Josh Green’s novel -- and recent film -- The Fault In Our Stars (TFIOS) is a new classic of young adult fiction, deservedly famous, and it’s easy to see why. The story is simultaneously deeply sad and really funny, mostly due to the narrator, Hazel. She is an intensely likable 16-year-old, who charms you even while she explains, stoically, that she is dying of thyroid cancer that has spread to ...

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Top stories in health and medicine, October 16, 2014From MedPage Today:

  1. Pfizer, FDA Square Off on Chantix Psych Risk. The maker of the popular stop-smoking drug varenicline (Chantix), Pfizer, says new data indicate the risk of suicidality and other serious psychiatric events is not as great as once thought, and has applied to the FDA to remove a boxed warning on those ...

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Breast cancer awareness: Its more than mammogramsIt's October and that means we are about to see a lot of pink for the next 31 days. And virtually all of the work comes down to one simple -some might say overly simple-message: Get a mammogram. But as National Breast Cancer Awareness Month (NBCAM), begins, I find myself one again asking some difficult questions: Are we ...

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Proton beam therapy: We need more than informed hope on social mediaI had an interesting day this past week. Sadly, it left me wondering why the same "hope and hype" directed at cancer patients and their families decades ago when I started my oncology career was still alive and well today. But then, maybe I am the naïve one to think that anything should have really changed. In the morning ...

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A friend of mine plays a mean game of poker.  She comes out ahead in Atlantic City, finishing near the top in hold ’em tournaments.  She is a poker savant. Not long ago I asked her secret to playing the game so well. “I learned to play cards when I was being trained to treat cancer.” “Oh,” I said, “the discipline, memorization, patience and statistics?” “No, that is when I learned not to ...

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Top stories in health and medicine, October 8, 2014From MedPage Today:

  1. PTSD Common After TIA. Nearly one-third of transient ischemic attack (TIA) patients developed post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) afterward.
  2. Task Force: People at Risk for T2D Need Screening. Adults at risk for type 2 diabetes should undergo screening for elevated blood glucose and be treated with lifestyle interventions if hyperglycemia ...

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The public perception of oncologists: Is it really true?I had taken care of her for years. We had faced a new diagnosis, the toxicities of adjuvant treatment, the promises of having no evidence of disease (NED as my friend, Molly, refers to it), only to have it shattered with the first recurrence. Over the next three years, she had undergone treatment -- chemotherapy, a trial of endocrine therapy, ...

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Top stories in health and medicine, October 7, 2014From MedPage Today:

  1. Is CTE Driving Off-Field Violence? When video emerged last month showing NFL star running back Ray Rice smashing his then-fiancee's head into an elevator rail, knocking her unconscious, he was fired from his multimillion-dollar job.
  2. Testosterone No Help for Androgen Deficient Women. Healthy women with low androgen levels don't ...

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A friend of mine has been living well with lung cancer for five years -- working, running several miles a day, traveling, doing good stuff with his family, and generally enjoying the pleasures of everyday life. He knows the cancer will eventually kill him, but has been making the most of every remaining minute. Then, a month ago, things suddenly turned dramatically south. Severe shortness of breath, constant coughing, sleeplessness, fatigue, ...

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Top stories in health and medicine, October 6, 2014From MedPage Today:

  1. Dallas Ebola Case a Distraction. Lost in all the brouhaha about the Dallas Ebola case is one salient fact: Thomas Eric Duncan, now reportedly in serious condition in Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital, didn't catch the virus in the U.S. He caught it some 5,700 miles away in Liberia.
  2. RA ...

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