Pathologist Creates Program Allowing Patients to Face Their Cancer Head-on

Pathologist Creates Program Allowing Patients to Face Their Cancer Head-on
Massachusetts pathologist Lija Joseph, MD, has created an innovative program that allows patients, including those with breast cancer, to actually see the cells that make up their malignancies. In doing so, the hope is that patients will gain the understanding, strength, and knowledge that will help them better manage the fear and anxiety that often accompanies a cancer diagnosis. At the age of 45, Carol Palmer learned she had invasive breast cancer. She was treated and remained cancer-free for nearly two decades, after which a routine mammogram showed the cancer’s return. At some point, it occurred to her that, after everything she’d endured — diagnosis, surgeries, and therapy — she had never viewed her cancer. “I just thought it would be an amazing opportunity for me to come face to face with my cancer cells, seeing them right there in front of my eyes, trying to understand what is actually causing all this commotion inside my body,” she said in a press release. Joseph agreed. As the chief of pathology at Lowell General Hospital near Boston, she’s the one who makes the diagnoses. So with the
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