ART FOR ONCOLOGISTS
It took 13 years to live through and two years to make. During that time, I have learned my fair
share about all things oncology.
Imhotep described what is believed to be the first case of cancer, breast cancer in a man, in
2500 BC. As far as a recommended treatment, he offered only the chilling words, “There is none.”
Atossa, the queen of Persia, had the first radical mastectomy in 440 BC. 2,500 years later, this
surgery is still being performed.
I now know why I should know the names Yellapragada Subbarao, Sidney Farber, Mary Lasker
and Barnett Rosenberg.
The first patented animal was a mouse bred specifically to be susceptible to cancer. His name is
OncoMouse and, yes, he has a ® after his name.
I think I know what “the HER-2/neu oncogene, human epidermal growth factor receptor no. 2”
Vinblastine was discovered by drinking tea.
5-FU helped save Shaine’s life, Cytoxan helped save Glenn’s life, Herceptin helped saved Hildur’s
life and Gleevec flat out saved Aldo’s life.
MOPP is a chemotherapy regimen consisting of Mechlorethamine, Oncovin, Procarbazine and
Prednisone. It is also an acronym used by the military meaning Mission Oriented Protective Posture,
which is a type of safety gear used by military personnel during a chemical, biological,
radiological or nuclear attack.
There was a movie about Herceptin starring Harry Connick Jr. as Dr. Dennis Slamon, the father
of Herceptin. I learned crooners turned actors don’t make the best oncologists.
I also came to the conclusion that Gemzar sounds like a sibling of the Great Gazoo from the
I haven’t come across or used so many big-assed words since I wrote philosophy papers about
Hegel back in the early 80s.
Can you say (SP-4-2)-diamminedichloroplatinum?
Can you use (SP-4-2)-diamminedichloroplatinum in a sentence?
Seriously, as a survivor of two cancers, working on this show was an emotional experience.
Especially when I made stuff about chemotherapies that saved lives of friends of mine.
Call it enlightened self-interest, but I am fond of having my friends around.
I guess you could call this show a celebration.
Long live oncologists!
Longer live their mice!
Longest live their patients!
And, yes, even long live their language filled with senseless and really long words.
Actually, despite all its (SP-4-2)-diamminedichloroplatinums and Bis-chloroethylnitrosoureas and
BEACO PPs, ChlVPPs, DIC Es, MAIDs, PEP-Cs, POMPs, TI Ps, VAMPs and VIPs, the core of this language
can be translated into a single word:
Hope you like Art for Oncologists.
Even more, I hope it gives you a big dose of hope if you or someone you love is dealing with
the disease that oncologists were put on this planet to deal with.
JIM RISWOLD IN HIS STUDIO, 2013