August 5th, 2010
04:01 PM ET

Hitchens on cancer diagnosis: 'Why not me?'

Update: Watch Anderson's interview with author and Vanity Fair Contributing Editor Christopher Hitchens on his cancer diagnosis and whether it has changed his thoughts on God. Watch a new extended version of the interview.

Editor's Note: Read Christopher Hitchens's Vanity Fair article in which he opens up about having esophageal cancer.

Anderson Cooper

I just flew down to Washington to talk with author Christopher Hitchens. He was diagnosed with esophageal cancer in June, and is currently undergoing chemotherapy.

Many people upon receiving a cancer diagnosis would ask "why me?" Hitchens's answer, is "why not me?"

Much of his hair has fallen out, but he seems strong as ever. We discussed whether his diagnosis has in any way altered his well-known opinion of religion and prayer.

Tune in tonight for the full interview.

Read author Stephen Prothero's CNN blog about Christopher Hitchens.

soundoff (116 Responses)
  1. John H. Virgo

    On of my favorite interviews you've conducted. I watch the podcast almost daily. Good luck to the Hitch!

    August 13, 2010 at 6:47 pm |
  2. Michael B

    Such a brave and clear thinker. You give much needed insight through rare eloquence. I'm grateful for your books, your talks and your example. Hope the chemo works, remission comes and last decades books and books long.

    August 12, 2010 at 6:07 pm |
  3. Rox

    Which god are you all referring to??
    Please, if you're going to include "god" in your comment. Identify the one with which you are referring to.
    ... And just for kicks, let us know why your god is more credible than the next one!

    August 9, 2010 at 7:02 pm |
  4. ThorGoLucky

    Hopefully Mr. Hitchens will recover so as to continue exposing the fraud of institutionalized dogma and superstition. Best of luck and skill of our society's medical practioners.

    August 9, 2010 at 10:25 am |
  5. Rev. Dr. William Fillmore

    Dear Anderson,
    I've just listened to your conversation with Christopher Hitchens and I think/feel it's it was one of the most significant pieces of journalism I've witnessed in a very long time. This interview was surely one of your finest and an extraordinary moment in television. My thanks to you and to Christopher for reminding us about what it means to be human.
    Bill Fillmore

    August 9, 2010 at 3:48 am |
  6. Kevin Grant

    As I myself battle over the existence, or should I say, the non-existence of God, Christopher Hitchens wages his own battle. He seems to feel, however, it is less of a battle and more of a passive resistance that he wishes he could participate in further. The boredom, he mentions, may very well be his worst enemy. I hope that Hitchens wins the battle with cancer. I also hope he does not resolve himself to giving up, even at the same time holding on to his practical, realist views.
    Christopher Hitchens has made me think. I may come to the same revelations that he has, though not at the same speed, nor with the same conviction. However, truth is a constant, no matter how, and when, we arrive at it.
    Christopher Hitchens, to me, is truth, conviction, and courage.
    My thoughts are with him. My prayers are not. Were the roles reversed, I'd like to think he'd feel the same.

    August 9, 2010 at 12:21 am |
  7. Theresa Kramer

    Why not a bone marrow drive for him?

    August 8, 2010 at 10:56 pm |
  8. Betsy Cantrell

    My heart is moved by your words, Christopher Hitchens. The enormity of what you are now facing and the battle scars of your life touch me deeply.
    Your words remind me of what a famous scholar named Gamaliel once said, " Let them alone, for if this plan should be of men it will be overthrown, but if it is of God, you will not be able to overthrow them." Acts 5: 38 He was talking about this man; " And there is salvation in no one else; for there is no other name under heaven that has been given among men, by which we must be saved" Act 4:12- the Man? Jesus. Christopher, you may have given up on Him, but he has never given up on you, and it's never too late to know him- never- this side of eternity...I'll be praying for you with much love and concern. Betsy

    August 8, 2010 at 8:20 pm |
  9. Suni

    So good to hear Hitchens say "when I am half demented".
    My father was a lifelong atheist, and some do-goers "saved" him in this last few weeks of life, as he was delusional 90% of the time.

    It was painful for me to hear them go on and on ab...out him accepting Jesus into his heart and once again being in god's good graces. It was such a slap in the face to who he really was. I never expected anything like that and wasn't sure how to process it.

    At least Hitchens is putting his disclaimer out there now.

    August 8, 2010 at 8:15 pm |
  10. nisheeth tak

    He is preparing hard to face the inevitable with dignity and honesty. An intelligent and thoughtful person.

    My gut feeling is, he will write wonderful letters to his loved ones, as a therapy.

    Every generation has Creme de la Creme. He is of this.

    His writings and views have enriched millions, me included.

    Hope he defies the odds and writes some priceless gems.

    August 8, 2010 at 6:01 pm |
  11. Clare Domhan

    Great exchange.Why do we pray?When someone is ill or troubled we as Christians feel it is our role to offer what help we can.We pray for Mrr .Hitchens health his inner peace and hisrecovery.There is always the human connection that we feel and pray for the very best outcome for him.We are Christians and that is what we do/sincerely and with great faith.Thanks to both men for a greatinterview.C.Domhan

    August 8, 2010 at 4:08 pm |
  12. Susana Carrillo

    I hope that Christopher repents "publicly" before he dies.

    August 8, 2010 at 2:08 pm |
  13. Dennis Walsh

    Someone should direct Mr. Christopher Hitchens to investigate the use of Curcumin in the fight against his cancer. It has been well documented as effective against a variety of cancers, especially multiple myeloma and
    esophageal cancer. A google search will reveal numerous studies and positive results of this substance, as my brother has been using it for a year with great results against his doctor's death sentence of high tumor multiple myeloma.

    August 8, 2010 at 1:04 pm |
  14. Liz

    I hope Mr. Hitchens gets well.

    Over the past years I have enjoyed his books as well as his debates.

    August 8, 2010 at 9:40 am |
  15. Mitch

    I have always thought that Christopher Hitchens was a arrogant, pompous, rude acting excuse for a man... So you can only imagine how annoying I find it that I seem to agree with just about every word that comes out of his mouth... I do hope he gets better, so I can stop feeling sorry for him, and start hating him again...

    August 8, 2010 at 3:07 am |
  16. Shawn Berube

    Amazingly honest interview by Anderson, and article in Vanity Fair. This interview just further cements his importance in culture, and humankind. There are others out there doing good work, but none like him. Please endure the hell of cancer treatment for family, friends and fans.

    August 8, 2010 at 2:10 am |
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