Bruce Campbell, MD, Medical College of Wisconsin Otolaryngologist

Years ago, I sat in clinic with a new patient, her family, and a Hmong translator. I studied the biopsy report from another doctor’s office. This would be difficult. I asked about her symptoms.

The mass had been there for a while, I learned. She had pain but they were trying some medicines from their traditional healer. She hoped that I could help her. Then I discussed the report.

"She has cancer," I told the daughter. The daughter nodded and turned to tell her mother, speaking at length and re-working my three-word phrase into something much, much longer. The translator helped, as well.

The mother sat quietly, searching her daughter’s face, hearing the words but saying nothing. I tried to learn more about her life. She had been born in Laos. She had never seen a Western physician before developing the mass.
"Do your siblings have any health problems?" I asked."We don’t know," her daughter replied. "They were all killed during the war. We haven’t seen most of our relatives since we came to this country."

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