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Meet our Authors: Michael Baum

“One of Britain’s most distinguished surgeons; a lifetime of experience and empathy makes him the ideal guide and advisor.”

- Marcelle Bernstein

Professor Michael Baum is an internationally acclaimed surgeon who has held Chairs of Surgery at such prestigious institutions as Kings College London, the Institute of Cancer Research, UK, and University College London. His numerous innovations and achievements in advancing the treatment of breast cancer across half a century have earned him the Skinner Medal (awarded by the Royal College of Radiologists), the Gold Medal (of the International College of Surgeons) and the Ernest Miles Medal (from the Royal College of Surgeons).

Throughout his illustrious career, he has written and edited seven books and over 500 papers on cancer, the philosophy of science and the medical humanities. He has also written two novels, and, since retiring, has retrained as a painter, working from a studio in his attic.

His most recent publication is The History and Mystery of Breast Cancer, which was released by Cambridge Scholars in August 2019. Provoked by two instances of breast cancer in his family—one tragic and one positive—the book is a fascinating story that touches on the history of medicine, the philosophy of science, and the introduction of the humanities into medical education. He uses his vast experience to answer many of the most pressing questions about the disease. It is “intensely personal yet contains sophisticated science”, notes Dr Margaret Spittle OBE: “the book deserves a wide audience.”

Professor Baum was a recent guest on the Liz Earle Wellbeing podcast, where he spoke about the book and breast cancer more generally. You can listen to the podcast by following this link.


Below, he describes his experience of working with Cambridge Scholars:

“I have published many books over the years, linked to my academic interests, as should not be surprising for a Professor at University College London. Not all of these were easy or happy journeys. In contrast, my experience with Cambridge Scholars has been like a walk in the park. My new book, The History and Mystery of Breast Cancer is, in my own words, a difficult book to categorise. It’s an attempt to introduce a difficult subject for the education of both medical students and the lay public. It is not meant as a self-help handbook, there are too many of these, but as a way of introducing the concepts of medical humanities and the arts in order to appreciate the tragic history of breast cancer, [and] to explain the complexity of the challenge. Furthermore, much of it is semi-biographical. By chance, no sooner had I finished the task [than] one of the editors of Cambridge Scholars approached me with an opening for the publication of a controversial book. Thereafter, the process proceeded like a well-oiled machine. The team agreed that this was an important book and I was allocated editorial staff and a skilled design team. We all worked well together and the final product was available within 6 months. It is an object of beauty that makes me proud.”


As part of the Meet our Authors campaign, we are offering our readers a 50% discount on The History and Mystery of Breast Cancer. To redeem your discount, please enter the promotional code MOAOCT19 during checkout. Please note that this is a time-limited offer that will expire on 15th November 2019.


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