Worth a Thousand Words
No matter where you look, the medical laboratory is full of life and color. That’s why, for a fifth year running, we are celebrating the art of pathology and laboratory medicine by showcasing the best images you – our readers – have to offer...
Digital collages made from histology and histopathology images and edited in Adobe Photoshop.
Credit: Cooper Schwartz, Alpert Medical School at Brown University, Providence, Rhode Island, USA.
Fireworks at Night
Credit: Adam L. Booth, AP/CP Resident, University of Texas Medical Branch, Galveston, Texas, and 2020–21 Gastrointestinal and Liver Pathology Fellow, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts, USA.
Animals + Movats = Art
Credit: Sarah Ann Ducat, HTL, Tufts Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine, North Grafton, Massachusetts, USA.
Credit: Daoud Rahal, Head of the Surgical Histocytopathology Diagnostic Section and Pathology Anatomy Day Hospital, Humanitas Research Hospital, Rozzano, Milan, Italy.
Credit: Patrick Foley, Cheyenne, Wyoming, USA.
Credit: Amber Matkowski, Y4 Medical Student (intercalating), University of Manchester, UK.
Eye of the storm
Credit: Sam Sadigh, Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, Massachusetts, USA.
Credit: San Yu Maung, Pathologist, Mandalay General Hospital, Myanmar.
Stoneware (ceramic) bowls made with a glaze that reminds the observer of a blood smear that has sat in the tube for too long before being made into a peripheral smear.
Credit: David Grier, Associate Professor, Division of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center, Cincinnati, Ohio, USA.
This Is How the Magic Works
You're a Star
We're Coming for You
Credit: Nicola Parry, Independent Veterinary Pathology Consultant, Midwest Veterinary Pathology, Lafayette, Indiana, USA.
Credit: Muhammad Ahsan, Sahiwal Medical College, Sahiwal, Pakistan.
Blueberries for My Grandmothers
Credit: Faye Smith-Chakmakova, Pathologist, Barton Memorial Hospital, South Lake Tahoe, California, USA.
Credit: Kristen Churcher, Medical Laboratory Technician at Crystal Run Healthcare.
The Beauty of Life
Credit: Luis Humberto Cruz Contreras, Hospital Materno Infantil Irapuato, México.
A Dog's Life
Credit: Laura Philbrook, Senior Cytotechnologist, CellSolutions, Greensboro, North Carolina, USA.
The Art of the Body
Amyloid seminal vesicles.
Tuberculosis in lymphatics.
Credit: Evita Sadimin, Assistant Professor of Urological Pathology and Pathology Informatics, Rutgers Cancer Institute of New Jersey, New Brunswick, New Jersey, USA.
A Sea Lion is Lurking
Credit: Felipe S. Templo, Jr., Philippine Heart Center, Quezon City, Philippines.
Two Danish painters were given slides of benign human tissue and asked to integrate the images into their artwork. Here are the results...
Credit: Nacis Gironell.
Credit: Troels Trier.
The Body's Beauty
Credit: Christina A. Arnold, University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus, Aurora, Colorado, USA.
Extra Time: Portraits of Hope and Survival from Early Cancer Detection
These are the portraits and stories of the people involved in the ECLS (Early detection of Cancer of the Lung Scotland) study, believed to be the largest randomized trial of a blood biomarker for early cancer detection.
Rebecca Allison is one of those people who makes you feel happy just to be near her. She spent her life serving the community, first as an administrator in Glasgow’s Under 5 Playgroups and later working for one of the city’s housing associations.
“I had no symptoms whatsoever when I was invited to take part in the trial,” says Rebecca, “and I had stopped smoking for over a year.”
“I wasn’t even going to take the test, but I did and, two weeks later, I had a phone call to say the blood test was positive. I had a scan – nothing. Another scan – nothing. It was only on the fourth scan they found a five-centimeter tumor. I was fast-tracked through the NHS. And all this time I felt perfectly well.”
