NR Digital

City Desk

Cancerland

by Richard Brookhiser

I visited cancerland in 1992, and now my wife is traveling there. I took the testicular tour, she is on the breast package. Her prognosis is excellent, as was mine. This piece is not about our particular experiences, but about the country itself.

Geography. Cancerland has many outposts in the city. Every Manhattanite knows where our great hospitals are; the far East Side is so thick with them you have to be wearing a stethoscope to hail a cab. But as treatments (and cases?) have proliferated, all of these institutions have spun off satellite offices — by the Mount Vernon Hotel, a 200-year-old stone building; over the entrance to the Midtown Tunnel; around the corner from National Review (a historic district for sure). The people ducking in that doorway you pass every day might not be ordinary Gothamites; they may be inhabitants of cancerland.

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