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June 12, 1992 - Image 79

Resource type:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1992-06-12

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.



wo men are in
the white room.
One of them is
The dying man
is named Ed. He has gray
hair and deep-set eyes and
wears black pants that are too
tight. His hand trembles. He
rarely smiles. He has cancer
[ throughout his body and pro-
- bly won't live through the
end of the year.
The other man is Dr. Jef-
frey Forman. He wears a
' clean white jacket and a
brightly colored tie dec-
orated with an apple and
eiarious body parts. "This old
thing?" he says when pa-
tients compliment him on it.
He calls it his "doctor tie."
Ed is here today because of
excessive coughing. He's
having trouble sleeping, too.
e tells the doctor: "My at-
orney is trying to get my
( estate in order."
1 "That's always a good
r `'idea,"
Dr. Forman says, put-
ting his stethoscope to Ed's
chest. "I've got mine in
"Yes, it is a good idea," Ed
says. "But it's difficult, too."
It is 10:40 a.m. Monday,
four hours into Dr. Jeffrey
Forman's day. He already
has seen two patients who
will die within a few years
nd two in the midst of
treatment. Clinical chief of
Harper Hospital's Gershen-
on Radiation Oncology
Center of the Wayne State
University Detroit Medical
Center, Dr. Forman, 35,
pends his day battling the
ultimate enemy: cancer.
A native of New York, Dr.
Forman graduated from the
New York University School
of Medicine and trained at
Johns Hopkins Hospital in

Photos by Marsha Sundqu ist

Assistant Editor

A Matter
of Life
and Death

Dr. Jeffrey Forman
of Harper Hospital
makes fighting cancer
his life's work.

Four years ago, he came to
Detroit. His first positions
were as associate chairman
of the University of Mich-
igan department of
radiology and oncology, and
head of Providence
Hospital's radiation on-
cology department, which
under his leadership doubled
in size.
When he found he had too
little time for research, Dr.
Forman took the job at
Harper's Radiation On-

cology Center (ROC). He was
enticed, he says, by the fact
that the ROC was "relative-
ly underdeveloped, which
made my job more exciting"
and that it is "better
equipped than any other
such department in the
Besides, he says, "My wife
was tired of moving."
At the ROC, one of 24 alp-
proved cancer centers
nationwide, Dr. Forman spe-
cializes in prostate cancer,

though he treats other forms
of the disease and works
with patients of all ages.
More than 1,200 patients
come each year to the ROC
for cancer treatment; about
30 percent of all Americans
are struck by the disease.
Dr. Forman's consulta-
tions begin around 10 a.m.
His first patient this day is
Lydia, an elderly woman
who recently conquered lung
cancer. Though she com-
plains of harsh coughing, Dr.

Forman is pleased with her
progress. Her tumor, he
says, is shrinking.
His second patient, Mr. B.,
had prostate cancer and just
completed the 11th of 37
"You look pretty good,"
Dr. Forman tells him.
Prostate cancer is the
leading cancer among men.
Like other cancers, it can be
eradicated if it's caught soon
enough and treatment
begins early. This knowl-
edge is comforting to pa-
tients, though it doesn't
make living with side effects
of the disease any easier.
"This is a fate worse than
death," Mr. B. says of the
medication he must take
every day. Because of it, he
is urinating several times
every hour, both day and
Consultations often in-
clude as much talk about
non-medical subjects as
about patients' heath con-
"How many more
treatments?" asks Dave, Dr.
Forman's 11 a.m. appoint-
ment. He's just had a kidney
removed. "I want to get back
to playing baseball."
"You know," Dr. Forman
says, examining Dave's
stomach, "I should get into a
baseball league myself."


is office is ready for
the white-glove test.
There's no dust, no
clutter of papers. Photos of his
wife and three children hang
on the wall; bookshelves are
filled with medical journals.
On his desk is a brown-bag
lunch. If he doesn't have time
for it this afternoon, Dr. For-
man will eat it for dinner
while watching his son play
Little League.
The center of his office is a
computer, with a sophisti-
cated 3-D program that

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