Summer’s Complaint: My family’s courageous, century-long struggle with a rare genetic cancer syndrome

Written by Laura Kieger

“I thought there might be something wrong with your mother’s family.”

Those words, spoken by a grandmother to her eleven-year-old granddaughter, sparked a search for answers to a mystery
spanning five generations.

Familial adenomatous polyposis is a rare, genetic cancer predisposition syndrome caused by a deletion mutation in the APC gene on chromosome 5. By the age of fifty, nearly 99 percent of untreated patients will have developed cancer.

This is the dark shadow that has lingered over one Midwestern family since at least 1911, when Mary Regan Baker was seen at Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota for symptoms of a disorder that would become commonplace in her descendants.

Through deeply touching personal stories of love, heartbreak, and hope, Summer’s Complaint explores the meaning of family
and how tragic loss leads to the remaking of life in the face of a rare genetic mutation.

“This book is a wonderful blend of reflections and medicine. Well-written and deeply informed, Laura’s story will especially be of interest to curious readers in the healthcare space.” -Maren R

“Amazingly well-written and very interesting read! Bravo!” -Katie H

“Extremely well-written and very understandable. One of the best books I’ve read this year.” -Jane T

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