Thursday, July 01, 2010

Hitchens diagnosed with cancer

Christopher Hitchens has released a terse, 37-word statement that he is beginning to receive chemotherapy for cancer of the esophagus. He says nothing about the stage of his cancer. According to the American Cancer Society, five-year survival rates for esophageal cancer are 37% if it has not metastasized, 19% if has metastasized to nearby bones or organs, and only 3% if the metastases have spread to distant parts of the body.

Sadly, though, esophageal cancer is rarely detected until symptoms appear, by which point, again as the American Cancer Society says, the cancer has “reached an advanced stage, when a cure is less likely.”

It is sobering to learn that a writer of such fierce and unshakable integrity must face such a grim prognosis. Coincidentally, I finished eight weeks of radiation earlier today, designed to eradicate the last remaining traces of the metastatic prostate cancer with which I was diagnosed two-and-a-half years ago. At the time, I was given small chance to survive, but I have beaten the odds, and perhaps Hitchens can too. Even though he would sneer, I shall pray for him. I can’t imagine a world in which his voice is silenced.


Cipriano said...

This is... it is extremely sad for me to hear of this news. I feel as though stunned.
Logged on to a friend's blogpage, and saw, on the sidebar the link to your page -- which included the title of this, your most recent posting. I clicked on it, hoping that I was mistaken -- then clicked from yours to the Vanity Fair statement.
Having read everything I can get my hands on from this man, and watching him [online and on TV] in umpteen debates and interviews, and having JUST finished reading his memoir, Hitch22 -- it is with great sadness that I now lay my head down on the pillow to sleep. Christopher Hitchens is an integral part of the discussion of rationalism in our world today, and I feel that we sorely need him.

R. T. said...

This is a bad new / good news moment. I share your reactions about Mr. Hitchens, a man with a fiercely engaging intellect (though I fiercely disagree with his arguments against the existence of God); and I am quite encouraged about your good news (which helps confirm my arguments about the existence of God). Be well, my friend!

NigelBeale said...

How upsetting. Although I agree with Hitchens's arguments, I'll nonetheless be praying for his well being. And yours.

tommish said...

In his own words: