Episode 181: Chemotherapy

Image courtesy Christine Laskowski

Christine Laskowski’s father being prepared for radiation treatment. Image courtesy Christine Laskowski.

Ancient Greek doctors knew about it, but could do nothing about the scourge we know as cancer. Producer Ed Prosser interviews historian Viviane Quirke about the development of chemotherapy drugs in the 20th century, drugs that for the first time offered hope to cancer patients. Next up producer Christine Laskowski goes on a very personal journey. Last year her father was among the more than 1 million Americans diagnosed with cancer. Along with radiation, his treatment included a drug called cisplatin. Cisplatin has nasty side effects, so why is a drug first used to treat cancer in the 1970s still used for many cancers?

Show Clock

00:00 Opening Credits
00:33 Introduction
01:08 Interview: Viviane Quirke
06:58 Chemotherapy: Cisplatin
17:00 Closing Credits


Our theme music is composed by Andrew Chalfen. Additional music includes “Beach Party Tonight” by Yo La Tengo (BMI Work #6342261); “Northern Sky” by Nick Drake (BMI Work #1084738); and “Best in a Dress” and “The Wedding Cake Song” by The Redbucks ( and

Posted In: Medicine | Society

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