A Cancer Patient's Story

in Contested Medicine

Published by University of Chicago Press

Published in print May 2009 | ISBN: 9780226465319
Published online March 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780226465333 | DOI:
A Cancer Patient's Story

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This chapter reports in detail the difficulties and the contingencies of one patient's encounter with disease, the physicians, the hospital, the therapy, and family and friends. It specifically addresses the story of Maude Jacobs, who received total-body irradiation (TBI) in November 1964 and died later that year. It is possible that cancer was never openly discussed with Maude. In his case report, Eugene Saenger stated that the chemotherapy treatment had markedly decreased the tumor in Maude's breast but that the metastatic lesions continued to grow. The patient's final days were terrible. The statement that Maude's death was due to breast cancer implies that something approaching the natural history of the disease had led to her demise. Her story implies that anecdotal accounts of the individual life-and-death struggles of patients are as much about clinical trials as about the procedural and statistical accounts of the researchers.

Keywords: cancer; Maude Jacobs; total-body irradiation; Eugene Saenger; chemotherapy; breast cancer; metastatic lesions

Chapter.  8961 words. 

Subjects: History of Science and Technology

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