Louisville, KY’s 1st Annual Walk for Doc- Supporting Esophageal Cancer Research

February 15, 2018

1st Annual Walk for Doc- Supporting Esophageal Cancer Research The Salgi Esophageal Cancer Research Foundation

The 1st Annual Walk for Doc- Supporting Esophageal Cancer Research will be held on Saturday, June 16, 2018, 11:30 AM EST at E.P. “Tom” Sawyer Park, 3000 Freys Hill Rd. Louisville, KY 40241.  The event aims to raise awareness, encourage early detection and to fund research for esophageal cancer.

Tickets are $20 in advance by Thursday, June 14, 2018, at 3:00 EST.

$25 day of the event. Cash and check are the only forms of payment accepted the day of the event.

Sign up today:

Bring your family, friends, co-workers and dogs, too! E.P. “Tom” Sawyer Park is pet friendly!

Children 12 and under are admitted FREE!*

Censusdata at en.wikipedia

About the event:

The 1st Annual Walk for Doc- Supporting Esophageal Cancer Research will benefit The Salgi Esophageal Cancer Research Foundation, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit charity working to raise awareness, encourage early detection and fund research of esophageal cancer…in hopes of a cure.™

The path at Tom Sawyer Park is approximately 3.5 miles and guests are encouraged to walk at their own pace.

Guests are asked to park in the big parking in between the play- ground and the indoor/outdoor pool.  The event starts at 11:30 AM.


Meryl Levine is the lead coordinator of this event and lost her father to esophageal cancer.

Photo via: Meryl Levine

“Esophageal Cancer is a preventable, treatable disease if caught early.  My dad was a physician, tasked with taking care of people’s feet.  He was strong, generous, and smart….a force to be reckoned with before cancer brought him and us to our knees.  I won’t go into how my brother had to clean the blood off the bathroom floor, as he lay in a hospital bed.  I won’t tell you how difficult it was to see my once proud father have trouble just getting out of bed.  I also won’t tell you how it wasn’t cancer that killed my dad…it was the treatment that, in the end, got him.  We need to find a better way of treating and battling cancer.  Chemo is toxic and kills not only cancer cells but healthy cells as well.  Through research, we may one day win this fight.  If I can help prevent one family from having to experience the pain and degradation my family went through, then my father’s fight to live was worthwhile.  And the fight that was his is now mine.  I gladly accept this challenge.”


In 2015, The Salgi Esophageal Cancer Research Foundation awarded esophageal cancer research funding for the very first time!  Since then over 20 requests have been made for esophageal cancer research funding.  With your support and generosity, the charity hopes to again fund research again. The Salgi Esophageal Cancer Research Foundation also raised national AND international awareness. Your continued support directly impacts and sustains this mission!

Ready to make an even bigger impact?

When you register for the event, you will be asked if you’d like to create your own fundraising page. This is a great way to help raise more awareness of esophageal cancer and funding for this life-saving mission.

Registration is NOT required to make a custom fundraising page. To learn more and get started, click here.


Can’t make it? Here are other ways to get involved:

If you are unable to attend the event, there are many other ways in which you can make a difference and support this mission!

  • Donate: Support a team or individual fundraiser, click here.
  • Fundraise: Create your own custom fundraising page, click here.
  • Give: Make a one-time or recurring donation, visit:
  • Sponsor: Learn about sponsorship opportunities for the event, click here.
  • In-Kind Donation: Fill out our in-kind donation form, click here.


Learn the facts about esophageal cancer

-Esophageal cancer has increased over 600% and is considered one of the fastest growing cancer in the US.

-Risk factors include:

  • Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD, acid reflux, chronic heartburn),
  • obesity,
  • poor nutrition,
  • tobacco use,
  • excessive alcohol use,
  • Barrett’s esophagus.

-As one of the deadliest cancers, esophageal cancer has an overall 5 year survival rate of only 18.8%.

-There are no routine or standard screenings to improve early detection of esophageal cancer.

-Symptoms often arise late, once the cancer is considered advanced or “distant” (spread to lymph nodes and other organs.)

-Stage IV esophageal cancer has a survival rate of only 4.6%.

-Despite these facts, esophageal cancer research is extremely underfunded.


Make a difference!


Join The Salgi Esophageal Cancer Research Foundation to help make a difference against esophageal cancer. Whether you walk, volunteer, sponsor or donate, your involvement will directly support this life-saving mission. Thank you!





