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Table of Contents
Year : 2021  |  Volume : 4  |  Issue : 3  |  Page : 435-436

The road most traveled…

Department of Pathology, Tata Memorial Center, Homi Bhabha National Institute, Mumbai, Maharashtra, India

Date of Submission23-Jul-2021
Date of Decision31-Jul-2021
Date of Acceptance06-Aug-2021
Date of Web Publication10-Sep-2021

Correspondence Address:
Santosh Menon
Department of Pathology, Tata Memorial Center, Mumbai, Maharashtra
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/crst.crst_171_21

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How to cite this article:
Menon S. The road most traveled…. Cancer Res Stat Treat 2021;4:435-6

How to cite this URL:
Menon S. The road most traveled…. Cancer Res Stat Treat [serial online] 2021 [cited 2021 Dec 9];4:435-6. Available from: https://www.crstonline.com/text.asp?2021/4/3/435/325900

It was again a Monday! Yes, yet again. After a refreshing weekend of bright yellow, orange, and sunny, the blues had hit the brain hard on this weekday. I was back to my routine of peering and trying to deduce what that tumor looked like under the microscope. The challenge of christening cancers is veritable for a pathologist. Clinical colleagues would often remark, “You have got the power to make or break a life with your brains on a microscopic level.” That thought always makes me feel like Spiderman, “With great power comes great responsibility.” Spiderman in a white coat. I love my job on most days, but today, the Monday blues were giving me jitters. My eyes were peeled on the eye pieces, but my mind was wandering in some deep reverie.

An enthusiastic and sharply contrasted resident doctor was reading out the history and clinical details of the case, the slide of which was currently perched on my stage. He read the history, as if reciting a verse from the biblical Vedas. It was a patient with ovarian cancer, post-chemotherapy, and my eyes were searching for any residual villainous cells among the native ovary cells. Ah, I did find it finally, much to my chagrin, for I had hoped that a “negative” this time would uplift my spirits. The malignant cells were huddled together, within the ovarian stroma, trying to look innocuous to my prying eyes. However, alas, their hideous make up and disordered attendance could not escape even my somber vision.

We went ahead with the train of slides, and my hand reached out to the teeny–weeny fallopian tube. My resident triumphantly announced that the fallopian tube was normal and free of tumor, preempting any questions from me on the tubes' role in ovarian cancer pathogenesis. He scored one on me, catching me unaware with his preparedness, for one of my favorite questions. I shifted gears and asked him probingly to look again and tell me what he saw. He became a bit squirmy in his seat, uneasy about what this meant. I said, “Look again, this small organ needs to be respected a bit more and given more time; we cannot simply tag it as free of tumor.” The uneasiness had transformed into a perplexed expression by now. The expression was one of, “Please let the cat out of the bag, sir and this is not a fair question on a Monday morning.” I spilled the philosophical beans soon. I pointed out to him, the luminal maze of the fallopian tube, encompassed by the somewhat obstructing sharp U turns of the regimented epithelium of the tubal cells [Figure 1]. I quipped under my breath, “This is your first journey. Well, at least one half of you has traveled this crisscross, twisty road. It is full of thrills, ups and downs, crests and troughs, rises and falls. This, my dear, prepares you for what lies in the outside world. This, my friend, is the road most traveled by every human who has roamed the earth.” My hazy blue mind was suddenly getting clearer. There may be villains hiding close by, but the journey continues….
Figure 1: The fallopian tube on histology: The lumen (black star) is the road traveled by each human (well!.....by a majority), the first journey of life

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I lumbered along the next few trays of slides, without my ceremonious coffee break that day, because that day, I saw the road to the origin of life, our beautiful life, once again, yet again.

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  [Figure 1]


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