Not all cancer survivors have cancer“You look amazing!” It was the first thing out of my mouth upon seeing Sharon.* She is a woman in her mid-seventies, and she has recurrent ovarian cancer. We had met after she was diagnosed with recurrence, only five months after the end of her “curative” treatment. At the time, we talked about her life—how she had been a nurse before ...

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Hi! My name is Ima Frawde and I am so glad that you have chosen me to be your guide during your climb of Everest. The fact that you have chosen me indicates that you are well on your way to mastering the most important skill in climbing the mountain: Trust Everest. And why shouldn’t you trust Everest? The mountain is totally natural; climbing is totally natural; reduced oxygen concentration at higher ...

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As new Medicare rules kick in, some 2,200 hospitals nationwide are facing financial penalties for high 30-day readmission rates for myocardial infarction, congestive heart failure and pneumonia. Medicare payments will be lowered by as much as 1%. Investigators at the Skeptical Scalpel Institute for Evidence-Based Outcomes and Advanced Research (SSIEBOAR, catchy acronym, don’t you think?) have come up with a plan that is certain to lower readmission rates across the board. ...

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These days, the world is a very scary place. You go to school. You go to school some more if you can afford it and you feel so inclined. Then, if you’re one of the really crazy ones like me, you go to school some more. Somewhere in that late night caffeine and chili cheese fries induced sophomoronic (no, do not adjust your set) craziness, something starts to click. At least ...

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The American Cancer Society designated an October weekend weekend "Suits and Sneakers Awareness Weekend" as part of its annual Coaches vs. Cancer program that featured well-dressed basketball coaches wearing "sneakers instead of dress shoes with their usual game attire during weekend games to demonstrate their support for the Society and the fight against cancer." The idea is to encourage people to exercise and eat a healthy diet to reduce ...

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I had an interesting twitter chat the other day with one of my colleagues, a young ER grad studying healthcare policy by the name of Seth Trueger. The Twitter conversation wound up involving about a dozen ER docs and nurses. You can review an edited summary over at Storify. The point in contention is an interesting one: we know the nation's ERs are overwhelmed and overcrowded. That's old news. ...

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Let’s start with a disclaimer: I am not complaining; I’m just stating the facts. Honest fact: The morale of doctors in the real world is low–and sinking lower. I know what you are thinking. “Come on Mandrola, you are nuts if you expect us to feel sympathy for doctors–of all professions.” Well, you can think that if you wish, but I’m calling it as I see them. And here is why it matters: Because ...

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I was driving home from a night shift and the scorching sound of Texas guitars flamed out of my car speakers.  The group ZZ Top was old, but the song was new.  It went like this, “25 lighters on my dresser, yessir.  You know I gotsta get paid.” Mostly, I was shocked that any members of the band ZZ Top were still alive, let alone putting out new music that was actually ...

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The New York Times recently had an important and provocative piece, "Overtreatment Is Taking a Harmful Toll." The title is a bit misleading. The article focuses more on overtesting. We test too much and we treat too much. The article, while mostly accurate, does not really explain the reasons for the problem. Unless we can accept and understand the underlying reasons for these problems, we cannot successful correct these problems. Let ...

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Facing the difficult issues when it comes to high quality cancer careIt has been a long slog since we started our war on cancer here in the United States in 1971. At times I am not certain that this has been so much of a war as opposed to a series of skirmishes that occasionally have produced incredible moments of optimism. But there have been a fair share of frustrations ...

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