The Salgi Esophageal Cancer Research Foundation is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization as recognized by the Internal Revenue Service. Mailing address: PO Box 1912, East Greenwich, RI, 02818.



Esophageal Cancer Survivor’s Daughter Shares Story of Hope

February 10, 2018

There is no question that those who are diagnosed with esophageal cancer face a long and arduous road ahead of them.   Often times, those who are diagnosed with esophageal cancer are given bleak outcomes.  A search online will portray terrifying odds.

While we have an obligation to post information and statistics concerning esophageal cancer incidence and survival rates on this website, we always strive to encourage those who are affected not to focus on the figures and rates and instead focus on treatment, receiving support from family and friends and taking each moment as it comes.

While the diagnosis may be similar, each person has his or her own individual journey.  Positivity and hope play a large role in treatment.

Know that there are men and women who have not only survived esophageal cancer but have lived for decades after their initial diagnosis.

Recently, we came across a story online of a daughter whose father was given the same bleak outcome that so many others have faced.  This man not only survived esophageal cancer, but is thriving.

We are honored to share this story and ask that you join us in wishing this survivor many, many, many more years of health, happiness and the ability to share his HOPE with others!


Sheri, in honor of her father, Bill:

“I vividly remember the day my father was diagnosed with this horrible disease. I was 8 months pregnant with my 2nd child. The doctor told him he should start making arrangements because, he would not be alive in a year. It was almost a year before we even heard of someone who had survived for more than 3 years. That was 21 years ago this coming April.
Today, my father placed 3rd in the Masters division at the Southern Erg Sprints indoor rowing championships. He was coxed by my son, who was born 4 ½ years after my dad’s diagnosis. For all of you out there who are feeling defeated by this disease, there is hope. People don’t just survive this disease they can thrive after it.”

Sheri went on to say that her “dad was not doing well until my mom found a 10 year survivor. That little bit of hope changed his outlook and made all the difference.”

We hope that this story inspires others who may be experiencing a similar situation.   Thank you, Sheri for allowing us to share your father’s story.   Please use the sharing links below to help us share this story of hope!



Do not copy or reproduce this story, whether in its entirety or any part of it or any story found on our website.



Fundraising Spotlight: In Memory of Richard “Pete” Smith

February 1, 2018

I am honored to be writing this blog post, to have fundraised for Salgi Esophageal Cancer Research Foundation, and last but not least to honor my Dad, Richard “Pete” Smith who died on February 2, 2017 of Stage IV Recurrent Metastatic Esophageal Carcinoma.

My name is Sarah Elizabeth Smith. I am from Toms River, New Jersey and prior to December, 2016, I honestly knew Esophageal Cancer existed but had no idea how devastating it is. You are probably wondering a little more about me. Well, I am in my 30s. I work in Environmental Health and Safety and I am an Emergency Medical Services Provider. I have a wonderful Mom, Kathy Smith and wonderful siblings, Jen, who is married to Kurt and they have two daughters, Annalisa and Isabella, Rick who is married to Lisa and they have two sons, Brandon and Justin. I have a Shih Tzu named Barnaby and a cat named Tyson. I love to travel, read, wander around Target, and live life as it comes. I am very involved in my church, Christ Episcopal Church in Toms River, NJ. Overall, I am just your regular person who happens to have been impacted by Esophageal Cancer.

For a few months prior to December, 2016, my Dad began experiencing swallowing difficulties, felt tired, and generally a little different than usual but did not really make a big deal of it. On December 24, 2016, my Mom, Kathleen, Dad, Cousin/Godbrother John, and Aunt/Godmother Vickie went out to dinner for Christmas Eve as the family usually does. At dinner, my Dad could not get anything down and from there, things quickly progressed.

Shortly after Christmas, my Dad made an appointment with a Gastroenterologist at the practice that I use and the Doctor ordered and scheduled an Endoscopy. My Mom and Dad went to the Surgery Center the day of the Endoscopy and received the news that the Doctor had found a mass and that he had biopsied it and sent a tissue sample out to the lab for evaluation and testing. We waited for what felt like an eternity for the results. Shortly after January 1, 2016, we received the devastating news that my Dad had Esophageal Carcinoma.

Shortly after receiving the diagnosis, my Dad had a more in-depth Endoscopy and a PET Scan. Ultimately, he had Stage III Esophageal Carcinoma upon initial diagnosis in January, 2016. The treatment plan was weekly chemotherapy and daily radiation, followed by a period off and then an Esophagectomy would follow some weeks later.

Initially Dad did so well with the Chemotherapy and Radiation. He had retired due to a long commute to and from work and because he wanted to be able to focus on getting better but he believed had he lived closer to work he would have been able to continue working to some extent. Dad really remained quite active and positive during this time. He had few side effects and really felt an improvement in his swallowing, as the mass reduced in size. With the Doctors and family, Dad had decided it was best to have a feeding tube inserted so that he could receive the complete nutrition he needed and to keep his weight up. We were all amazed and so proud of him. We were thankful for the Doctors and all the medical providers that he was being treated by.

Dad was a deeply religious and spiritual man. Each day he would pray the Rosary and he said he really felt God would take care of him. He thanked God each day for the treatments available and having his family and friends by his side supporting him.

During the break from treatment, Dad and the rest of the family enjoyed time together and he remained active and really made sure he was in the best shape possible for his upcoming Esophagectomy.  In reality, the entire family was making sure we were in the best shape possible to support and care for Dad. It was honestly the calm before the storm.

Monday, May, 16, 2016, would be the big day. Dad would have his Esophagectomy done. We would finally be done with this whirlwind of chemotherapy, radiation, scans, blood work, etc.

The night before surgery, my Mom and Dad went to a hotel close to the Capital Health Medical Center Hopewell Campus in Pennington, NJ, and my Mom reported that my Dad ate a little from many local eating establishments close to the hospital and prior to the midnight pre-operative cut off time. I was glad they had this time together. My Mom would be staying in the hotel for at least one week after my Dad’s surgery so, like the caring guy he was, he made sure Mom was settled in for the week.

I barely slept that night and apparently I was not alone. My siblings reported they had difficulty sleeping, as did my parents. The surgery was scheduled for very early in the morning so I woke up very early and made the hour drive to the hospital where I was met by my sister Jen, brother-in-law Kurt, Mom Kathy, and Dad.

Dad was quickly taken to the pre-op area and a lot of things happened. We all got to be with him until he was taken into surgery. Then the waiting began. It was a long wait. Finally, Dr. Rosato came out to speak with the family. He said that he was unable to approach the surgery from Dad’s chest due to radiation damage and that he had performed the procedure via an approach through his neck. He was concerned about recovery but said that we should remain positive and that should his concerns become reality, we would all discuss them then. He assured us that the procedure went well and that we would be able to see Dad soon. What a relief.

We were taken to a family waiting room close to the Intensive Care Unit where we would wait for a while and then the Nurse came to get us to bring us to see Dad.

I honestly was completely relieved upon seeing him. We had been prepared for a plethora of possibilities, including Dad being on a ventilator for some time after surgery. There was no ventilator and we were dealing with the best case scenario. What a relief.

My Dad was aware of our presence and he took the breathing mask/non rebreather off his face and stated, in a Darth Vader voice, “I’m alive” and then went to sleep. We all laughed hysterically. That was so something Dad would do. Always trying to be a comedian and make people laugh.

The days in ICU were difficult for everyone BUT each day Dad made progress and we did as caregivers as well. Pretty soon after Dad was moved to a private room in a regular medical surgical unit. He continued to make progress. We were excited and incredibly impressed at the progress and how well he was doing mentally and physically.

Soon after he was discharged home. At home it was hard at times for everyone but he continued to make progress and was doing well. I finally saw the light at the end of the tunnel. I felt like maybe we would look back at this years later and be proud of Dad and the entire family for getting through this horrible time and that it would help bring us closer together.

Dad did incredibly well throughout the summer and early fall. He walked miles around the mall. He went out as he could. He even began driving short distances and started participating in family events and things really looked great for him and the whole family.

The fall came and he started experiencing aches and pains and overall did not feel well. In what still feels like a blur, Dad had a hernia operation and then had an emergency surgery for a complication of that operation. He also was losing weight so he made the decision to have the feeding tube reinserted.

In December, 2016, after another PET scan and some other testing, we received the news that Dad’s cancer had returned and this time it was a Stage IV. This was not at all what we anticipated hearing or dealing with this holiday season but we got into the mental and physical space that we would deal with this as best possible. Dad began chemotherapy immediately and did well the first round. He was albeit weak but in good spirits.

