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swag Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jun-30-10 04:21 PM
Original message
Christopher Hitchens diagnosed with cancer, cuts short his book tour
Source: Washington Post Reliable Sources

Christopher Hitchens is being treated for cancer, forcing the D.C. writer to cut short his latest book tour. In a statement released through his publisher Twelve, the British-born provocateur, 61, said that he has "been advised by my physician that I must undergo a course of chemotherapy on my esophagus. This advice seems persuasive to me." The notorious chainsmoker announced in 2008 he had given up tobacco -- driven, he said, by "fear."

Read more: http://voices.washingtonpost.com/reliable-source/2010/0...
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Taverner Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jun-30-10 04:22 PM
Response to Original message
1. Get well Chris!
You may not be everyone here's flavor, but you have done a great deal for the New Atheist Movement
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burnsei sensei Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jun-30-10 04:26 PM
Response to Reply #1
3. +1 nt
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xultar Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jun-30-10 04:23 PM
Response to Original message
2. I feel bad for him but I think that sounds like something he got from
drinking.
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Taverner Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jun-30-10 04:36 PM
Response to Reply #2
5. That, or cigarettes
He still smokes like a pack a day
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mike_c Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jun-30-10 04:37 PM
Response to Reply #2
6. more likely smoking....
Depends on where the tumor started, I suppose. If anterior, I'd suspect smoking, maybe alcohol if it's posterior (i.e. proximal to the stomach).
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Sal Minella Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jun-30-10 05:26 PM
Response to Reply #6
22. The esophagus is proximal to the stomach
and I can't make any sense out of your post.
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mike_c Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jun-30-10 05:52 PM
Response to Reply #22
28. one end is proximal (to the stomach), the other is distal...
...and more anterior. Remember that human body orientations are the same as quadruped orientations, just stood upright. So the mouth is still anterior to the stomach, even though they're both more-or-less on the "front" side of an upright human. Thus the anterior end of the esophagus begins at the glottis (in the throat, posterior to the mouth) and the posterior end is connected to the stomach at the stomadeal sphincter.

Smoking is more likely to cause tumors in the anterior esophagus (near the glottis) while chronic alcoholism is more likely to damage the posterior esophagus, near the stomach, often due to chronic reflux.

Hope that makes it clearer!
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rox63 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jun-30-10 05:20 PM
Response to Reply #2
18. Can be caused by smoking, drinking, or the combination of the two
He has a long history of both. A friend of mine lost both of his parents to esophageal cancer, and they were both heavy drinkers and smokers for most of their lives.
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lady lib Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jun-30-10 10:43 PM
Response to Reply #18
39. Yes, I was taught that it's the combination of the two
that really increases the cancer risk.
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Hardrada Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jul-01-10 12:39 AM
Response to Reply #18
40. We lost our lawyer to that type of cancer.
He was also our city magistrate and was a genuinely kind and sympathetic person. But he did drink quite a lot and his wife (also deceased) smoked heavily.
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Soylent Brice Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jun-30-10 04:34 PM
Response to Original message
4. (((good vibes)))
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HoraceX Donating Member (23 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jun-30-10 04:39 PM
Response to Original message
7. Hope he beats it.
We could use another 100 Hitchens out there.
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devilgrrl Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jun-30-10 05:12 PM
Response to Reply #7
15. Much like we could also use 100 more shots to the head.
:popcorn:
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Mike 03 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jun-30-10 04:40 PM
Response to Original message
8. I just ordered two copies of his autobiography
He is someone I (sometimes grudgingly) admire greatly, and I hope he can beat this cancer. He is a Hemingwayesque Independent Spirit and we need people like him.

Get Well Christopher

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Dappleganger Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jun-30-10 04:43 PM
Response to Original message
9. You wouldn 't believe all the arseholes on HuffPo who were
speculating that he needed to go into rehab because of his drinking.

