Thirty cancer patients in Spain were offered an experimental cancer treatment. Eighteen are in remission.
The treatment is for patients with multiple myeloma, a common form of blood cancer with a 50% survival rate after five years. Typical treatments include bone marrow transplants and chemotherapy.
The new treatment involves T-cells from the patients. Scientists alter them in the lab, engineering them to better recognize cancer cells.
Turning this into a story, what if a middle-aged man refused treatment?
The treatment is effective 80-90% of the time in the story, making it seem like an obvious choice. And the targeted cancer is deadlier, with a 90% mortality rate after just one year.
The man is a government employee in a major city, stuck in a dead-end job with nobody in his life. He doesn’t see the point of living, so he decides against treatment when he gets diagnosed with cancer.
The government intervenes on his behalf, saying he doesn’t have a choice. We see his legal battle played out through visits to lawyers.
However, most of the story focuses on his daily life. Instead of finding beauty in small things, he sees more details reinforcing his decision.
He becomes friends with a young female clerk at the grocery store. They develop a friendship when he comes by to get his daily drink.
She finds out the man has left everything (he’s saved a considerable amount since he lives a simple life) to her in his will, stipulating that she must go to college. Then, she discovers he’s dying of cancer. The girl does everything she can to make his last months on Earth enjoyable, visiting museums and gardens.
Seeing her enjoying the world, the man becomes convinced that he made the right choice in giving her all he has accumulated. But when the girl finds out that there’s a treatment he’s refusing, she becomes angry and says she doesn’t want to see him again.
The man decides their fallout is for the best and waits for death’s embrace after his lawyers win their case against the government. But, he gets word from his lawyers that a young woman has left what little she has to him in her will—the clerk from the grocery store.
Fearing that she’s suicidal, he hurries to a spot they visited together, a bridge over a busy highway. She’s there, waiting. Finally, she says she’ll go to college, but only if he’s alive to watch her graduate. And there’s only one way he can live that long—he has to take the cancer treatment.