As official Washington reeled from a second high-profile cancer diagnosis in less than a week—that of White House Press Secretary Tony Snow—health experts and journalists gathered on the Hill last night to celebrate a story of survival. At the Hill's Sonoma restaurant, U.S. News & World Report Health Editor Bernadine Healy, M.D., and friends marked the publication of new book, Living Time: Faith and Facts to Transform Your Cancer Journey, which covers her own journey following her 1999 diagnosis of a brain tumor.
Healy, a former director of the National Institutes of Health and overseer of the National Cancer Institute, was working to expand Ohio State's cancer genetics program at the time of her diagnosis. She told the crowd at the book party that her book idea started with a column she wrote for U.S. News & World Report, which her literary agent, Gail Ross suggested she expand into a book.
As part of her work, Healy ended up on Hardball with Chris Matthews last week, where she offered the following wisdom: "You’re a cancer survivor the moment you get that cancer diagnosis," Healy said. "You’re a survivor of cancer. That cancer has been percolating there in your body. You may not have not known it. It’s been diagnosed. You start on therapy, which is going to knock it down or knock it out entirely. During that whole treatment phase, you are a survivor and you have to think of yourself as a survivor. This is the living time for you. It’s not a dying time."