The Incredible Hope Offered by Cancer Research:

“Be like the bird that, passing on her flight awhile on boughs too slight, feels them give way beneath her, and yet sings, knowing that she hath wings.”         —  Victor Hugo

“Hope is the physician of each misery.”         —  Irish Proverb

I had the privilege last evening of attending a brief talk by an Interventional Radiologist at the Medical College of Wisconsin.  I was struck by something he said which to me shows the incredible strides that are being made in cancer research.  What he said reveals that there is no reason for a cancer patient to lose hope, hope being the fuel which drives so many of us who fight this disease.

This skilled physician completed a Fellowship in Vascular and Interventional Radiology in 1996 at Northwestern University.  What strikes me as amazing is that, of the procedures he now undertakes on a regular basis, which number around 10, not one was the standard of care in 1996 when he completed his Fellowship.  Many of these newly established procedures are directed at targeting cancerous cells in the liver, including chemoembolization (the application of chemotherapy through a catheter) of liver tumors and readioembolization (the application of radiation through a catheter) of such tumors.

In other words, during his Fellowship at a prestigious institution, this doctor was not trained on any of these procedures – for the simple reason that they did not then exist.   They now do exist.   At least to me, this shows the striking success of cancer related research because it confirms that new procedures are invented and approved regularly.  That research in turn causes patients to have that hope that, as the above quoted Irish Proverb says, “is the physician of each misery.”

“Hope is the word which God has written on the brow of every man.”        —  Victor Hugo


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