A giant FU to all of them who posted such nastiness which HP left up for hours on end. I truly hope that Mr. Hitchens has a speedy recovery.
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elfin Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jun-30-10 04:44 PM
Response to Original message
10. Combination of smoking AND alcohol are likely triggers
Not a good thing for him. Had a friend who smoked AND drank a LOT over the years -- died just short of two years from diagnosis, including surgery and chemo.
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Mike 03 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jun-30-10 05:01 PM
Response to Reply #10
13. May I ask how old he was?
I have a shocking number of acquaintances who are dropping like flies at shockingly young ages who have these risk factors.
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thecrow Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jun-30-10 08:55 PM
Response to Reply #13
34. " the British-born provocateur, 61,......"
This was in the OP...!
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RayOfHope Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jun-30-10 05:22 PM
Response to Reply #10
20. Chronic heartburn/acid reflux will do it too n/t
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Abq_Sarah Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jul-01-10 10:34 AM
Response to Reply #20
44. Barretts Esophagus n/t
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JuniperLea Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jun-30-10 05:01 PM
Response to Original message
11. A friend of mine died from esophageal cancer...
She never smoked or drank in her life... no history of cancer in the family... just freaking weird.

Get well, CH! I like how you rattle cages.
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Mike 03 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jun-30-10 05:04 PM
Response to Reply #11
14. Sometimes Cancer just Strikes in an awful, unpredictable way
My ex died of pancreatic cancer at the age of 39, which is almost unheard of. But she did drink and smoke--even so, smokers and drinkers don't usually die of this cancer until their Fifties.

I am very, very sorry for your friend. It hurts like hell.
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JuniperLea Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jun-30-10 05:21 PM
Response to Reply #14
19. Thank you...
I'm sorry about your ex. That's so sad; she was far too young.

One of my cousins had pancreatic cancer in her 30's too. She had a lot of pain, and the doctor couldn't figure out what was wrong for a while... he didn't think she should have actual pain in her pancreas, but apparently she did. Consequently, they caught it very early. It's been 10 years and she's doing fine.

It's a very weird thing, this human existence.
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Mike 03 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jun-30-10 05:26 PM
Response to Reply #19
23. Wow, you said it, Human Existence is Strange, but I am so happy that
your cousin is doing well after ten years. That is a miracle.

My ex had back pain, and she thought it was just her back, but when she got an MRI, the pancreatic tumor was pressing against her spine. That is how she found out. They gave her six months, but she got a year, which was good.

Thanks for writing, and best wishes to your cousin, I am so happy to hear she is doing well. That is a huge achievement.

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Dogmudgeon Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jun-30-10 05:01 PM
Response to Original message
12. Esophageal cancer is usually one of the bad ones
After hoping he makes a fast and full recovery, I also hope that there isn't too much gloating over the smoking. It's very probable that the smoking is responsible for his cancer, but it's a tough addiction to beat, and its marketing is fueled by the same money-ueber-alles corporate attitude he has spent his life fighting.

I don't always agree with Hitchens -- as an admirer of Bill Clinton, certainly not! But I've always gotten a lot out of his writing, factually and stylistically. Like any noteworthy polemicist, Oeuvre de Hitch worms its way into your brain and doesn't give it a moment's rest.

Here's hoping that we have him around to both revile and admire for many more years.

--d!
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EFerrari Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jun-30-10 10:31 PM
Response to Reply #12
38. Well said, Dogmudgeon.
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catzies Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jun-30-10 05:13 PM
Response to Original message
16. My father is dying of esophageal cancer right now. He's chosen not to fight it
and spends his days in a morphine haze.

He's 74 and was a smoker from the age of 11. Both his parents and elder brother died due to cigarette-related diseases.

Best wishes to Mr. Hitchens.
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JuniperLea Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jun-30-10 05:23 PM
Response to Reply #16
21. I'm so sorry for you and your family, catzies...
Edited on Wed Jun-30-10 05:24 PM by JuniperLea
This human existence is very hard. What fuels an addiction like that when the common, devastating results are often fatal?