The second round of chemotherapy was the beginning of the end. He began experiencing side effects and was uncomfortable and in a lot of pain. He was very weak. The Emergency Room visits began. Eventually he was hospitalized because his immune system was in very bad shape from the chemotherapy and cancer. He spent many days in the hospital this time. Eventually it became apparent that these were Dad’s last days. Eventually he insisted on coming home. Hospice entered the picture and they made it happen for him and for us. I had no idea what an invaluable blessing hospice would be for the family.

Dad came home and the family never left his side. As each day passed, Dad became less and less mentally present until he was bedbound and completely unable to speak and was unresponsive to us. I knew he was still there and would sit and talk with him but I felt this unimaginable pain. I knew that this was the end. Hospice made this whole process much easier. They gave me a sense of peace and I felt loved by people I had just met.

On February 2, 2017, I administered Dad’s medications at around midnight and a half an hour later, he had died.
I felt this strange mix of emotions. I felt relief that he was not suffering anymore and that we could finally start to pick up whatever pieces were salvageable and try to make sense of this loss and time and begin to heal while grieving. I felt sad, which is an obvious emotion when one’s Dad dies. I was angry that my Dad was gone. Angry that he had suffered so much and that he would not be around to call and spend time with.

The next week or so was a blur. We had Dad cremated and had a Celebration of Life. We took care of the things that needed immediate attention and we took care of each other.

In the year since, we have dealt with a plethora of emotions and events. We have gotten through them even though sometimes it’s a fight to do so. I feel like this year has concurrently been the slowest and fastest of my life.

I decided on my birthday on December 26 that I would do a Facebook fundraiser for this wonderful organization. I set a goal of $300 since I am in my 30s. I ended up raising $335! I have some seriously generous and awesome friends.

Shortly after I sent a Facebook message informing the administrator that the fundraiser was in progress and they invited me to write this post. I am truly honored. It is honestly the least I can do to help others who are dealing with this horrible disease.

The only advice I can offer is to take it a day or even a second at a time and to love the person who has cancer and to love those in your caregiving group. Be patient with yourself and your loved one. And have hope even if they end up dying. Have hope that Esophageal Cancer will one day have a cure.

Fundraising Spotlight: In Loving Memory of Richard Smith The Salgi Esophageal Cancer Research Foundation

Fundraising Spotlight: In Loving Memory of Richard Smith. Photo Courtesy of: Sarah Elizabeth Smith. All rights reserved. The Salgi Esophageal Cancer Research Foundation.

“This #GivingTuesday I’m Supporting The Salgi Esophageal Cancer Research Foundation”

November 28, 2017

Today, Tuesday, November 28th is Giving Tuesday! The Salgi Esophageal Cancer Research Foundation is honored to participate in this annual event.

Giving Tuesday opens the giving season and with your help, we will raise funds to raise awareness, encourage early detection and fund research of esophageal cancer…in hopes of a cure.™

How can you help make Giving Tuesday a success?

  • Help us get the word out on social media by visiting and liking our pages: FacebookTwitter and Instagram;
  • Donate to our charity: salorg/donate, as a 501(c)(3) charity, all donations are tax-deductible;
  • Share photos of your loved ones who have been affected by esophageal cancer on social media. Tag us in the photos @SalgiFoundation and we’ll re-post them on our pages;
  • Invite your co-workers, family members and friends to contribute by using the message below via social media or email:

I am supporting The Salgi Esophageal Cancer Research Foundation today on Giving Tuesday and I hope you will, too!  [Optional: Insert personal story/reason for helping.]  Did you know esophageal cancer is the fastest growing cancer in the US, according to the National Cancer Institute? You can support awareness and research efforts by making a tax-deductible donating online:, and by sharing this information with your friends, family and colleagues by email or on Facebook and/or Twitter.  Thank you in advance!

Don’t forget! You can donate to our charity as a holiday gift!

When you give the gift of a donation to The Salgi Esophageal Cancer Research Foundation, you will be giving a gift that lasts long after the holiday season is over.  Donation gifts can be made for anyone- your family, friend, co-worker or an acquaintance.  Just make the donation and let us know who and where to send acknowledgment to!

Thank You!

Giving Tuesday helps to unite us in the spirit of giving and to bring a spotlight to esophageal cancer, a cause that needs desperate attention.  Let’s make this Giving Tuesday a great success! Thank you in advance for helping to make a difference today and every day.

Tips Before You Donate

November 24, 2017

The holidays are in full swing and that means that the giving season has also arrived.  Before you donate a single penny this giving season, please consider the following tips so that you can ensure that your donation is well spent.

  1. Do Your Homework, For Free!

Create a free account with trustworthy websites like Charity Navigator to help ensure that the charity you intended to support is “efficient, ethical and effective.”   Once you create your account you will have access to financial data and other information to help you make an informed decision on where to donate your hard-earned money.

  1. How Will Your Donation Be Spent?

Find out exactly how the charity spends donation by viewing their IRS Form 990.  Websites like Charity Navigator lists charities IRS Form 990s. The IRS Form 990 “is the reporting form that many federally tax-exempt organizations must file with the IRS each year. This form allows the IRS and the general public to evaluate a nonprofit’s operations; it includes information on the nonprofit’s mission, programs, and finances.”

It is important to note that smaller nonprofits with gross receipts of less than $50,000 do not have to file a 990 form.*

In the 990 form you will see exactly how much a nonprofit spent within the reporting year.  You will be able to see how much money goes towards the actual mission and how much is spent on other expenses such as salary and travel.

You might be surprised to see what you find out!

  1. Make Sure Your Donation is Tax Deductible.

While it is truly always better to give than to receive, charitable donations allow donors to give and receive at the same time.  Before you donate, make sure that your donation is actually tax deductible.

It may sound shocking but while most charitable organizations do qualify for charitable deduction, not all do.  There are certain organizations listed by the IRS that although they are exempt from income tax, your gift(s) to that organization will not be not tax-deductible for you. 


We hope these tips help you make an informed decision on what charity to give to this holiday season.  To view our 2016 Annual Report, please click here.  Happy Holidays and happy giving to you!





*Smaller nonprofits with gross receipts of less than $50,000 file Form 990-N.



Esophageal cancer: we were coming for you in 2011 and we still are.  

November 21, 2017

Dear Supporters,

It has been exactly six years since The Salgi Esophageal Cancer Research Foundation was incorporated.

Our members have been fortunate to have met wonderful supporters and volunteers who, in one way or another, have been affected by esophageal cancer.

Some supporters have been with us from the very beginning, many have joined along the way, but all are blazing with determination to make a difference.

When The Salgi Esophageal Cancer Research Foundation first “opened its doors”, the heartache from losing our beloved father and grandfather still painfully stung almost 13 years after his passing.  While the heartache from losing him has somewhat been eased knowing that this mission, which started in his memory, has undoubtedly helped others, we now feel the heartache in a greater and deeper sense.

That heartache deepens each and every time we learn one of our supporters has passed away, after an arduous and painful battle with esophageal cancer and the subsequent health effects.

The heartache deepens when we speak to loved ones of those who have passed away from esophageal cancer and they detail the struggles that they faced and the pain and sense of loss that the families are left with.

The heartache deepens when contributions are made in memory of a family member, friend or co-worker who is missed terribly.  The heartache further deepens whenever we read the tear-stained letters from the families of those who passed away and they want to make a difference in their loved ones memory, after witnessing the dreadfulness of esophageal cancer.

The heartache also deepens when we speak to someone who has been diagnosed or are going through treatments due to esophageal cancer or when we speak to their loved ones.

While the heartache is now deeper than it was before, it does not cause us to waver or to lose hope.

It is said that to be successful, a nonprofit must run as a business and as such, be carried out efficiently, with a clear plan and focus on the long and short-term goals.   We’ve been told that it is important to try and separate feelings from the business of running a nonprofit and to not let the heartache affect us.

To that we say: thanks, but no thanks.

The heartache that we’ve mentioned is our catalyst and part of the driving force utilize each day to press forward and continue this life-saving mission.

Esophageal cancer has taken too many people: men and women of all ages and ethnicities.  These are your people and now they are our people.  We love, treasure, honor and remember all of them each time any work for this mission is carried out.

The Salgi Esophageal Cancer Research Foundation has made a tremendous impact as a smaller charity with limited resources towards raising awareness, promoting early detection and funding research.   While we are proud of these accomplishments, our focus is to continue to move forward.

Esophageal cancer, we were coming for you in 2011 and we still are.

We’re just stronger now.

With the help of our supporters and volunteers, we will continue to get stronger until one day, no one will have to be affected by the brutality of esophageal cancer.

Until then, we will continue to carry out this mission with vigor in honor of all who have been affected.

From the bottom of our heartache, thank you!


