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Heartbreaking

Married Cancer Researchers Both Bravely Battle Breast Cancer

by Maressa Brown on November 27, 2012 at 3:47 PM

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 ...

Watch More News Videos at ABC | 2012 Presidential Election | Entertainment & Celebrity News

 

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

 

Image via ABC

Filed Under: breasts, cancer

Comments

1
  • stara...
    --

    starandseen

    November 28, 2012 at 2:55 AM
    I don't think so. Cancer is random. It strikes even the healthiest person, even athletes. Heck, even children. I do not think anything is is a guarantee to cause it. With this couple, it was just bad luck and bad timing. As for the husband, rare doesn't mean impossible. It means he's the unlucky 1 in the odds.
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