Thursday, January 26, 2012

"He died as he lived..."

...the first phrase from a statement released by the Paterno family in regards to the death of Joe Paterno, legendary Penn State football coach, who died on January 22, 2012. As recently reported, Joe Paterno died from metastatic small cell carcinoma of the lung, an aggressive and rapidly growing malignancy of the lung that affects 20-25% of the US population. Prognostically, 65-70% of those with small cell carcinoma have disseminated, extensive disease at the time of clinical presentation... which unfortunately is incurable.

Lion shrine in the Hershey Medical Center rotunda
in memory of Joseph Vincent Paterno
Dec. 21, 1926-Jan. 22, 2012
Since the dawn of the "Penn State scandal", many have questioned if the events surrounding the scandal and the abrupt firing of Paterno worsened his health status leading to his death. No one will never know. Can you die of a broken heart? Can emotional stress kill you? No one knows for sure. However, emotional stress and chronic pain can indeed decrease your body's immunity, making it harder to restore physiological balance once compromised. So, from my perspective the recent events prior to his death surely did more harm.

As a Penn State graduate, soon to be x2 when I graduate from Penn State College of Medicine in May of 2013, my heart sincerely goes out to the Paterno family and the Penn State community. Joe Paterno was and will always be a prominent memory of my college years. Everyone knew of "JoePa" and were proud to be a Penn Stater whenever anyone spoke of his name. We are... Penn State

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