My mom smoked from the age of 12 until her mid-40s and developed terminal lung cancer. She was like a lot of women in the early 1970s who started smoking around WWII and suffered the consequences.
In the most recent ‘Mad Men’ episode one of the major female characters, Betty Draper, was diagnosed but her doctor wouldn’t tell her until her husband came to the office. It wasn’t unusual treatment. Doctors routinely wouldn’t tell women or cancer patients but would tell their husbands or family. Treatments options were limited and often nothing at all was done if the patient wasn’t experiencing much in the way of symptoms. Life expectancy was poor and many, like my mom, only received palliative care towards the end of their lives.
It should probably come as a surprise to no one, but the number of cancer cases among 9/11 first responders and rescue workers is growing. Yes, it may not be statistically significant yet, but given that the WTC was built in the early 1970s and was full of materials known to be carcinogenic, this trend seems likely to continue.
Luckily, the government set up the World Trade Center Health Program to help these folks and they will continue to monitor and treat those affected. It’s the least we can, really.
I am proud to be a member of the Metafilter community weblog and not afraid to say so. Its Ask Metafilter subsite is a wonderful place where even the most difficult questions are asked and answered. For instance: How does someone with stage 4 cancer find The One?
I don’t often link to Metafilter posts, I generally link only to the sites they reference but My breast has fallen off. Can you reattach it? is something you need to read in its entirety. The article it links to and some of the comments are difficult to read, you have been warned.
This is the United States of America, not some third world hellhole, yet for many Americans it’s nowhere near the “greatest country on Earth”. We can do better for those Americans but what is it going to take for that to happen?
Most Americans don’t realize it yet, but they’re in a fight for their very lives with the government, banks and health care companies. And, as the death of the woman who inspired ‘Norma Rae’ shows, we’re not winning.
There have been plenty of rumors about this over the last decade but now a study confirms that FDNY firefighters who responded to 9/11 are at increased risk for cancer. Cancer can sometimes take 10-15 years to appear so this might just be the beginning.
Neurologist Oliver Sacks is famous for books like Awakenings and The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat that describe his patients dealing with various neural disorders and injuries. But his latest, The Mind’s Eye, takes a slightly different path because one of the subjects is Sacks himself, dealing with cancer of the eye.
Film critic Roger Ebert, who has been battling cancer for a number of years, can no longer eat or drink. Despite what you might think this is not a sad story. Read it and see.