A few years back, I got the chance to visit Duke University's Brain Tumor Center to co-write a story with Dr. Henry Friedman, their top neuro-oncologist. He co-directs the center along with Dr. Allan Friedman (they are not related), who just operated on Ted Kennedy. Dr. Henry Friedman will likely be in charge of the senator's chemotherapy and radiation.
The story -- titled "What is Hope for a Patient with a Deadly Brain Tumor" -- describes their approach. It was originally published in the Dana Foundation's magazine, Cerebrum.
As soon as I heard that Kennedy had brain cancer, I suspected that this center was where he would be treated -- not least because they perform brain surgeries on tumors which other centers consider inoperable. Speaking with both Drs. Friedman, I was incredibly impressed with their work and their devotion not just to the best clinical care and research, but to their patients' emotional and even spiritual needs.
I overheard Dr. Henry Friedman personally challenging an insurance company representative over covering care for a patient -- he seemed to take personal pride in beating them back.
And I have to say, Dr. Allan Friedman had the steadiest, most perfect handshake I have ever experienced.
If you are interested in what treatment at the center is like -- or in the specifics of brain cancer research and treatment or in the question of how to maintain hope in the face of an illness like this, please check it out.