“In November they operated and removed the tumor through keyhole surgery. I’d already done all my Christmas shopping, all the presents were wrapped and labelled in case I wasn’t going to be around to give them.”
“On December 23rd I had a phone call with the best news: I didn’t have to have chemo; I was in the clear; the operation had been a success. It was the best Christmas present possible and it was all because of the blood test.”
“The hardest part about being diagnosed is having to tell your family: my husband, son, daughter, and grandchildren. The best part is knowing I have time to spend enjoying my family.”
After retiring, Rebecca took a part-time job. Two of her colleagues were diagnosed with lung cancer (not as part of the trial) and, sadly, both of them were dead within a year.
“So many of my friends were not as lucky as me. We all smoked because that’s what we did in our teens – it was glamorous. I've been to several funerals recently of friends who’ve died from lung cancer and sat in the crematorium thinking how lucky I’ve been.”
“If I’d had no blood test and just had a CT scan it would have come back negative and they would have told me to come back in two years, by which time it might well have been too late.”
“We need this blood test across the UK. It’s saved my life, and everyone should have it. It will save so many lives.”
Rebecca loves hill walking with Ben, her husband of 49 years. She has an infectious smile that brightens any room.
Photographed on Loch Lomond where Rebecca frequently visits with her husband and family.
Maureen has lived a colorful and adventurous life that has, at times, been tinged with more than its share of tragedy and hardship.
A confirmed bohemian and lover of literature, Maureen has traveled extensively and had many adventures abroad. She loves to read American authors like Elmore Leonard, and this love of fiction has been a great solace to her during hard times. She has had to cope with the loss of her daughter in a road accident, raising her grandchildren alone, the sickness of her partner, and, most recently, an eviction at short notice. Her dog, Maya, is named after the American author Maya Angelou.
Maureen came forward to be part of the ECLS trial when she was invited while in the hospital for unrelated health matters. She had recently lost one of her closest friends, a lifelong smoker who was otherwise in great shape. “He had cycled all the way to India from Clydebank. But he started to lose weight very fast; he was over six foot and he went down to nine stone, but still no one caught the fact he had the disease. By the time he was diagnosed with lung cancer, it was too late, and he was dead two and half months later.”
As a result of the ECLS trial, “they found multiple hotspots on my lungs and I was in hospital and operated on in under two weeks.”
“Everyone at risk should find out. Don’t put it off because you’re scared, because you might come back and find out it’s negative – but, if you get a positive result, you can deal with it far better – just look at me.”
Maureen is a natural philosopher and one of life’s survivors.
Photographed in Maureen’s home in Dumbarton where she lives with her dog Maya.
All of the patients featured are pioneers, but for Shirley this is even more true than for the others. Shirley was the first person on the ECLS trial to be diagnosed with lung cancer, the first to be tested, and the first to be cured.
Shirley was an auxiliary nurse and had little hesitation when asked to be part of the screening trial. “I’d seen people who had got lung cancer in my work and it’s not fun. Three of my family were offered the test, but I was the only one who did it. Hopefully, I’m the only one who needed it, because I’ve lost most of my family from different cancers – including an aunt from lung cancer.”
Shirley smoked for two hours outside the hospital the night before her operation. She has never smoked since. “My brother and another family member smoked much more than I and they both gave up after I got my test result.”
Sadly, when Shirley returned to work at the hospital after her operation, she found out that one of the theatre nurses she worked with every day had developed symptoms of lung cancer while she was away and had already passed on. “She worked in urology and neurology theatres; she had the same job as me. But I never knew until I went back to work a few months after my op. She was diagnosed through this study, but her lung cancer was already at a late stage; she just hadn’t been showing symptoms, and she died before I got back to work.”
Yet another nursing colleague was also offered the test and declined. “She was diagnosed years later with late-stage lung cancer and has since died as well.”
