FATHERHOOD AND CANCER: FILM CRITIC JOEL SIEGEL
8/04/2005 12:54 PM GMT (WooEB)
For ABC-TV film and theater critic Joel Siegel, the past seven years have been a living drama of joy and anguish. It began with two firsts: the news in the summer of 1997 that his wife, Ena, was pregnant; followed one week later by Siegel’s colonoscopy and the words “I don’t have good news” spoken by his doctor. From The Oncologist, AlphaMed Press
FATHERHOOD AND CANCER:
FILM CRITIC JOEL SIEGEL OFFERS THANKS, AND A WARNING
For film and theater critic Joel Siegel, the past seven years have been a living drama of joy and anguish. It began with two firsts: the news in the summer of 1997 that his wife, Ena, was pregnant; followed one week later by Siegel’s colonoscopy and the words “I don’t have good news” spoken by his doctor.
There ensued a battle for Siegel’s life, including three surgeries, chemotherapy, and radiation, bracketing the birth of his son, Dylan.
Siegel, film critic for ABC-TV’s Good Morning America since 1981 and for WABC-TV’s Eyewitness News since 1976, describes his journey with colon cancer and fatherhood in the upcoming issue of The Oncologist (as presented to C-Change, May 2005), where he thanks cancer practitioners on behalf of Dylan, now seven.
“I had a seventy percent chance of being alive to witness the birth,” he writes of his earliest prognosis. The first surgery, in 1997, followed by treatment that brought about extreme fatigue and other debilitating effects, was just the beginning.
As Dylan approached the age of two, a lesion was found on Siegel’s left lung. His colon cancer had metastasized. A few months after that surgery, cancer appeared on his right lung. Less than a year ago, cancer was found in multiple sites of what remains of both lungs.
Siegel warns readers not to delay colorectal cancer screening past age 50. “If I had done one simple thing,” he writes, “all of this could have been avoided.” A screening colonoscopy at 50 would most likely have revealed pre-cancerous polyps that could have been removed, literally nipping his cancer in the bud.
Siegel has chronicled his experiences in his book, Lessons for Dylan: On Life, Love, the Movies, and Me (Public Affairs, New York, 2004).
He is co-founder, with actor Gene Wilder, of Gilda’s Club, a nonprofit support facility for cancer patients named in memory of Gilda Radner, who died of ovarian cancer.
The Oncologist, in its tenth year, is an international peer-reviewed journal from AlphaMed Press serving more than 21,000 physicians. The Oncologist is devoted to medical and practice issues for surgical, radiation, and medical oncologists entrusted with the care of adult or pediatric cancer patients. ###
Laurel Ferejohn, Communications
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