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Lederer, Ann Neusen RN, OCN

doi: 10.1097/

They will clump together

and find each other, pulling hair.

They will climb all over,

like ants on the undersides of leaves,

sucking out juice.

They will poke grubby little fingers

into each others’ eyes,

just to do it.

Sometimes they will rake their fingernails along each others’ skin, like undisciplined day campers.

It is called loss of contact inhibition, what those unruly cells are doing.

There are lists of other behaviors as well:

invading, escaping surveillance, diverting resources.

There is no end to what these naughty ones might do.

They should be spanked, then bathed,

then tucked back into little cots in rows.

Submissions are welcome from oncologists, oncology nurses, and other cancer caregivers. E-mail only, please, to:, and include affiliation/title, address, and phone number, along with a photo, if available.

© 2010 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.
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