And although a recurrence of the cancer—this time in his brain—would eventually claim his life on November 8, 1991, the fact that his lung tumor disappeared completely begs for an explanation.Pinning down spontaneous remissions has been a little like chasing rainbows.Just seven weeks after the birth of his first son, in 1974, Matzke noticed a lump in his armpit.A biopsy showed that the lump was malignant melanoma, a particularly fatal form of skin cancer.
Did some as yet unidentified factor make his lung tumor mysteriously disappear?
That was also where he met his wife, Lyn, who worked in town.
In 1973, Matzke and Lyn moved to Wisconsin to run a small homestead, where they grew organic vegetables and raised chickens and a pig.
Matzke later flew back to Vermont, where O’Donnell repeated the chest X-ray to document the size and location of the tumor before starting treatment. Gone, gone, gone.”Call it remarkable, call it miraculous—such spontaneous remissions are as fascinating to physicians and scientists as they are rare.
But instead of the large cancerous lesion in Matzke’s lung, he saw . Doctors would like to understand cases like Matzke’s, who was given just 18 months to live but would survive another 18 years.