Antoine Gaber Illustration and Promotion of a Book about Inherited Colorectal Cancer

Colorectal Cancer Can Run in the Family, a book written by the field’s foremost specialists, provides a straightforward explanation of the disease, which has been one of the most tabooed types of cancer. The book aims at informing patients and their families about the risk factors associated with the disease (and genetically related risks) and advocates early detection in the near future.

The art cover of the book, created by Antoine Gaber, represents cherry trees blossoming in the springtime, with members of a family dancing, hand in hand, around one of the cherry trees. The roots of the trees, normally hidden under the earth, are depicted and symbolize how we absorb nourishment from our food.

Although only available in English for the moment, Colorectal Cancer Can Run in the Family will be translated into no fewer than eight languages.

About the Image on the book cover Colorectal Cancer Can Run in the Family

Colorectal cancer has generally been a challenging topic to discuss with patients and their relatives because of the different cultural barriers that exist around the world. The artist Antoine Gaber, also a cancer researcher, created this painting especially to assist the patients, and their Family members to be able to provide an ease of opening a discussion on the topic with the Medical Community and Healthcare providers. The current painting is a simple image that can relate the concept to better understand the disease, and this adapted to any culture, individual, and this at any age.

About Gaber’s Painting:

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The painting represents a spring scene of Cherry trees in bloom and a Family holding hands and dancing around the trunk of one of the tree. Under the green grass, one can see the roots of those same trees and have a different vision of what is happening underground which is normally not visible at the surface.

The upper part of the painting depicts 3 Cherry trees in full bloom 2 tall trees and one smaller one, thus symbolizing “The Family” on a beautiful spring day. Also around the trunk of the main tree, a Family, including grandmother, grandfather, mother, father, sister and brother, are dancing hand in hand around the tree representing the hereditary link. The trees all appear healthy on the outside with their blooms. The same phenomenon happens with people at risk of developing colorectal cancer. They believe themselves healthy on the outside without realizing that there may be an underlying hidden health issue on the inside.

The lower part of the painting represents a transversal section cut of the earth depicting the roots of the 3 Cherry trees as seen underground. The roots are the tools from which the trees will absorb all nutrients necessary to grow and mature. The roots are also a simple analogy and representation of the colon, which has the similar function in the human being. One can also observe on the right side of the lower part of the painting that some of the roots from the small tree and of the large tree are different (color, form, texture) from the normal surrounding roots, and that they are also tied to each other by a white lace. This analogy represents colorectal cancer as a hereditary disease linked to the Family members (father, mother grandfather or grandmother) (DNA helix). More importantly, it shows that despite being in good health such as the 3 trees in full bloom on the surface, there is still a risk of developing this disease that we cannot see as it is located underground. Again, this analogy is also similar to colorectal cancer as often it is not detected nor seen as it is hidden.

We hope that this painting will be a new tool for patients and Family members encouraging them to have better discussions with Healthcare providers and the Medical Community. Hopefully by providing a better understanding of the disease and risk factors, this will help to engage onto the road of early detection and prevention of colorectal cancer in the future.