But charity ads that tell us we can make the disease “scared” won’t impress socialist Mike Marqusee.

This short book explains how individualistic approaches to cancer care draw on neoliberal ideology. Mike rips apart the simplistic nonsense that life threatening conditions can be beaten by bravery.

He points out that his current remission is not just his own work. It results from the combination of a patient with dozens, if not hundreds, of scientists, health workers and care-givers.

For me, the most interesting passages explore contradictions within the demand to “live for the moment”—a particularly important concept for those with chronic disease.

Mike says that the phrase is only useful if “moment” is redefined not in time but as a mental space to which we can escape from capitalism’s relentless drive to appropriate.

The space Mike has found for himself is in the struggle to defend and extend the NHS—a fitting conclusion to a thoughtful collection.

The Price of Experience: Writings on Living with Cancer
by Mike Marqusee, OR Books, £8

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