John Grisham says THE TUMOR is the most important book he has ever written. In this short book, he provides readers with a fictional account of how a real, new medical technology could revolutionize the future of medicine by curing with sound.
Grisham, 61, lives near Charlottesville, not far from Neal Kassell, a prominent University of Virginia neurosurgeon who founded the Focused Ultrasound Foundation in 2006. They became friends, inhabiting the same social circle and wine tastings.
About eight years ago, Kassell asked Grisham to join the foundation’s board. Grisham did not know what he could I add to the board. Kassell said he could raise awareness, which leads to raising money, which leads to influence.
In 2014, the foundation spent $2.3 million on research and another $2.7 million on communications and advocacy, according to its annual report. This winter, it held two “reimbursement summits,” trying to persuade insurers to pay for the treatment.
But Grisham, wasn’t interested in pleading for cash.
A few years ago, Grisham said he had a better, more organic way to employ his fame — by writing a book about the technology.
THE TUMOR follows the present day experience of the fictional patient Paul, an otherwise healthy 35-year-old father who is diagnosed with a malignant brain tumor. Grisham takes readers through a detailed account of Paul’s treatment and his family’s experience that doesn’t end as we would hope. Grisham then explores an alternate future, where Paul is diagnosed with the same brain tumor at the same age, but in the year 2025, when a treatment called focused ultrasound is able to extend his life expectancy.
Focused ultrasound has the potential to treat not just brain tumors, but many other disorders, including Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, hypertension, and prostate, breast and pancreatic cancer.
For more information, you can visit The Focused Ultrasound Foundation’s website. Here you will find a video of Grisham on the TEDx stage with the Foundation’s chairman and a Parkinson’s patient who brings the audience to its feet sharing her incredible story of a focused ultrasound “miracle.”
Readers will get a taste of the narrative they expect from Grisham, but this short book will also educate and inspire people to be hopeful about the future of medical innovation.
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