At one point, the working title was "The Cancer Cowboys." This reflected how much opposition Drs. James Holland, Donald Pinkel, Lucius Sinks received from their peers, especially in the mid-1960s. I was surprised by how ostracized they were by their peers. Yet as the sections about family memoir grew in revision, we decided that the title needed to reflect that.
During my brother's eight-year battle against leukemia, my family became pretty accomplished sailors. We regularly journeyed from the south side of Lake Ontario to Canada and Toronto on the north shore. It was about 40 miles of open water and we did it aboard a number of sailboats, varying in length from 24 feet to 29 feet.
These crossings became a major narrative thread in the book, along with my search for my brother's doctors. The title shift also reflects the major leaps in approach and understanding the doctors and the nurses were required to do.
Recently there has been talk of a new emphasis in cure rates, the call for a cancer 'moonshot." That said what the doctors at Roswell Park, NIH and St. Jude accomplished nearly a half-century ago remains the pinnacle of success in this field of medicine.