Alanna Mitchell

Award-winning Canadian science journalist.

Whenever I give talks about Malignant Metaphor, people ask me how its two main characters are doing. My brother-in-law, John, was diagnosed in 2010 with melanoma. My daughter, Calista, in 2012.

The update: John’s cancer returned with a vengeance in late 2015. He developed a large melanoma tumor in his back, deeply embedded in his muscle. It was inoperable. But by then, researchers had come up new immunotherapy drugs to treat advanced melanoma and John launched into a medical trial of two of the drugs in early 2016. They had serious, near-lethal side effects. But he prevailed. Today, he’s healthy and there’s no sign that the cancer is returning.

Just this week, Calista got the results of a battery of tests designed to figure out how she was doing at five years after her diagnosis. When the endocrinologist at the hospital told her she is in remission, with no signs of disease, both my daughter and I cried. Calista said to me: “All I’ve wanted for five years is to be medically normal.” Now she is.

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