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October 2, 1991

Life in the Shadow: Living With Cancer

Author Affiliations

Northwestern Memorial Hospital Chicago, Ill

Northwestern Memorial Hospital Chicago, Ill

JAMA. 1991;266(13):1858. doi:10.1001/jama.1991.03470130140052

This article is only available in the PDF format. Download the PDF to view the article, as well as its associated figures and tables.


This is a story of a personal war and its multiple battles. The author's six bouts with Hodgkin's disease end with his holding a tenuous victory. Now, to the reader, this is not giving away the ending; you just know that this warrior is going to win.

There is a real chronicle of therapy here. The author can legitimately query whether he is the most-treated Hodgkin's patient there is. Seemingly, every therapy works, yet nothing succeeds. The intermittent victories and defeats

"... every therapy works, yet nothing succeeds." are woven in with the history of Hodgkin's disease and engaging anecdotes about famous victims and survivors. There is a clublike sense to much of this. The famous baseball player (Mickey Mantle) doesn't want to be a member, the famous Olympian (Jeff Blatnick) does, the famous television producer (Brandon Tartikoff) accepts "membership" only half the time but goes on to affect the cancer