Married Cancer Researchers Both Bravely Battle Breast Cancer

dr. oliver irene bolgerIf you watch this season's Parenthood -- or you are basically living or have lived in an episode of this season's Parenthood -- in which Kristina was diagnosed with breast cancer, you know it's hard enough when one spouse is fighting cancer. But two? Doubly heartbreaking and difficult. And in Drs. Oliver and Irene Bolgers' case, utterly completely ridiculously ironic and crazy. Because they're both cancer researchers at MD Anderson Cancer Center at the University of Texas.

Five years ago, Irene had chemotherapy, a mastectomy, and radiation for her Stage 2 breast cancer. She is cancer-free now, but her husband is not. Oliver is in his second month of chemo after being diagnosed with breast cancer -- Stage 2, as well. Unbelievable!


The Bolgers' family is equally befuddled by what they're saying seems to be just a really unfortunate, sad coincidence. Oliver's brother Daniel said:

First of all, we don't have a history of cancer [in the family]. Second of all, breast cancer is an extremely unusual thing for a man.

That said, it seems to follow that there might have been something about their jobs that could have caused them to both have to face the very same fight, right? Daniel says he thinks maybe there's a connection, especially because Oliver was diagnosed while "feeding his cells and growing his cultures." But the researcher says the radiation he and Irene received in their labs while researching is no worse than one gets from an X-ray machine at the airport. Instead, he believes the entire situation is nothing more than very bad luck. Ugh.

Looking on the bright side, at least Oliver couldn't ask for a more understanding, completely supportive, and compassionate partner to support him in this fight. That can't hurt in his battle to become cancer-free just like his equally brave wife.

Check out the ABC News story on the Bolgers ...


Would you suspect this couple's work has something to do with their diagnoses?


Image via ABC

Read More >