The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks Book Report

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The book that I read was the immortal life of Henrietta Lacks, about a black women who’s cells taken from a tumor in her cervix divides at a high rate. This is huge because Henrietta’s cells divided and didn’t die, unlike all of the other samples taken by the doctor. The author Rebecca Skloot is part of the story and becomes a friend of the remaining Lacks’, interviewing them about Henrietta. The main point of the book is the science behind the cells. Throughout the book, many discoveries happen such as the polio vaccine and testing is done because there is an unlimited amount of cells. The scientist that took the cells from Henrietta distributed them to the world and today they are still growing. The book shows triumph and failure, which is part of life.

The first of four views in the book is Henrietta’s life and family. Henrietta was a black woman born August 1, 1920 in Roanoke, Virginia. She had her first child when she was 14 with her cousin Day. She then has a baby girl and then married when she was 18 on April 10, 1941. It all started after Henrietta’s fifth child was born when Henrietta said that she felt a knot inside of her womb. Her friends said it was just her baby, but Henrietta knew it wasn’t. She decided to go to the hospital and had a biopsy taken of a lump the size of a nickel in her cervix. She ended up being right; finding out that she had cervical cancer. Back then radium was used to treat cancer so they put a radium tube in and sent her home. While all of this was going on, Henrietta took her mentally challenged daughter to a mental institute hoping she’ll have a better life with more care. Henrietta then started receiving spot radiation treatments to try to get rid of the cancer. Her skin started to char af...

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...hole cross animal-human got out to the public, it wasn’t accepted. There was a STRONG pubic negative response. Contamination became a bigger problem and more questions arose from this. George Gey was diagnosed with inoperable pancreatic cancer and died soon after. An article about Gey was published and this was the first attribute to Henrietta. Her real name finally came out! Many investigators and scientists tried to contact the family to learn more information. After a big debate, it was figured that John Hopkins had stolen Henrietta’s cells and owed the family millions of dollars. Many tests had been performed and the cell eventually kept “transforming” over the years. It still replicated thought. BBC made a documentary about Henrietta. Today there are still debates over cell testing and samples from people. HeLa continues to grow today and probably will forever.
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