I understand the addiction somewhat... I quit smoking four years ago... I hope it was soon enough for me.

:hug:

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catzies Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jun-30-10 06:06 PM
Response to Reply #21
29. Thanks for you kind wishes JuniperLea.
:hug: I appreciate it very much.
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PlanetBev Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jun-30-10 05:26 PM
Response to Reply #16
24. Sorry to hear that, catzies
That's a hard thing to go through, watch a parent die.

Esophageal cancer is a particularly nasty form of cancer. Gov. Ann Richards died of it. I think it has about a 17 percent survival rate. Not sure I'd go through treatment myself.

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catzies Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jun-30-10 06:08 PM
Response to Reply #24
30. PlanetBev, thank you for yout thoughts. I had forgotten about Gov. Richards' cancer
I look up to her very much, her and her dear friend Molly Ivins.

And, the stat you quoted was exactly why my father made his decision to just go to the light without the fight.
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Mike 03 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jun-30-10 05:31 PM
Response to Reply #16
25. Catzies, my heart goes out to you. It is horrific to watch a parent go through this
process. My thoughts are with you, but I also want to thank you for sharing, because it is helfpul to know I am not alone.

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catzies Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jun-30-10 06:09 PM
Response to Reply #25
31. Mike, one thing I have learned in my almost 48 years on this planet is
we are NOT alone. Even if we wish to be.

This human thing - we are all in it together.

I wish you peace. :hug:
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Mike 03 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jun-30-10 06:18 PM
Response to Reply #31
32. Thank you from the bottom of my heart
It means a lot.
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flyarm Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jun-30-10 05:17 PM
Response to Original message
17. wishing him well in his fight against this cancer! eom
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Raine Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jun-30-10 05:33 PM
Response to Original message
26. Wishing him all the best
in his struggle to overcome this disease.
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Mojambo Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jun-30-10 05:51 PM
Response to Original message
27. I hope his treatment goes as well as possible.
Like him personally or not, he is a fantastic writer.
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BootinUp Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jun-30-10 06:27 PM
Response to Original message
33. oh dear. nt
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Odin2005 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jun-30-10 09:28 PM
Response to Original message
35. Damn, that sucks! He may be an asshole, but he's a brilliant collumnist and writer.
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Codeine Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jun-30-10 10:17 PM
Response to Reply #35
36. He's an asshole, but he's OUR asshole. :-)
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CBHagman Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jun-30-10 10:29 PM
Response to Original message
37. That is sad.
I do hope they treat it successfully.

That said, I wish C.H. would concentrate more on being a mensch and less on despising other people.
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ZombieHorde Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jul-01-10 02:00 AM
Response to Original message
41. He is always fun, I hope he gets better. nt
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Arrowhead2k1 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jul-01-10 03:10 AM
Response to Original message
42. How did this guy become a hero for the left again?
All I remember is him being a big supporter for the invasion of Iraq.
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Mimosa Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jul-01-10 08:02 AM
Response to Original message
43. Hope he beats this
Medicine has gotten good at beating some types of cancer.

Esophageal cancer is most likely caused by excessive smoking. Hitchens frequently mentioned his cigarette habit.
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AguaAzul Donating Member (7 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jul-01-10 11:31 AM
Response to Original message
45. Just Diagnosed with Pre-Cancerous Esophagus
I used to get awful reflux in my late 20's and 30's when I was drinking heavily. Had trouble swallowing and had endoscopy which revealed "Barrett's Esophagus" which, though not likely, can develop into cancer. Similar to women and mammograms, I now need to get regular exams to catch anything early.

The problem with esophageal cancer is it is frequently asymptomatic for so long and by the time it is diagnosed, it has already developed into non-treatable cancer. Ironic because I just bought Hitchen's book about how religion poisons everything.
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Jankyn Donating Member (197 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jul-01-10 11:48 AM
Response to Original message
46. Sending warm thoughts ...
...not that it does any good for him, but it makes me feel better.
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