Shirley says: “If it weren’t for the test finding my cancer six years ago, I would be getting symptoms about now – and it would be too late. Surely this test should be available like breast and bowel screens.”
Shirley looks after her son’s dog most weeks, because her daughter-in-law is pregnant. She and her husband love their weekly walks with Pedro the pug.
Photographed by the Taye Bridge in Dundee where Shirley often walks Pedro.
Jim Hendry is an imposing figure who worked for many years in the Glasgow pub and club scene, running music venues and manning the doors for some of the city’s most lively places. You wouldn’t have wanted to mess with Jim.
He still cuts a formidable figure, even in retirement, as he rests on his sofa with his dog, Cleo (“after Cleopatra”) and Jackie the parrot. Even the parrot is tough.
“Be careful.” says Jim, “Jackie can bite you right down to the bone.”
A lifelong smoker, Jim has found that the “Glasgow effect” has taken a heavy toll on his friends and loved ones. “Everyone I know has had cancer, even my dog. When I was growing up, everyone used to drink and smoke.”
Sadly Jim’s sister, who was not part of the trial, recently died of lung cancer and his brother is currently fighting the disease.
Luckily, thanks to the blood test, Jim’s cancer was caught very early and he has now been successfully treated. Jim describes the trial as “a life saver.”
“I wouldn’t be here now if my doctor hadn’t made me go forward for this trial.”
In the earliest days of their career, Dire Straits once gave Jim “forty-five quid so I would book them to play. It was worth it to them because, at the time, it was the only way they could get reviewed in the NME. They were only getting paid a tenner to perform.”
Returning to the test, Jim says, “I just think anyone who ever smoked should take it. It’s gotta be a no-brainer.”
Jim has a gruff and relentlessly realistic outlook on life and a fantastic sense of humor.
Photographed in Jim’s home where he lives with his dog, Cleo, and his parrot, Jackie.
Wilma and Stanley’s biggest motivation in life is to help others less fortunate than themselves. They run a soup kitchen in a communal kitchen in the Lanarkshire tower block where they live. They do it “because the old ones have nothing, the young ones and the mothers are working, and they can’t feed their kids and they’re having to go to the food bank.”
“Someone offered to buy me a box of chocolates the other day and I said, ‘Dinnae do that, just buy a jar of coffee and a box of teabags for the food bank – I don’t need a bag of sweeties when some people have no got money.”
The couple were in their GP’s surgery when they saw a poster calling for smokers and ex-smokers to come forward for the ECLS trial. At that point, Wilma had given up smoking 18 years previously, but Stanley was still a smoker. “It never occurred to me for one single second that I would have lung cancer,” Wilma says. “I just went forward because I fitted the criteria and I thought it was a way to help other people in the future.”
A computer randomization program put Wilma in the 50 percent of the group who were picked for an EarlyCDT Lung test and Stanley was placed in the control group, which meant his blood was never tested.
“I couldn’t believe it when they told me I had lung cancer,” says Wilma. “And I couldn’t believe it when I was out of hospital just a week after the operation.”
“I did it for other people, but everyone should just get tested for themselves – it doesn’t matter how long ago you stopped the cigarettes; you’re still at risk, and I don’t think people know that.”
Stanley is a great lover of music: the Happy Mondays and Oasis are among his favorites. Together, they never stop laughing. Stanley has now given up smoking.
Photographed outside Wilma and Stanley’s tower block.
Credit: Photographs by Karena Perronet-Miller for Oncimmune, Nottingham, UK.
Credit: Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine and ioLight Microscopes, UK.
Walking Alone is Good
The Pursuit of Happiness
Sometimes A Bird Flies from Our Hands
Mother in Blue Dress
Just Smile and Move Forward
Credit: Latife Doğanany, Associate Professor Doctor at Kent Sağlık Grubu, Turkey.
Lumpy Skin Disease Virus
Credit: Bioimaging, The Pirbright Institute, Pirbright, UK.