The Salgi Esophageal Cancer Research Foundation

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“Challenging Case Teaches Oncology Fellow the Power of Hope” OncLive

November 1, 2017

This article was posted on OncLive on Monday, October 30, 2017 and is written by Laurel A. Menapace, MD.

To view the original article, please click here.


“My patient, “Mr D”, presented with esophageal cancer. He was a robust man who looked much younger than his 64 years and had remained active after retirement. He had served in the military for many years and was a classic Southern gentleman with a strong faith who attended church regularly. He had enjoyed good health until the preceding months, when he developed progressive dysphagia. Otherwise, Mr D had felt well enough to travel to the Grand Canyon during the summer and had delayed seeing his physician.

When Mr D returned home, his primary care physician initially reassured him that there was nothing to be overly concerned about. However, a routine endoscopy revealed a large esophageal mass that proved to be adenocarcinoma.

When I first sat down with Mr D and his wife, it was clear that they were both overwhelmed by their current situation. In a frenetic way, they had sought out several opinions regarding treatment prior to meeting with me and my colleagues. First, they sought out advice from a local oncologist. Then, they traveled and were evaluated at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center (MSK). Following their visit to MSK, they sought advice at Mayo Clinic. Although exhausted, Mr D and his wife travelled to Cleveland Clinic before making any final decisions.

I was faced with providing Mr D and his wife with news that they had heard before. I explained that his esophageal tumor appeared to be unresectable and that upfront systemic chemotherapy would be the best approach for treatment. Although he showed no evidence of metastatic disease on staging scans, it was clear that there was only a limited chance of cure. Advanced esophageal cancer is a highly lethal malignancy and often spreads despite aggressive therapy. I discussed that treatment would be palliative in an attempt to reduce the esophageal mass and prevent additional side effect from his cancer; treatment would not eradicate the disease. When confronted with this information, Mr. D appeared defeated and weary. He was emphatic as he looked straight into my eyes and said, “I know you can cure me. I am going to beat this.”

As a young oncology fellow, I struggled to respond to this statement. How could I be realistic about his diagnosis without taking away his hope? In the eld of oncology, trainees are taught to be honest when delivering a cancer prognosis, yet to always leave some room for hope. When predicting when a patient may succumb to a malignancy, we cite historic precedent. But there are the rare patients who survive many months, even years, longer than initially assumed. I often remind patients that there are outliers—cancer treatment super responders who defy any traditional trajectory that could be predicted based on disease staging. And so, I suggested to Mr D that although there was no guarantee that his tumor would respond, enrolling in a clinical trial with induction chemotherapy followed by surgical resection, if there was dramatic tumor shrinkage, would be his best course of action.

Mr D subsequently enrolled in a trial and received 4 cycles of leucovorin, uorouracil, and oxaliplatin (FOLFOX) combination therapy. At each follow-up visit, Mr D appeared to be tolerating treatment extremely well; his dysphagia resolved entirely. His excitement grew, as did mine, as he completed 4 rounds of chemotherapy. We therefore took the next step of scheduling his surgery for the following month. Then, during his final visit before restaging scans were to be obtained, Mr D appeared concerned. He mentioned that he had developed some vague abdominal pain in the preceding days.

Given his clinical course, I reassured him that it was likely nothing. I, too, held the same hope that he had responded to treatment. Unfortunately, the results of a computed tomography (CT) scan of his abdomen delivered on the following day revealed small, but undeniable, peritoneal nodules that raised suspicion of carcinomatosis. A subsequent CT-guided biopsy of 1 of these nodules demonstrated adenocarcinoma.

I called Mr D later that day to inform him of the bad news. He now had metastatic disease and would not be a candidate for surgery. Instead, we would have to proceed with second-line systemic chemotherapy. I told him I was concerned that his cancer had progressed in a short period of time.

To this news, he simply responded with, “I believe in the power of hope,” which astonished me. Mr D went on to receive several cycles of treatment, followed by a course of palliative radiotherapy after his esophageal tumor grew in size again. He then enrolled in hospice care, but passed away only a few months later.

Mr D’s case left a lasting impression on me and my approach to practicing medicine. While his story may not be unique, it does remind me what a tremendous privilege it is to be an oncologist and to dispense hope to my patients. Hope is a powerful tool. To hope is to be human—undoubtedly an evolutionary behavior that has allowed humanity to overcome incredible adversity throughout the centuries. As an oncologist, I witness humans facing extreme challenges every day. Mr. D’s story is reminder of why I maintain hope for all of my patients and their families.”


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