a son's journey into the history and science of cancer.

(Profile Books / Grove Atlantic )

Nominated for the Royal Society Book Award


An exciting, encouraging and positive story of science's progress in changing cancer from what we die from to what we live with.

Part memoir, part science, this book is the story of the author's father and ultimately the death of an old man, interweaved with the history of the discovery of cancer, its treatment and - increasingly now - its prevention.

It is the story of heroic science from the 18th century, when the disease was first recognised, to the huge research projects around the world that have enormously extended the life expectancy of people with cancer. The mere use of the "c" word is enough to terrify people - but as the book will show, that is about to change, as genetics and effective treatments become better and better understood. As the author emphasises, this is a positive book, and the narrative is full of hope.

Uniquely comprehensive, One in Three's long view allows the reader to understand the science that has surrounded cancer as it has developed; it gives the reader insights into its biology and its treatment. One-third of us will contract cancer, and One in Three is a personal and authoritative book which will help everyone to understand it without blind terror.


...few who have read it would write off One In Three, Adam Wishart's fascinating if avowedly non-expert account of the quest for a cure for cancer - woven around the story of his father's struggle against the disease that will afflict one in three of us. (The Telegraph)

Perhaps the most readable and comprehensive account out there of our battle with the big C. (New Scientist)

Both moving and informative (Guardian)

One in Three is a different type of cancer book. It is calm, factual, beautifully written, intelligent and moving. ... this book brings understanding, and most of all it also brings some hope (Literary Review)

a touching and deeply personal farewell. ... Wishart succeeds brilliantly in constructing a narrative that is a tribute both to his father and the scientists who have partly unpacked the mystery of cancer (Sunday Telegraph)

An imaginative fusion of anecdotal detail, medical science and poignant, elegiac narrative marks every chapter of this unusual book... What emerges is a unique profile of a father-son relationship, poignantly affectionate yet utterly devoid of sentimentality. (John Cornwell Sunday Times)

This book is a remarkable meld of medical history, scientific fact, and the human experience of cancer, once - and to an extent still - the most feared of diseases. Adam Wishart follows his father's experience of cancer, as well as his own as a son, in the most enthralling manner possible. I couldn't commend it more highly. (Claire Rayner)